Beer@ The Spotted Cow

"PHIL Coorey, co-owner of Toowoomba's Spotted Cow Hotel, has been doing it tough lately.

The flood that ripped through Toowoomba in January didn't spare the Cow, one of the best beer pubs in Australia. It was closed for a week and then patrons had to endure the loss of a lot of ambience as work continued for a month afterwards to restore the hotel to full health. Having got the pub back in good working order, Coorey then tried to do the same for himself, submitting his dodgy knee to a surgeon.

To cheer himself up while he recuperates and give himself and beer lovers everywhere something to look forward to, Coorey has been busy organising a three day craft beer festival scheduled for the long weekend of June 11-13. Called Milking the Cow Beer Lovers Festival, the event should be a must for anyone with an interest in good beer and how it is made.

"Why Milking the Cow?," Phil said. We want people to feel free to milk the brewers and experts for as much information as possible."

The Spotted Cow has been a leader in promoting a variety of indigenous and international beers for years, incorporating beer into its bistro menu and having one of the state's best-stocked bottle shops.

It is aligned with Fosters but in an opening ceremony of sorts on the Friday night Coorey will turn off what he calls the "corporate" taps and switch to the produce of many of the nation's small breweries.

"I think the largest brewery represented at the festival will be Little Creatures, and even then we'll be showcasing their lesser-known beers," Phil said.

Others to feature will include Stone & Wood, Lord Nelson, Murray's, McLaren Vale, Bridge Road and Sunshine Coast Brewery, to name a few. Over the course of the weekend there will be up to 50 brews to try and patrons will be issued with a passport so they can keep track of their journey through this beer world. There will be brewer masterclasses, customer votes on the best beers, a home-brew competition, bands and food selected to match the beers.

"People will be travelling from all over the state not just to drink but hopefully learn," Phil said.

Other than a $5 charge for the masterclasses, which you get back in beer anyway, the event is free - other than paying for your drinks of course."