I need to be clear from the outset that I am prepared to go to any lengths to research interesting places for you, dear Reader.
If that means learning the finer points of beer-making and then tasting the output, I am definitely ready to put in the hard yards.
It may be early in the day here, but somewhere in the World it is a very appropriate beverage time to step through the doors of the historic Cascade Brewery in Hobart.
In 1824 the Brewery’s founder, Peter Degraves, completed a stretch in the old Hobart Gaol. In the Gaol, drinking beer was the hydration option of choice as the water was totally polluted and undrinkable. The beer, also based on that polluted water, was only slightly more palatable. Degraves owned a patch of land, including access to clear mountain streams coming down from Mt Wellington, and he realised that he was in the box seat to produce a vastly superior beverage. On his release from jail, the Cascade Brewery Company was born.
The Cascade Brewery is small compared to the other big brands in Australia and only produces around 40 million litres of beer each year. To supplement cash flows, the Company has diversified into cider production and tours, and they have established a large restaurant, function centre, retail outlet, and bar overlooking the brewery and the picturesque Hobart valley.
Always keen to learn new things, especially when it involves beer, we booked ourselves on an afternoon tour. Due to start at 2pm, we waited, waited, and waited. While that was a tad annoying, who can be bored when you are waiting in a brewery?
Eventually a wiry young man bounded up to our group and started reviewing the Work Health and Safety issues required to join a tour. Very quickly I realised that to be a guide at Cascade Brewery:
- your name must start with the letter ‘D’,
- you must be male,
- entirely covered in tattoos, and
- be unquestionably and absolutely in love with beer.
D1 (all names changed to protect the innocent) was beside himself with excitement to explain the history and background of the Brewery as we waited for our proper guide, D2, to finish his previous tour. Eventually D2 sauntered up and we moved from the landscaped grounds of the Brewhouse across the road to the historic brewery itself.
Sheltered from the sun by graceful old trees and with the Brewery’s sandstone façade as our backdrop, D2 proceeded to regale us with the health properties of beer. 45 minutes later he was still enthusing about beer and how beer:
- Is a health food
- Is all natural, comprising only water, hops, malt and yeast
- Is a square meal in a glass
- Is as good for you as Vegemite and Milo as it possesses the same nutritional properties, and
- Is so good for you, you could drink 14 standard beers every day and it wouldn’t hurt you one bit!
You’ve got to admire a person who loves their job!
Drink more beer!
Finally D2 led us inside the Brewery itself and, I must say, I was pretty underwhelmed. I think I was expecting more boutique than a simple, mechanical production line. Due to its small throughput, the factory only operates 3-4 days per week, so on a Saturday there weren’t any moving parts or bells and whistles to look at.
D2 continued to expound on the joys of beer, the complexity of growing the different flavoured hops, the systems for bottling beer, and the mechanics of moving bulk beer around. I doubt that he was truly conscious of what was coming out of his mouth, such was his rapid fire delivery, but it was interesting and entertaining all the same. “When beer kegs are full, they weigh about 67kg, about the weight of a human. When you pick up a human, they are heavy”. I am not sure how often you go around picking up humans, but you have been warned!
By the time we neared the end of our tour, now close to two hours in duration, D2 was explaining that you could safely drink 24 beers a day and still suffer no ill-affects! As a bit of background, D2 had only four subjects left to complete his university Economics degree and he was just starting his brewing studies. Me thinks he would have been better suited in the Marketing Department.
Drink more beer!
It was getting late and all that talk of beer had created a powerful thirst. We almost stampeded back to the Brewhouse bar waving our tokens for four free beers.
Naturally there were plenty of beers to choose from and I decided to be adventurous, calling for:
- Cascade Draught: very drinkable and thirst quenching
- Cascade Stout: a chunky, chocolatey meal in a glass
- Goose Island IPA: nope, definitely an acquired taste, and
- Mercury Cider: a tasty, middle-of-the-range cider.
By this stage of the day the Brewhouse staff were doing their best to politely throw us out. They were trying to set up for a romantic wedding and 25 beer-swilling tourists did not add to the elegant mood.
We were just doing what D1 and D2 had been telling us to do for the past two hours.
Drinking More Beer!
Do you have a favourite brewery?
What: Brewery tours cost $30pp. Wear flat, fully-enclosed shoes.
Where: The Cascade Brewery and Brewhouse can be found at 140 Cascade Road, South Hobart.
When: We visited pre-Covid19 in mid-February 2020. The Brewhouse is open seven days. Tours are conducted six times per day and are scheduled to run for around 75minutes, but definitely allow more time, especially if your guide’s first name starts with D.
Why: To learn about beer, history, beer, brewing, beer, maturation and beer.
How: If you don’t mind a stroll, then follow the beautiful walking trail alongside the Hobart Town Rivulet. It takes about 60minutes to get to the Brewery on foot from the Hobart CBD. Free car parking is also available onsite and the Red Decker tourist bus stops right out the front.
Who: This tour is not suitable for people with mobility issues due to the many stairs and uneven surfaces.
Related Posts: Beer not your thing? Then how about some gin instead? What is your Gintelligence level?
Related Blogs: Want to learn more about breweries in Tasmania? Then check out what Back to School Brewing has to say.
Read About It: Inspired to brew up your own beverages? Then go straight to Book Depository for your inspiration.
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