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Breweries Craft Beer Road Tripping Travel

Trip to Tassie

Ahh Tasmania, my home state. I grew up in the Hobart region. I moved to Sydney 5 years ago but I make sure to get back to the state on a regular basis. This time I took my partner for their first trip to Tassie. We were mostly visiting family for Christmas but we managed to sneak in a bit of a road trip and this blog is a reflection on that.

Sunday the 23rd

We arrived late Saturday evening so our roadtriping starts on the Sunday. My parents live in Dodges Ferry, it’s a beautiful beach town about 20 minutes drive from the airport.


View of Mount Wellington from Dodges Ferry Beach

We start our morning heading out to Cambridge park to buy an auxiliary cable for my parents car and to buy a warm jacket as my partner had forgotten to pack one and the night we landed was a little fresh. We were thinking of making our way down to Port Arthur but we ended up making a detour to Richmond instead.

Richmond

Richmond is home to the oldest still standing bridge in Australia. It’s a small historic town with an old school lolly shop and is pleasant to walk around. The drive to Richmond is through the coal valley wine region, so if you like wine it’s also a nice place to check out.

Richmond Lolly shop

Mount Wellington

We then went for a drive into Hobart to get some bbq supplies for Christmas. I wanted to try and do a Brisket for Christmas as my dad had recently gotten himself a coal BBQ. After the bbq trip we drove up to Mount Wellington to check out the view.

On the way down from the Mountain we ducked into the historic Cascade brewery for a beer. Unfortunately we found out after the beer that we couldn’t go on the next tour because we’d had something to drink.

That evening we stay at my sister’s place to hang out with her and her fur babies. We also spend the evening playing Sushi go Party; a fun party game where the goal is to build the tastiest meal.

Monday the 24th

We checked out the Huon Valley this day. It started with a trip to the Margate train; there’s a delightful candy store in one of the carriages there. There was also an antique store which we walked through.

We then went to my Grand father’s for a BBQ lunch. He lives in Kingston. We got chatting about motorbikes and had a seat on his.

Then we drove out through Huonville. We stopped off at Willie’s cider shed and picked up some fresh cherries from the green shed. There are tons of little cideries in the Huon Valley. It is the origin of the Apple Isle after all.

We then made our way out to the Tahune Airwalk. We had a go on the flying fox over the river and went up to the cantilever for a walk.

On the way back we drove the scenic route through Cygnet, Verona Sands and Woodbridge. There’s a very fancy fine dining restaurant in Woodbridge called Peppermint Bay Hotel. You can get a cruise from Hobart out there too.

On the way back we stopped for Fish and Chips at Flippers in the Hobart Wharf. We wanted to go check out Hastings Caves and thermal hot springs on this day too but didn’t have time to squeeze it in ☹️.

Brisket for Christmas

I tested out my Dad’s coal BBQ for Christmas. On Christmas Eve I started the smoke for it. After 1.5 hours on the bbq the brisket was way too hot. It was going to be a charcoal brick the next day if I didn’t do something about it. Dad’s bbq had too much airflow coming through it for me to get a nice slow & low heat for smoking. I ended up taking the brisket off the BBQ, wrapping it in aluminium foil with a big chunk of butter and placing it in the slow cooker overnight in a small bath of water. The Brisket was saved. Was it a #ChristmasMiracle?

Wednesday the 26th

Now that Christmas was done and dusted we could start the big part of our roadtrip. Tuesday involved driving up to Frecinet National Park and checking out the Wine Glass bay walk. There was a surprising number of people here attempting to take selfies.

We then made the rest of the way to the Bay of fires. On the way we ducked into the IronHouse Brewery to pick up a beer for the evening. We stayed in a little farmstead Airbnb right in the Bays of Fire.


Another deserted beach, this time in the bay of fires.

Thursday the 27th

This day started with the amazing east coast drive to Launceston through places like Scottsdale and Derby. The driving through this part of Tassie is just awesome (especially if you like windy roads that snake their way up and down mountain sides).

When we got to Launceston we checked out Penny Royal; a historic site with cliff side adventures, Boags Brewery, the Cataract Gorge and we were pleasantly surprised with the craft beer selection at Saint John’s craft beer bar for dinner. We stayed in a beautiful tiny house with a loft bed inside some public gardens. It was pretty cool but my partner hit their head on the roof a few times getting in and out of the loft bed.

Friday the 28th

Before heading back to Hobart, we made a visit out to Langdale Farm for a quick tour. I wanted to meet Fiona Stocker who’s recently written a book on the slow life living on a Farm in Launceston. We received a tour of the farm, geeked over smoker BBQ’s and exchanged some home brew beer for hand made bacon. You can even stay here through their Airbnb if you like.

Ross Bakery

On a way down to Hobart, we checked out a vineyard in the Tamar Valley to get a present for my Partner’s parents and ducked into the Ross village Bakery for lunch. Did you know the Ross bakery is rumoured to be the inspiration for the bakery in Kiki’s delivery service (a studio Ghibli animation). FAIR WARNING; This place gets very busy, especially if a tourist bus has just stopped off near by.

Craft beer in Hobart

Thursday evening saw us enjoying our fair share of craft beer in the Hobart area. We started with a schooner in a bus at preachers;

Having a wander through the taste of Tasmania, checking out T-Bone and Shambles breweries in North Hobart before enjoying a burger and craft beer at Jack Greene. It’s nice to see craft beer take off here too.

Saturday the 29th

We started this day by having a quick stroll through the Salamanca Markets then getting the ferry out to the Mona museum. We enjoyed a fine selection of moo brew beer and a nice lunch in the new restaurant extension.

