When it comes to beer in Queensland, you can’t get any more iconic than XXXX. Get educated about the golden blood that runs through the veins of Queensland with a tour of the XXXX Brewery. The extensive 90 minute excursion around the brewery includes an insightful presentation on the history of beer in Australia and runs through the brewing process from the raw ingredients to the final product in the Packing Hall. XXXX even has its own island on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, the XXXX Island, which is designed to be the ultimate mates getaway.
While beer has been around for thousands of years, the story of XXXX started in 1877 when the Fitzgerald Brothers travelled from Melbourne to Queensland to open a brewery. They already had a few breweries in the southern states and they thought Queensland could do with their own and it wasn’t long until the Castlemaine Brewery was taking orders for their XXX Ale. In fact, the original brewery was the first building to get a phone line in Queensland.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s when German brewer Alhois William Leitner suggested changing the recipe to a lager. While this was disapproved of at first, in 1924 Leitner released his new and improved XXXX Bitter. Coincidentally, this was the same year that Mr Fourex was introduced. XXXX Bitter was such a hit that its popularity prompted its first ever exportation to thirsty soldiers overseas fighting in World War 2.
Distribution was disrupted in 1974 when floods struck Brisbane. With the delivery trucks out of action, the brewery staff had to improvise and ended up making rafts out of empty kegs to supply the community. Their commitment to the community has continued over the years, sponsoring various festivals and events, and at one point sponsoring around 40 different sports.
These days, XXXX Brewery produces 250 million litres of beer each year in an environmentally conscious, reusable and sustainable way. Over the last few decades, they halved their water consumption and they also find uses for their by-products, like sending their leftovers south to Victoria to make Vegemite.
XXXX Brewery tours have only been available since 2003, and they also have a recently refurbished bar and restaurant decorated with old brewery equipment and copper furnishings.
The bar appears to be made of old mash tuns, while the spacious dining area is stocked with a variety of board games and features a tropical alfresco lounge area, perfect for after work drinks or a Sunday session. They have XXXX Summer Ale, XXXX Gold and XXXX Bitter on tap, as well as a few James Squires varieties and soon, they will have wine on tap.
The tour ended with a tasting session in the XXXX Brewery Restaurant and two complementary drinks. We got to try the three XXXX beers on tap, as well as the Summer Bright Lager with Natural Lime which had a refreshing citrus twist. We decided to have some lunch while we drank our complementary beers. We ordered the highly recommended beef burger, which was absolutely amazing – a big juicy patty with tangy mustard and pickles. We also got the steak sandwich with beetroot relish and both meals came with hand cut chips and aioli dipping sauce.
The Brewery is open Monday to Saturday for tours, which run at certain times during the day. The price of the tour covers an informative tour through the brewery, a XXXX trucker cap, tastings at the end, and two pots of beer. Remember to wear closed shoes and don’t drink any alcohol before attending the tour.
The XXXX Brewery Restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30am from Monday to Saturday. It’s also available for functions, and there’s merchandise on display for purchase, such as hats, clothing, bar accessories and sporting goods.
The entrance to the XXXX Brewery is on the corner of Paten and Black Streets in Milton. There’s limited parking available onsite and the surrounding streets are either meter parking or 2-hour free parking. To book yourself in for a brewery tour, or to make enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 3361 7597.