Tasmania’s beer credentials are robust: pure mountain water, locally grown hops, and a brewing history that goes back to convict times.
Follow the Tasmanian Beer Trail for stories of brewing bans, beer entrepreneurs and north-south rivalry.
Cascade Brewery, established at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington in Hobart in 1824, is the nation’s oldest surviving brewery. Its northern arch-rival, Boag’s Brewery, was built on the banks of the North Esk River in Launceston in 1883. Both breweries offer tours of their historic buildings.
Surrounding these two mainstays is a growing flotilla of about 20 craft breweries – and counting.
While Hobart and Launceston are thick with breweries and brew bars, the north-west coastal towns of Ulverstone, Burnie and Penguin are also well-watered. In the south, there’s good beer brewed at Cambridge, New Norfolk and food-obsessed Bruny Island.
Moo Brew, in Hobart’s north and with a cellar door at Mona, is the state’s biggest craft brewery, among a raft of independent craft breweries and even nano-breweries that turn out just a handful of kegs for devoted followers.
Use North Hobart as the base for a walking tour of independent breweries in the suburb and the city centre, including Shambles, Hobart Brewing Company, Overland and Deep South Brewing. Join a local beer tour to save on the legwork.
The little town of Bushy Park in the Derwent Valley, 50km north-west of Hobart, has brought a lot of joy to the island as the site where the island’s first hops were planted in 1864. Keen beer historians head to the town to see the Text Kiln, a hops-drying house built in 1867.
Nearby, at Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale & Cider, perhaps the most innovative of Tasmanian farmer-brewers produces wild-fermented and barrel-aged brews from ingredients grown on the property and nearby. Drop in for a hand-pumped pint at the farm bar, perhaps a spelt or apple ale.
Head southward to tree-clad haven Bruny Island Beer Co., where brews like whey stout and honey pale ale showcase flavours from the farm.