Forget about the big beer producers like Castlemaine, Coopers and Foster’s for a moment, and let’s look at what’s brewing in the copper kettles of the little guys who make handcrafted brews across Queensland. There are many underdogs brewing craft beer who are making huge inroads with discerning beer drinkers and with beer aficionados who are looking to explore the wide variety of tastes offered by the burgeoning microbrewery scene.
Plenty has happened since the colonial days when the Brits arrived with their kegs. These days Australia is ranked fourth internationally in per capita beer consumption.
So what’s an Aussie’s favourite beer? Try the lager.
Brisbane is a cool city
And Brisbane has been crowned Australia’s coolest city by some hipsters somewhere and not because of the plethora of eateries, or glam bars either. It’s because of the craft beers and brewery houses that have sprung up. So if you fancy a cold brewski there’s no better place to quench your thirst than the capital of Queensland.
Here’s the lay of the land on craft beers from Queensland, and a few of the happenings that are making Queensland, Australia’s craft beer mecca:
Brewsvegas is a beer festival in Brisbane that showcases the rise of craft beer and local breweries. What started as a small festival a couple of years ago has already quickly doubled in size and now offers more than 100 events in 60 venues throughout Brisbane.
According to Ben Nichols from Brewsvegas the event began as a way to connect the craft beer bar owners and brewers from the Brisbane community with each other for the purpose of sharing information and promoting the emerging industry. Nichols says it’s not just about the amber fluid but an opportunity for people to enjoy each other’s company.
Queensland Beer Week Festival runs during July and its quest is to bring brewers, venues, and consumers together. It’s organized by the publishers of the Beer Lovers Guide to Australia and Critics Choice – Australia’s Best Beers. There are events across the state of Queensland. There’s never been a better excuse to check out Queensland’s best pubs and learn all about your favourite ale.
Queensland’s best pubs
Thirsty Critters Brewery Tours is a tour company in Queensland dedicated to uniting beer with beer lovers. Thirsty Critters offers full-day excursions including lunch, guided brewery tours and beer tasting just a short drive from Brisbane. Stone & Wood Brewery recently received an accolade for their Pacific Ale which took the number 1 spot in the annual ‘Hottest 100 Beers’ poll. The brewery is a stop on the Thirsty Critters tour.
1-The Charming Squire
The Charming Squire by Brisbane’s South Bank precinct is a great place for a fun night out, a special function or a casual catch up over lunch or dinner. It’s also a working James Squire brewery where you can get acquainted with the brewing process as sample James Squire finest craft beers, and enjoy delicious dishes that complement the flavours of the beers.
James Squire craft beer is available in pubs across Brisbane and has a great range on tap like Hop Thief American Pale Ale, One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale, Nine Tales Amber Ale, The Chancer Golden Ale and ‘Four Wives’ Pilsener plus both the James Squire Orchard Crush ciders, and Apple and Perry.
3-Brisbane Good Beer Bus & Driver
Brisbane Good Beer Bus & Driver can take you to one of the many pubs. The tour price doesn’t include beer or lunch but it does include comfortable transport to any of the following destinations. They will even pick you up at home and drop you back off:
A growing thirst for craft beer
Three years ago, Brisbane had little by the way of craft beer. Today there are more than a dozen bars that actively promote craft beer. One of the pivotal changes has been a revision of the bar licensing laws allowing small and often suburban bars to become viable.
“Five years ago it wasn’t possible to do a bar like ours,” one of the owners of The Scratch Bar at Milton, Benjamin Nichols, told GoodFood.com.au restaurant reviewer Natascha Mirosh, and added, “The new license gave us the opportunity to do something of this size. We were interested in having a small selection of taps that rotated quickly so that every time people came in, there’d be something new.”
One of their best sellers is Two Birds Golden Ale, a small brewing operation run by two nice ladies. But the beer that generates the most discussion at Scratch is Yeastie Boys’ Rex Attitude.
Favourite Craft Beer Joints in Queensland
The Scratch – This Milton bar has a wide local selection and a rotating beer menu, The Scratch team claims they can turn anyone into a beer lover. The Scratch has a relaxed vibe, and friendly knowledgeable staff.
Green Beacon – This relative newcomer to Newstead is already a favourite with the locals for serving excellent craft beers brewed in house. Housed in an old warehouse-style space, the Beacon serves up fresh seafood, and is a nice spot to laze away an afternoon. The Green Beacon also runs brewery tours twice a month.
Tipplers Tap – This Newstead gem boasts 11 types of rotated craft beers as well as a large bottled selection. These dudes know their beer, so ask if you need a recommendation. They also serve up mean chilli fries, onion rings, hot dogs, and sliders.
Bitter Suite – A local favourite with the New Farm crowd, Bitter Suite takes their beer seriously. It’s a craft beer/gastro pub haven with seven taps which change weekly and over 60 bottled craft beers so there is something for everyone. For delicious pub grub try the crumbed black pudding, slow-cooked egg, chilli cabbage, or apple sauce. They all go excellent with their beers.
4-Yard Bird Ale House
Yard Bird Ale House – Good joint to get all-American eats, plus an impressive selection of craft beers from the US and Australia. Try the chilli-cheese fries and deep-fried mozzarella sticks cut with a fine crafted lager.
Archive Beer Boutique
Archive Beer Boutique -in Brisbane is young but already a granddaddy in the evolution of the craft beer industry. Operations manager Kris Kempnich says that they’ve witnesed a real change in Brisbane drinkers’ habits. Though beer is traditionally seen as a male drink women are just as likely to drink craft beer as men.
Craft beer gives everyone the opportunity to try out new flavours. There is more diversity in beer than in any other drink. The only thing that’s difficult about the Archive is choosing from one of the 400 craft beers and 18 on tap.
So bottoms up!