Brew-tastic: Queensland’s best craft beers revealed
If you thought Queensland was just a one beer state, you’re way ‘off tap’.
The amber ale revolution continues to grip the nation, and Queensland beer expert Matt Kirkegaard reckons the sunshine state can lay claim to the fastest growth of craft beer in Australia.
Although Matt can’t correlate the relationship between pale ales and hipster hairdos, he says the craft beer movement is “a far cry from where we started – and Queensland has some of the most exciting beer culture in Australia at the moment.”
What’s driving this change? “Brewers love coming to Queensland”, Matt the beer sensei says.
We can’t argue – there’s no better place to down a refreshing ale, and no better time than the present as we celebrate International Beer Day this 5 August.
So, here’s cheers to all those beer connoisseurs who truly ‘give a xxxx’. Bottoms up to our top 7 beers and breweries!
Riddle me this: How can Queensland’s youngest brewery serve Queensland’s oldest beer? Hemingway’s Brewery in Port Douglas might be the new kid on the brewing-block, but its ingredients have stood the test of time.
Their brewskis are made from water that’s spent 40,000 years trickling over sacred stones of Mossman Gorge. After just one sip, I swear the ancient-aqua makes all the difference to the flavour.
Hemingway’s Brewery serves up beers with names like Doug’s Courage, Hard Yards, Kick Back, Mrs Watson, Pitchfork Betty’s and The Prospector – best washed down with Port Douglas’ waterfront views. I challenge you to stop at one sun downer once you settle in.
2. For a beer with a conscience
Not all superheros wear capes. Some pop bottles and swig beer, like James Grugeon, the brains behind The Good Beer Co, Australia’s First Social Enterprise Beer Company.
This Bargara-based brewing bro is all about the win-win – a great-tasting beer that raises more than a passing toast to an even ‘greater’ cause. The Great Barrier Reef, that is, with 50% of sale profits from the Great Barrier Beer going to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
It’s not just me who thinks it’s a delicious drop. Brewski Bar owner and founder of Brisbane’s Brewsvegas festival, Matt Emmerson, has this to say: “It was the fastest we’ve ever sold two kegs of beer – the customers couldn’t get enough!”
3. For beer that clocks no “beer miles”
Move over paddock-to-plate, there’s a new movement in town: brewery-to-beer glass (put simply, cutting down the
food beer miles between maker and mouth).
The main bar at The Brewery Townsville is so close to its hops HQ, you might as well skip the home-brew course and call yourself a master beer-maker. They do it all here – milling, mashing, brewing, cooling, fermenting, conditioning, bottling, and most importantly tapping, so you can watch barley transform to beer before your very eyes.
Their signature brew is Townsville Bitter, but those who like a little more colour to their ale can try Bandito Loco, Belgian Blonder, Digger’s, Ned’s Red and Flannagan’s – names which give a nod to their regional Queensland history.
4. For the gluten free among us
A beer made out of hibiscus flowers? Surely you’ve heard everything now? But don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. This bright pink drink is brewed-bliss – not to mention the fact it’s 100% gluten free.
Behind Ocean View Estates gluten free beer is none other than Australia’s youngest female brewer, Hannah Honnef, who is committed to converting non-beer drinkers to her liquid gold, one drink at a time.
Channelling her German roots from Ocean View Estates craft brewery in Dayboro, we can expect big things from this pocket rocket – she’s another great example of female fermenting talent.
Pull up a pew at the cellar door and try her German-style lager, pale ale, nutbrown ale (made with Australian wattle seeds) and a chocolate porter with French Oak, or match them with a Bine & Dine lunch package at the on-site restaurant.
5. For the adventurous palette
For beer with a healthy dose of Vitamin C, wrap your laughing gear around Wabbit Saison carrot beer – the brainchild-beer of a craft brewer and a carrot farmer faced with the problem of what to do with his excess stock.
It started with a thought bubble and just like that, on the volcanic soil of the Scenic Rim, a new venture was formed. Now, beer and non-beer drinkers alike can chink glasses and thank Kalbar for carrot ale!
Hop to it – you can find the oh-so amber ale on tap at Four Hearts Brewing Company in Ipswich, with each schooner packing 16% carrot juice. Surely there’s no better way of topping up your five-a-day dose of veggies, right?
6. For beer and surfing greats
Balter in Currumbin is already making waves in the Gold Coast’s local brewing community, promising good beer and great company. Sure, a beer produced by surfing greats like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Durbridge and Josh Kerr won’t have you riding barrels like the best of them, but they will have you lining up for more.
Their XPA (extra pale ale) already has hops-connoisseur tongues wagging with its punchy, tropical and floral aromatics. It might be pale, but there is nothing ‘light on’ about the flavours found around here. Two more beers are set to join the Balter podium in coming months. We think that’s just swell!
7. For something to work up a froth about
With only two months of brewing under its belt, Brouhaha on the Sunshine Coast is certainly creating what its name set out to do.
Founded by locals for locals, the premise here is simple – making premium craft beer, matched with good food, all set against the rolling green hills of Maleny.
If the quality of the beer comes down to the skill of the brewer, the chief brewer here is the Neil Perry of the beer world – piecing together delicate flavours and already drawing rave reviews.
With nine signature ales on tap in less than two months, we look forward to seeing what’s next.