‘A posh pub crawl of two great craft breweries near Brisbane’

Oct 04, 2019
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Robyn and her Sunday Drive Gang travelled around the south-east from Brisbane to indulge in some of the finest craft beer. Source: Getty Images

Remember when a pub crawl was called a ‘pub crawl’ and we all knew what that meant? Now it seems that we have to name change to protect the innocent (generations A, B, C D, and holy shootin’ ducks, it really is pathetic). The latest PC name for such ‘goings-on’ is evidently called ‘Visiting Microbreweries’. Okay then … A rose by any name still smells like a good day out and we Baby Boomers are the superheroes of adaptability, we’ve had to be.

Recently, my Sunday Drives Gang and I decided to name any weekday a ‘Sunday’ because Sundays meant crowds and traffic. On this particular occasion, Tuesday became our Sunday.

One bright spark lamented the passing of the good old-fashioned pub crawl; so un-PC. Then we heard-tell of this new phenomena called microbreweries; very upmarket. “A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer, characterised by their emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing technique”, that’s according to my online sources. Rumour has it that visiting one or more of these establishments in one day makes you ‘cool’, not a group of sad, old, alcohol-dependent Baby Boomers.

We all live in Brisbane, Queensland. Our research into microbreweries showed a plethora of these sweet little things not only in Brisbane but also within our Sunday Drive parameters. Map planning, minibus hire, invites to the bladder-sturdy and the non-curfew laden saw our plans taking shape.

Priority — check on David’s availability. David is very popular, David is reliable, David is often invited to many designated-driver social events; David doesn’t drink alcohol. Long live David!

We chose two destinations for our virginal foray into the world of posh beer. First, Brisbane to Mount Alford, just over an hour (101.7 kkilometres) south via State Route 93, to the Scenic Rim Brewery.

The owners have restored Mount Alford’s old corner shop to its former glory with polished timber floorboards, vaulted ceilings and shelves lined with jams, chutneys and relishes crafted by local providores. Part brewery, part café, customers can enjoy a cup of coffee, mud cake, citrus tart or freshly baked scone with jam and cream or indulge in a grazing platter of cured meats, cheeses, antipasto and pickles. The remainder of the menu has a European flavour but, as a salute to all things Aussie, Chico roll with fresh tomato, avocado and chilli sauce.

There are six beers on tap, three of them brewed on site in 1,000-litre stainless-steel tanks. The range includes pale ale, mid-strength pale ale and a red ale. With hand-drawn labels like ‘Diggas’ and ‘Fat Man’, you’ll want to take some home for a show and tell at your the next barbecue.

So, okay, exceeded expectations by about 100 per cent.

Next, we’re off to Ipswich. Mount Alford to Ipswich is around 50 minutes (59.9km) north via State Route 93. We’re going to have a look at 4 Hearts Brewery and the Pumpyard Bar.

On tap are homebrews including Ipswich Challenger Light Ale Longshot Session, Summer Wheat (German-style beer), Seasonal Indie Red and, in a nod to Ipswich’s mining past, Imperial Coal Miners Stout, along with guest taps Brewcult Spoiler Alert, Killer Sprocket, Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Hills Cloudy Apple Cider. Who thinks up these names?

From the exhaustive list of guest bottled beer there’s Smoked Porter, Espresso Stout, Apricot Wheat Ale, Pomegranate Saison, Pilsner and Peated Imperial Stout and the hefty guest bottled cider. The menu is divided into eight types of brew including sweet, medium dry, dry and tangy and barrel aged and dry.

When it comes to food, light options include barbecue chicken wings, calzones with fillings like beef cheek and blue cheese or mushroom, goats cheese and thyme. For something more substantial the Beef Cheek Burger comes served on premise-baked brioche with onion rings, blue cheese and tamarind. Or there’s pizza. But a must-try for an absolute treat is the in-house beer ice-cream.

Interesting fact, the giant fig tree overlooking the car park is older than the buildings and it too is heritage-listed.

Beer goggles off; what a fabulous day. We rather like our new found social status as microbreweries connoisseurs, but we promise never to forget our working class roots.

You can take the Baby Boomer away from the pub crawl but you can’t take the pub crawl away from us altogether; you just got to find something better as a replacement, like a microbrewery pub ‘quick step’. We now ‘identify’ as microbrewery friendly — gawd love a duck!

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