The next few months are shaping up to be a ripper time for Aussie craft beer festivals, which sucks if you want to lose weight after Christmas but is great if you want to drink some top beer.
The Victorian goldfields town of Ballarat kicks things off with the Ballarat Beer Festival on January 21, followed by a cavalcade of fun times including the South West Craft Beer Festival in Busselton, WA, on February 11, the Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong on February 18, the Crafted LIVE Beer and Barbecue Festival in Orange, NSW, on March 4, the Melbourne BeerFest in St Kilda on March 4-5, Brewsvegas in Brisbane on March 10-19, and the Bendigo Craft Beer Festival on March 19.
Tasmania in particular is getting ready to paint the town several shades of red with the Esk BeerFest in Launceston on January 13-14, featuring a awesome local craft breweries including Van Dieman Brewing, Little Rivers Brewing, Moo Brew, Bruny Island Beer Co, Last Rites Brewing and Morrison Brewery, as well as musical performances from singer-songwriters Bob Evans and Josh Pyke (be still my beating heart).
Two weeks later, the inaugural Hobart BeerFest kicks off on January 27-28, showcasing breweries including Captain Bligh’s, Double Head Brewing, Hobart Brewing Company, Kick Snare Brewing and Shambles Brewing, plus music from The Beautiful Girls and Kid Kenobi and comedy from the likes of Dave O’Neil.
If this wasn’t enough rampant excitement from our mates down on the Apple Isle, turns out that they have this thing called the Beer Lovers Week from January 20-27, where Hobart turns into some kind of decadent mecca of craft beer with a week-long celebration of events, master classes, meet the brewers and a whole heap of excellent booze sloshing around.
As you can see, Tassie’s craft beer scene is going off like a frog in a sock at the moment. Froth’s Tassie correspondent Roger Hanson has done some diligent research and come back with some intel on two of the latest breweries to join this effervescent scene.
T-Bone Brewing Company: Keeping it sustainable
In North Hobart’s rapidly emerging brewing hub on the main strip, Tom and Carla Bignell, opened the doors to their ultra modern T-Bone Brewing Company where waste from brewing is minimal.
Mr Bignell, son of award-winning whisky distiller Peter from Belgrove in Kempton, said spent grains from the brewing go full-circle back to feeding stock on the farm at Belgrove.
“The grain is grown and malted for further beer and whisky production. The brewhouse is fired using steam generated from a waste oil burner, using cooking oil collected from nearby sources,” Mr Bignell said.
“We believe it is the only brewhouse in Australia fired from a waste oil burner. It’s a great example of T-Bone’s aim to reduce and reuse.”
The couple has spent years “testing consumer preferences” at local markets and festivals to test the market with their four stable beers pale ale, golden ale, IPA and a chocolate milk stout.
“We work well as a team and consumer feedback gave us the confidence to open up the brewery bar,” Mrs Bignell said.
Everything on tap is handcrafted in small batches in-house with the vats acting like kegs.
“It’s given us some challenges but we draw the beer directly from the vats, just like a keg,” she said.
T-Bone Brewing opens 2pm Friday to Sunday, then 4pm Wednesday-Thursday. More information visit: www.tbonebrewing.com.au
Church Hill Brewery: A voyage of discovery
Brad Churchill, founder of Church Hill Brewery in Huonville, had a background in the construction and shipbuilding industry, but being a passionate homebrewer for the past 20 years he stepped up to set up his brewery on Ranelagh property about two months ago.
“Like my life-change I have kept a theme for the brewery of being on a pilgrimage, a journey of the brew discovery. As a brewer and a drinker there is always something new to discover,” Brad said.
The theme plays out in the names of his beers the Crusader IPA, Pilgrim Pale Ale Salvation Golden Ale and Redemption Red Ale.
“I had my first big presentation at the recent Micro Brewfest. I was nervous but blown away by the feedback. My beers are resonating with people.”
Church Hill beers can already be found at The Whaler in Salamanca, Society Salamanca, Tarron Hotel and Robbie Browns in Kingston.
With cracking views of the Huon Valley, along with some top-notch beer, there’s no doubt that Church Hill will be a valuable addition to the Tasmanian brewing industry.
Check them out here: www.facebook.com/churchhillbrewery