Sunday, November 24, 2013

My First Tassie Beer Festival

Ok, this is not the first time I have delighting in beers while in Tassie, but is the first time I have gone down to Hobart and have just one venue to go to to enjoy an array of beers from Tassie, the 'Mainland' and other parts of the world. With my girlfriend Hannah having never been down to Tassie, cheap flights available, and a friend having just moved to Hobart, it was a moment where all signs pointed to us heading down last weekend. Actually, this time last week I was awake in our hotel room after 3 hours sleep and waiting for sunrise so I could go for a walk to the harbour to watch it, and this weekend I have had 4 hours sleep and waiting for the rugby test between Australia and Scotland to start. I must remember to try and get more sleep, but for now happy to just have time to get this post done.

So, arriving to Hobart last Saturday morning, we dropped off our bags and went for a walk around, seeing Hobart's Christmas parade (including a Star Wars section???!!!) and giving Hannah a quick look around the city and Salamanca markets. With my duties done there, I was then free to enjoy the beer festival down by the wharf, with beautiful weather making perfect conditions for drinking a few beers in the sun. With such summery weather, had to start on a Goat Summer Ale, Moon Dog Love Tap Double Lager and Two Birds Sunset Ale, before finally getting my first taste of Iron House Brewery. We ended up coming back here a few times seeing they had a great selection of wheat beers to satisfy Hannah's beer taste, and have to say, the Dunkel and Porter went down pretty well for me too.
Dropping off our birthday cards for Moo Brew's 8th birthday at their stall, I indulged in their latest Saison, and have to say, with each year they use that yeast strain, there is more flavour coming out of it.

At this point we realised their were free beer lectures going on in a back room, and seeing a beer and cheese event by none other than Chuck Hahn, we just had to go in and check that out. After being invited by Chuck after the event to do a brewery tour with him next time I am in Sydney (yes, I will hold him to it), I saw NZ's Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude available, and my beer nerd came out to try it again, and give Hannah a taste of this peaty smoked beer while having a chat to Mr Crafty Pint about his own beery adventures in Hobart. After that, I also saw the U.S. Rogue Dead Guy Ale on tap so gave that as taste as well (unfortunately I did not rinse my glass out after the Rex, so it came out pretty smokey too). Seeing an array of pies in a stall, we tried a couple of those (hmm, stout pie) and a stout ice cream (geez, there is more stout in the food than in kegs at this festival!!!)  before trying a Morrison's brew and then the Belgian and Strong Ale from a new Italian brewer that is just making inroad here in Australia.
I happily left the Corona stand for all the people dressed up as Mexicans (they were trying to raise money for Movember, but probably would have been able to give more if they just did not come to the festival and donated all the money to put across the beer stalls into the charity. Still, where is the fun in that?!). Realising I had just missed out on a lecture from Moo Brew's new head brewer Dave where there was a tasting of their seasonal brews (argh, barrel aged imperial stout!!!!), the 7.5% Strong Ale was going straight to my head, and that we were out of tickets, it was time to leave after 4 hours and have a nice lie down in the sun for 30 mins at the park across the road from the festival. Unfortunately, we did see one patron come out in quite a state and try to start a fight outside the festival (at 5pm...sheesh!) before more of a wander around town, my obligatory Cascade Export Stout at Montgomeries, and one more beer tasting at a new bar in Hobart I had not been to, then a different sort of tasting over dinner, this time 5 courses of Sake, which went down great against the ultra fresh produce we were getting in the meal. Having not really had that much Sake before, was great to be able to taste a different one with each course to realise the diversity in this beverage, with citrus, grassy, honey and brown sugar all being flavours I found outside the smooth alcohol I was getting from most of the sakes. A quick 10 ouncer at the New Sydney Hotel then on our way back to our hotel room and bed, probably while many were still making a big night of it after the festival.

After brekkie in Salamanca and one last walk around town, we hopped on the boat out to MONA to spend the day checking out the museum, and a beer and meal at the bar and having a flight of wine in the tasting room while jazz played on the sunny field...ahhh, so relaxing. Unfortunately talking to a few of the staff, I am still trying to get a hold of this years allocation of barrel aged imperial stout (seems they are finally listening to their own marketing team and not letting Bogans have any of their beer), but apart from that, we were just looking forward to our next visit down to Tassie as we took the bus from MONA to the airport.

Thanks to all the organisers, brewers and people that made and came along to the festival to keep the growth of good beer in Tassie going strong, and to Hannah, for coming with me to another beer festival, and making it look like she even enjoys attending them with me.



PS: In other beer news, I can happily say I have finally had the Two Birds Taco (lot of spice comes through while cold, while lemon/lime characters come out more as it warms up. Very sessionable!!!) at Slowbeer during the week, and was even able to enjoy it with my beer brother Stass. It has been too long between drinks buddy!!!