WHEN it comes to claiming independence in the craft beer industry there's more froth than a shaken-up can of warm VB.
Once beloved independent brands like Pirate Life, Little Creatures, and more recently, Balter, have been acquired by multinational companies - Carlton & United Breweries and Lion - eager to tap into the rising popularity of craft beer.
It's created a muddying of the waters and left some ale lovers unsure about the credibility of what's in their schooner glass.
Not at the upcoming Newcastle Beer Fest on March 21 at Foreshore Park. All 35 breweries booked for the trade fair-style festival are 100 per cent independent.
Organisers Luke Tilse and Taiyo Namba are passionate about supporting independent brewers, even knocking back sponsorship from Woolworths-owned BWS.
"The problem everyone has with the big brewers is that they paint themselves as small brewers and the reason a lot of people buy independent beer is because they want to know the money is going to their local community," Tilse said.
Sour and neipa beers are the latest trend in brewing, but Tilse said those that focus on the basics remain most popular.
"The beers I always sell the most are your pale ales," he said. "The guys that nail them, they're the really great breweries."
Breweries who will feature at this year's Newcastle Beer Fest include Cattleyard, Great Hops and Rogue Scholar.
BIG DAY OUT OFFLINE
ANYONE with children at home these school holidays knows it can be absolute torture wrestling digital devices like PlayStations and iPads from their grasp. One Victorian couple, so frustrated with their children's refusal to leave the house for a summer day trip, decided to simply unplug their modem and bring it on holiday.
The modem visited the beach, a carnival, the park and even stopped for a kebab. The photos and post about the modem's big day out on Facebook have since gone viral.
"Instead of taking three unappreciative kids out, we let the ones who didn't want to go stay home and took our most overworked family member for a well deserved day out - our modem," wrote Cassie Langan. "Modem had a fantastic day not being used by the kids and it was lovely not listening to constant bickering."
MUSIC festivals and their PR managers are a fastidious bunch when it comes to announcements. News is released with clockwork precision. Unfortunately for PR people, musicians are more lackadaisical.
Indie star Angus Stone would have had Groovin' The Moo organisers rolling their eyes on Friday when he leaked his band Dope Lemon's inclusion on this year's line-up. In an email to fans, Stone wrote, "Thanks again and see you all at Groovin The Moon [sic] in April."
Groovin' The Moo comes to Maitland Showground on May 9.