17 January 2024

Beers, laughs and live music as the Tumut River Tap Days return for 2024

| Chris Roe
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The Tumut River Brewing Co is heading back to Bila Park in February.

The Tumut River Brewing Co is heading back to Bila Park in February. Photo: Supplied.

The Tumut River Brewing Co (TRBC) is on the comeback trail after a few bumpy years and is once again gearing up to celebrate the end of summer with the Tumut River Tap Days.

The Snowy Valleys is undoubtedly one of NSW’s hidden gems and the region’s only craft beer festival is a great way to sample the local brews, comedy, live music and enjoy the spectacular location at Tumut’s Bila Park.

“It’s been organically growing over the last couple of years and we get a really good crowd,” said TRBC’s Michael Cichocki.

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“The location is great too because it’s really close to the local camping ground and all the hotels, so it’s really easy for visitors.

“Over 50 per cent of the people are from out of town, coming in from Canberra and Sydney and the coast and it’s a great way to inject a bit of activity into Tumut and a great reason for the locals to get out and celebrate.”

Tumut River Tap Days

Tumut River Tap Days is all about the local brews and the live entertainment. Photo: Supplied.

Michael described the entertainment line-up as “diverse” with a focus on up-and-coming independent artists.

Melbourne’s Amaru Tribe, The Barren Spinsters from Canberra, Left Lane and We Mavericks from Wollongong, and Tumut locals Wild Tracks and Wagga’s Barr Nun will all be on stage.

“We’ve tried to keep the music line-up as diverse as possible; you’ll see everything from folk to rock to Latin rhythms,” Michael said.

“We seem to have a bit of a knack for booking acts before they get too big to perform at festivals our size.

“2020 was headlined by Budjerah, who has just toured Australia with Ed Sheeran; in 2021 it was The Terrys who have since performed to sold-out shows around the country, and last year’s event was headlined by The Grogans who are currently taking Europe by storm.”

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There will be plenty of laughs too, with Wagga funnyman Dane Simpson bringing along a gaggle of emerging comedians with veteran Luke Heggie headlining the Friday night event at the brewery.

But of course, the main event is happening at the taps where visitors can get a taste of a range of local brews along with some of the best from around the state.

“We do try to mix it up every year. So this year, the two new brewers we’ve got coming out are Willie the Boatman and Squinters Brewing Co from Sydney,” Michael explained.

“We like something a little bit different and Squinters make a thing called the Mango Fizz, which is basically like a soft drink for grownups, and then Willie the Boatman has got quite a broad range of beers inspired by the interesting characters of Western Sydney.”

Locals and hundreds of tourists are expected to head to Tumut in February for the annual festival.

Locals and hundreds of tourists are expected to head to Tumut in February for the annual festival. Photo: Supplied.

On the local front, the likes of Big Niles, Jindabyne Brewing Co, Tuckerbox Beer and the Apple Thief cidery will all be represented alongside the TRBC’s own range.

“The most popular thing that we have is the Ginja Ninja ginger beer which has actually attracted a bit of a cult following across all the festivals along the years,” Michael laughed.

“Obviously there’s the name, which people love, but it’s also a genuinely good product made with local apples and zero sugar and people love to get around it.

“It’s gluten free and we just had it tested in the lab and it’s got less than four carbs per can. So it is almost guilt-free drinking … except for the alcohol!”

Gates open at 1 pm on Saturday with the official opening and traditional welcome and Michael hopes locals from across the Snowy Valleys, the ACT and the Riverina will join the visitors for the celebration.

“Between the food, drink, live music, entertainment and stunning surroundings, it really is a top day out!” Michael said.

Tumut River Tap Days takes place on Saturday, 3 February, from 1:30 pm – 9:30 pm at 1-11 Wynyard St, Tumut. Tickets for the Comedy Gala and Festival are on sale now.

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