Yo, Dave here. Now that we’ve crossed the border into the Northern Territory, it’s time for another brew review.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an NT Draught. I already knew you could get it in a giant 2 litre bottle – called a “Darwin Stubby” – but I didn’t want to buy one of them in case the beer was shit. I assumed everyone in the NT would be drinking NT Draught and that it would therefore be on tap at every pub in the NT. Absolutely incorrect – nobody in the NT seems to be drinking it.
I had to take my chances with the Darwin Stubby. Over $30 later, I had about a six-pack worth of beer conveniently packaged into the biggest beer bottle in production in the world.
Back in 1957, Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) set up shop in Darwin. Within a year of brewing NT Draught, they realised that shipping normal sized stubbies around the NT was a logistical pain in the backside so in April 1958, the 2.27L (80-imperial-fluid-ounce) Darwin Stubby was born.
These days, NT Draught is brewed down in Victoria before being carted across the country for exclusive sale in the Northern Territory! Essentially, it’s just a tourist gimmick because of the two litre bottle, but is it the beer actually any good?
Norman the Beer Drinking Brahman Bull certainly thought so. Norman belonged to the owner of the Humpty Doo Hotel back in the 1980s and his beer drinking efforts made him a bit of a legend. Weighing in at over 600kg, Norman could suck down a Darwin Stubby in 47 seconds – no bull!
NT Draught has a generous 4.9% alcohol volume, which is higher than its brother Carlton Draught (4.6%), as well as West End Draught (4.5%), Swan Draught (4.4%) and Emu Export (4.4%). In terms of price, NT Draught in a Darwin Stubby is way more expensive than the local beers from the other states. Expect to pay $30 to $35 for the 2 litre bottle, compared to around $45 for a Carlton Draught slab (9 litres).
I did manage to find NT Draught on tap at The Hotel Darwin on the corner of Herbert and Mitchell Street in the city. At $4.50 for a pot, the price was more in line with other local beers. I do recommend buying at least one Darwin Stubby so that you can keep the bottle for your pool room though
The brew has hardly any aroma – maybe just a hint of sweetness – and the flavour is quite light compared to Carlton. It’s got some mild hoppy bitterness going on, with a pleasant amount of malty sweetness and a clean finish. What NT draught doesn’t have is that metallic or chemical bitterness that Carlton, Swan, West End, and Emu all seem to have.
The verdict… WE HAVE A NEW LEADER!!
- NT Draught
- Carlton Draught
- Emu Export
- West End Draught
- Swan Draught
Stay tuned for a few more brew reviews, including Broo, Kiss Beer and NZ Pure.