The biggest beer producer in Brisbane is the XXXX Brewery, but there are plenty of little microbreweries around town. We did our best to taste what Queensland’s capital had to offer.
The Brewhouse is a corner pub that does typical pub meals and has a casual atmosphere. They pour a variety of beers, but what we were interested in were brews from the Brisbane Brewing Company. Their beers not only have their alcohol percentage listed, but also their IBU (International Bittering Unit), which immediately gave us the impression that they love using hops.
Juz’s favourites were the beers with the lowest IBU – the Brisbane Pale Ale was sweet and fruity, with plenty of passionfruit and a bit of citrus and hops at the end, while the Saisson 88 Farmhouse Ale was pleasantly sweet with minimal hops but plenty of thick malt flavours and a hint of sourness.
Dave was hot on the more bitter beers, such as the US Amber Ale, with initial sweetness and a developing hoppy bitterness and roasted malt flavours. Not being a huge IPA fan, he was surprised to find the Walker Texas Ranger American IPA really nice as well, believing that the American slant made the IPA more palatable.
They offer tasting paddles for $15, but if you really love a particular beer, you can opt for a takeaway squealer or growler, or you can enrol at Brewniveristy and do a quick course on brewology.
The Charming Squire
This popular drinking hole is on Grey Street near South Bank and is sleek, trendy and modern. We were there just in time for Friday drinks so it was busy with people who were celebrating the end of another week of work. There is a small stage for live music, vats and beer kegs on display and high ceilings in a minimalist hall. There is also an adjacent restaurant and smaller outlet called the Brewer’s Pantry that does breakfasts, share plates and pizza.
While we could have gotten a tasting paddle of four beers for $12, we know that we like James Squires beers and ordered a big glass of our favourites. Juz went with the Sundown Australian Lager – crisp and light beer that’s easy to drink with minimal hops. Dave went for something a little stronger, and darker – Jack of Spades Porter is almost black with coffee and chocolate flavours.
The Green Beacon
The Green Beacon Brewery is located in a warehouse on a quiet street in Teneriffe. The cavernous hall has shiny tanks displayed behind the bar, with an assortment of seating. They don’t have a kitchen; instead they have a timetable of food trucks that visit the brewery every night of the week, making for a great symbiotic relationship.
While they don’t have tasting paddles, you can sample a few of the beers on tap. We had sip of a few beers and Dave settled on their fruity Porter with creamy dark chocolate flavours.
Just around the corner from the Green Beacon is the Newstead, another brewery that pulls beers out of a warehouse-like establishment. Unlike the Green Beacon, they have their own kitchen that dishes out a variety of share plates and meals.
We got a tasting paddle of four beers for $12 – Juz went with the lighter beers with less hops while Dave went with the darker brews with plenty of flavour. His favourite was the 21 Feet 7 Inches Porter, creamy and rich with coffee and chocolate, while Juz enjoyed the 3 Quarter Time Session Ale, a light beer with a sweet passionfruit smell and light crisp taste.
What was most enjoyable was the awesome soundtrack. We didn’t want to leave because after one awesome song would finish, another would start.
Four Hearts Brewing
Located in Ipswich, about 40 minutes from Brisbane, Four Hearts Brewing Pumpyard Bar and Brewery is a trendy venue with a minimalist industrial interior, warm lighting and a funky steam punk feel. The old heritage listed building was built in 1910 on the original site that supplied water to the city, and was previously used as a technical school. We were absolutely stoked to stumble across this gem. It’s one of those places that you can spend the afternoon, drinking great beer beside the shiny brewing tanks, and even take home a stainless steel growler full of your favourite brew.
We tasted the whole range of beers before deciding on our favourites. As usual, Juz enjoyed the mid strength Longshot Session Ale because of the sweet fruit flavours and clean crisp taste, while Dave loved the Pale Ale with the hoppy build up, passionfruit flavours and a dry grapefruit and malty aftertaste.
But our real favourite was the seasonal Coffee Cream Ale. This limited edition brew is a combination of Toby’s Estate cold drip coffee with crisp, clean ale. Essentially, it’s caffeinated beer and needless to say, after a few schooners, you have quite a buzz.