If the flashing red neon XXXX sign atop Castlemaine Brewery isn’t proof enough that Queenslanders love their beer, the state is now bracing for its own beer bash with the inaugural Queensland Beer Week from July 16- 22.
The collective ‘clink’ of beer bottles will be heard across Queensland as breweries, bottle shops and iconic pubs team up to showcase the very best of beer culture, while beer-lovers also attempt a world record for the most people brewing at one time.
And the timing couldn’t be more perfect with Queensland’s favourite brew, XXXX Gold recently taking the crown for the nation's most popular beer and flattening the bubbles out of long-time title holder, Victoria Bitter.
Raise your glass and celebrate with the 10 best beer experiences in Queensland.
1. Take a tour with a tipple
Get inside the head, the heart and the history of Queensland’s amber elixir with a tour through the XXXX Ale House in Brisbane’s inner-west. Tours of the 130-year-old icon run daily and visitors can see how the beer is made and taste the final product. www.xxxxbrewerytour.com.au
2. Bavarian beer in the bush
If the clink of a beer stein and the image of an honest Aussie farmer in a good pair of lederhosen appeals, then head west for the world’s most remote Outback Oktoberfest in Jundah. You won’t go hungry or thirsty with Beer Wenches catering to your every whim, whether it be a big juicy bratwurst or stein of authentic Erdinger beer specially imported from Germany. www.outbackoktoberfest.com.au
3. Get crafty on the coast
You can’t rush a good thing, according to the Gold Coast’s only craft brewery, Burleigh Brewing Company. It takes around a month to perfect a Burleigh brew; the onsite team does absolutely everything by hand, from carefully selecting the malted barley, yeast and hops to bottling the finished product, boxing it up and lovingly placing it in the cold room. Clearly they’re doing something right - their HEF beer was recently judged the Best German Wheat Beer at the World Beer Cup 2012. Wunderbar! www.burleighbrewing.com.au
4. A match made in heaven
It’s an unlikely pairing, but beer and cheese go together like Queen Elizabeth and her corgies. Explore the hinterland town of Mount Tamborine and match the cheese at Witches Chase Cheese with award-winning beer samples from Mount Tamborine Brewery next door. www.mtbeer.com
5. Beers and bull riding
Crack a coldie at the iconic Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton, the home of great steak, beer and rodeos. This 116-year-old pub plays host to major national rodeos and features a huge undercover rodeo arena for 1,000 people that attracts champion riders from near and far. www.greatwesternhotel.com.au
6. BYO (Brew Your Own) beer
Be your own brew master for a day at Bru 4 U in Brisbane - Queensland’s first brew-on-premises microbrewery. Visit the brewery and choose a beer from their list of over 200 different styles. Measure out the ingredients, mix them together and transfer it to the fermenter where your brew will bubble for 2-4 weeks. At the end of the process, take home 50 litres of your very own freshly brewed and bottled beer. www.bru4u.com
7. Archive of ales
Beer-aficionados won’t go thirsty at Archive Beer Boutique in Brisbane’s West End, with more than 400 different bottled beers and 14 draught beers to choose from. Currently on tap is Burleigh HEF, White Rabbit White Ale and Two Birds Sunset Red Ale. But if the reserve selection is more to your taste, for $175 you can try a bottle of Brewdog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin. With 32 per cent alcohol it’s the world’s strongest beer and should be enjoyed like a fine whisky. www.archivebeerboutique.com.au
8. Sky’s the limit
The tropical climate of North Queensland has always been associated with cold, thirst-quenching beer. Enter Blue Sky Brewery. Situated in the heart of Cairns, the brewery produces 10 preservative-free, full-flavoured beers including lagers, ales and ciders. Enjoy guided tours from Monday to Thursday where you can sample their stable of beers including FNQ Lager, FNQ Gold, Cairns Gold and Blue Sky Pilsner. Blue Sky is also serious about being green with 95 per cent of its spent grain and yeast used for cattle feed. www.blueskybrewery.com.au
9. Something’s a-brewing
One of Australia’s premier boutique breweries, the Townsville Brewing Company has been brewing six regular beers plus various seasonal releases since opening in 2001. Steeped in history, the brewery is housed within the town’s original post office building, flanked by an impressive clock tower. Brewery tours aren’t available but they do offer tutored tastings. www.townsvillebrewery.com.au
10. No bitter aftertaste
Cleverly named beer bistro Bitter Suite is one of New Farm’s trendy new kids on the block and becoming a fast favourite for weekend afternoon drinks. The friendly owners living out their dream offer patrons hearty fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it’s their grazing menu begging to be washed down with a choice of seven local craft beers on tap, plus 55 (mostly) Australian bottles that’s winning over locals. www.bittersuite.com.au
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