Truck sculpture outside the Mona museum

We finished the day by playing some board games in the New Sydney Hotel. One of my old favourite locals before craft beer was everywhere.

What’s next?

That concludes our trip to Tassie this time. There still were a few things we missed. We didn’t do any of the west coast (Cradle Mountain) and we skipped on Bruny Island. So there’s plenty more to come back to.

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Hop Nation & Two Birds breweries

I was in Melbourne for a conference yesterday. I arrived during the weekend and I spent my Sunday evening exploring two local breweries and tasting craft beer. It was an awesome way to spend a Sunday in my mind. The first one on my list was Hop Nation. Second was Two Birds. This blog will go through the atmosphere and beer tasting of these two breweries.

Hop Nation brewery

https://goo.gl/maps/V8RWA7eHCdm

The Atmosphere

This is the first time I’ve been to a brewery that felt more like a barn than a big industrial shed. The exposed brick is a pleasant change from the big shed feel. The building was built in the 1880’s and was originally used as a whale fat candle and wax factory. There was extra seating upstairs and big “stained glass” paintings which gave the feel of a church. I believe the idol of worship here is the humble beer. Considering their slogan is, “in hops we trust” the theming feels on point.

The Beer

Having 15 tap options is an impressive amount to choose from. Hop Nation specialise in hoppy beers (Who da though it?) but they do experiment with other styles. There’s plenty here to tickle your fancy. I’m not a huge fan of Hoppy beers, I’ve been drinking craft beer for 7 odd years now and it’s taken me this long to start to aprreciate the IPA (which stands for Indian Pale Ale). Basically if you see IPA on a beer just assume it will be hoppy and bitter.

Malibu Stacey – milkshake IPA sounds interesting. I had one from a can a few weeks ago. The sweetness comes from adding lactose into the beer post fermentation. Lactose is a non fermentable sugar that adds sweetness without being fermented into alcohol. It’s weird at first but drinkable once tastes are adjusted. Other milkshake flavours can be added to bring out different flavour profiles. 

Beer Tasting

The Punch – Mango Gose

I like a good sour beer, this one was my favourite out of the tasting paddle. It wasn’t over fruity or over sour and it was nice to kick off a pretty heavy paddle with this one.

Jedi Juide – NEIPA

Hop Nation is probably best known for this beer. NEIPA stands for New England Indian Pale Ale. This beer doesn’t have much to do with England or India and is more of an American invention. These beers usually use fruitier hops, tend to be cloudier than other IPA’s and I feel like they can be a good introduction to the hoppier styles of beer. This one was a bit offensive to begin with (most IPA’s are). I probably wouldn’t use this beer as an introductionary NEIPA. Once accustomed to the hoppy taste it went down easy enough.

The Dawn – Double NEIPA

Another offensive IPA. Once you get past the initial shock of the bitterness it was easy enough to drink. Watch out for that 9 percent alcohol though, you wouldn’t want to drive after having a pint of this stuff.

2018 Kalash – Russian Imperial Stout

I like a dark beer. However getting a strong russian imperial stout that feels easy to drink can be challenging. It’s easy for these beers to feel over powering because of the high alcohol content. This one will kick you in the teeth on your first sip before you are able to settle in to enjoy it.

Blonde Melange – Golden Sour

I also had a sample of the sour beer on my way out. I probably shouldn’t have done this after a Russian Imperial Stout; but I’ll say, “Forgive me father because I have sinned”, and I believe this venue will forgive me. This was more of a sour lemon pucker up type of beer. Not for the faint of heart if this isn’t your style.

Two Birds brewery

https://goo.gl/maps/Wii6iS7jEBy

The Atmosphere

This feels more industrial compared to Hop Nation. The artwork on the wall adds a nice touch. There is this huge bridge you can see from the banks of where this brewery is. It was pretty quite on a Sunday evening, maybe daylight savings had an impact on this?

The Beer

There’s another impressive selection of 12 taps here with a variety of styles to choose from. I went to a Two Birds dinner and beer party at the Kirriblli Pub for the Sydney Beer week last year when they were first launching passion victim. You won’t find many IPA’s on their menu; their beers are more geared towards the easy drinking with family and friends on a weekend backyard BBQ with some experimental flavours thrown in.

Taco Beer

Their taco beer is always a good introductionary craft beer that sounds very gross but is pleasantly nice. They’ve changed the recipe recently so I thought it was worth trying again in this tasting paddle. It’s easy to drink, light and refreshing.

Sakura Sour

Look at the colour of this beer. It’s just amazing. This one is done with a sake yeast. I’d say it borders on the pucker up sour but it’s not going to make you screw your face up on first sip.

Hibiscus Saison

Again there’s an amazing colour for this beer and it smelt amazing. This one was my favourite that I sampled on this paddle. I enjoyed sipping this beer while I read my book in the brewery.

Irish Red IPA

This beer doesn’t look like a red IPA, it’s pretty dark in colour. It wasn’t offensive for an IPA which is always a pleasant surprise

Spring Saison

I finished my beer adventures with this farmhouse ale. Saison is my preferred style and this was a good beer to finish on. It was one of the least “pucker up sour” beers I’d had all night. It is a crisp and dry with wine-like characters.

Summing it all up

I really enjoyed checking out both Hop Nation and Two Birds breweries. I got very toasty sitting in breweries and ready a good book. I’m not going to go out of my way for a Hop Nation beer any time soon, hoppy beers aren’t my style but I’ll always grab a new two birds sour if I see one.