Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Second Annual Hobart Beer Festival

Yesterday was the second occurrence of the Hobart Beer Festival. Held on and around Mawson Square, just adjacent to Constitution Dock, and in front of Lark's Distillery, the streets were awash with some 6000 fans of the amber nectar. Somewhat different to your average CAMRA festival in Blighty, this one was:

  • In the blinding summer sun.
  • More Lager than Real ale.
  • Quite conservative in the serving size (ie one $1 ticket = 100 ml of beer!).

Having said that, there was at least one local Real Ale brewery represented, in the form of the Two Metre Tall Brewing Company. Currently brewing in the old St Ives pub building in Sandy Bay, they are soon to shift operations up to the heart of Hop Country (and mighty close to some damn fine water) at New Norfolk. It was great to see a couple of hand pulls on the bar (tho, dispensing into jugs and then into glasses was a bit weird...and frothy:),

Why is it called the "Two Metre Tall Brewery"?

out of which I sampled their Forester Pale and Huon Dark Ales. Quite tasty, and served at a reasonable temperature, they were quite good takes on the types. Hopefully we'll get a gurnsey to the opening of their new brewhouse.

The two major Tasmanian brewers, Cascade (Hobart based, Australia's oldest brewery, owned by Foster's) and Boag's (from the north of the state, now owned by Lion Nathan) were represented. I tried Boag's Wizard Smith "English Ale" out of the bottle. Pasteurised, reasonably bitter, but not really a match for the real deal.

Katie, Becher and Mark soaking up the famous Tassie UV.

Another interesting sample was some Farmhouse style "Inn Cider", currently being made by David Bennett in Margate, just south of the capital, and bordering on the apple-laden Huon Valley. Served quite cold and carbonated, it was quite a refreshing sup on such a hot day, and seemed to pack quite an alcoholic punch. Must say I haven't found better than Julian Temperley's Burrow Hill scrumpy from Somerset. I'm quite keen to have a bash at my own cider, having of course graduated from a weekend course in the New Forest a couple of years ago. Know where to get the apples, just gotta find a press!

There were many other brewers, both large and small represented (Tim Knapstein wines had a lager with added grape that recipe for a headache???)....have a look at my photos for other names to Google. It was a top day all in all...very encouraging to see the Tasmanian brewing industry emerging from the dim dark days of mass-produced cardboard n chemical lager (tho, to be honest [and probably quite parochial], Cascade and Boags draughts are two of the best on the Australian market), and branching out into something craftsman-made and tasty. Not to mention the crowds, and associated company with whom we were imbibing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

G'day Tassieblather, Two Metre Tall here noting (just for the record) that we are obliged to pour into jugs due to health regulations given that this tasting event had punters proffering us "used" cups. At Taste of Tasmania & in February at Festivale in Launceston we will be pumping direct into the cup you will drink from (which, unfortunately again due to bloody health regulations, are plastic! ... Real Ale is a real fight in this country!!!)
Looking forward to gravity service from casks - just to "keep the bastards honest" - at an event near you 'prochainement'.
Glad you enjoyed the event, which we also thought was a great success. Let us know you're details so we know where to send the invitation ...
regards, 2MT