Thousands attend Wollongong beer fest

From left, Sarah Coghlan and Amy Wong at the Froth and Bubbles Beer festival at the WIN Entertainment Centre. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

From left, Sarah Coghlan and Amy Wong at the Froth and Bubbles Beer festival at the WIN Entertainment Centre. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Welcome to the changing face of beer: bearded hipsters discussing hop varieties and brewing techniques over a cold one.

There was not a single pair of stubbies in sight when beer lovers of all kinds descended on WIN Entertainment Centre for the city's inaugural Froth and Bubbles beer and cider festival at the weekend.

More than 2000 people turned up to the event, keen to try a new drop or hone their beer-matching skills.

"There has been a huge change in the way people are approaching beer and they're doing things like beer-matching with really gourmet food," event organiser Robert Gunn said.

"There's a whole new movement now of young, sophisticated people who, when they go to a restaurant, won't order a glass of shiraz. Instead they'll see what sort of craft beers they've got on the drink list and they'll match that with what they're eating. It changes the whole landscape of entertainment and hospitality.

"When you go to a pub or hotel you see five or six craft beers there now, which you wouldn't have seen a couple of years ago."

The two-day festival, which showcased 35 brewers, included a "speed dating" room, which allowed budding connoisseurs to sample beers while chatting with their brewers.

Fans of James Squire or Little Creatures beers were able to taste their favourites or try little-known labels like the Central Coast's Six Strings Brewing Company.

A number of cider brewers were also present including Darkes Cider, made in Darkes Forest.

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