Currumbin Valley awarded GABS Best Festival Beer 2019

One of Queensland’s newest breweries has taken out the 2019 Great Australian Beer Spectapular Rate Beer People’s Choice Award for Best Festival Beer.

Gold Coast-based Currumbin Valley Brewing took out the number one festival-beer spot at this year’s GABS circuit for its Grape Bubblegum Sour.

Currumbin Valley co-founders Luke Ronalds and Peter Wheldon said that they were inspired by Hubba Bubba’s Groovy Grape-flavoured bubblegum. This latest sour release was brewed using 60 per cent pilsner and 40 per cent wheat malts and is the same sour base used to produce earlier iterations of the style including the Currumbin Valley Mango Sour with Lemon Myrtle.

Starting out as a gypsy beer brand back in September 2016, Currumbin Valley has been brewing out of its own premises since October 2018.

In conversation with Brews News, both Ronalds and Wheldon said that they were overwhelmed by the success of their latest sour.

Ronalds said that the win was an amazing achievement not only because the brand is so new but because no one in Melbourne or Sydney would have even tried the beers as they are distributed in keg-only on the Gold Coast and up in Brisbane.

“It was a really great opportunity for us to get a bit of brand awareness out of it all,” Ronalds said.

Unlike other burgeoning craft breweries, Currumbin Valley Brewing doesn’t have a taproom. Located on Wheldon’s private 18-acre farm towards the southern end of the Gold Coast, securing a taproom licence at the brewery is impossible.

“We’ve got a 500-metre driveway that’s shared with two other neighbours and it’s a one-way road and then the brewery itself is only maybe 20 metres behind my house,” Wheldon explained.

“So, with that in mind, it’s not very good for my neighbours.”

Wheldon said that because the brewery hasn’t been able to have a cellar door, this win might mean that it will finally be able to make some retail margin.

“We don’t have that opportunity, so really we’re playing the hardest game possible because we’re wholesaling out of a very small production facility,” he continued.

Following the win, Ronalds and Wheldon said that they now have the confidence to set up an online store. Wheldon said that this satellite cellar door will give them the opportunity to finally make some money. Scheduled for canning next week, the bubblegum sour will be available online, first to mailing list subscribers, and then to the broader public.

Because the brewery has been custom built using a combination of upcycled dairy equipment, capacity is limited. To this end, the brewery only produces one core range beer, it’s ‘Local’ Australian Pale Ale.

“Because we are so small it’s difficult for us to have a large core range,” Ronalds explained.

“It’s very hard for us to say at this stage whether or not we’d extend the core range.”

Other GABS festival winners included Devils Brewery Tasmania that won Best Festival Cider for its Apple & Rhubarb Crumble. Best Food Vendor was awarded on a state-by-state basis with King of the Wings winning in Brisbane, Biggie Smalls and Donugs drawing in Melbourne and Bovine & Swine Barbecue winning in Sydney.

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