February 7, 2020 / By Laura Pattara
Tasmania is renowned for its incredibly fertile soil, dedication to everything organic and its passionate folks who incessantly strive for new, cutting-edge methods to blow away our taste buds. So it’s not all that surprising to learn that among the world-class cheeses, wines and seafood, you’ll find a small but impressive cache of boutique distilleries and breweries as well.
Über -famous Cascade and Boags hail from these shores but if you want to delve a little deeper, you’ll discover some truly wicked craft establishments that offer a much more intimate and personalised tasting experience. So grab your travel buddy, pick a designated driver for the day, find a sweet place to stay and head on out to explore Tasmania – one boutique brewery and distillery at a time.
Hartshorn caught our attention last year when we spotted their stand at Hobart’s Salamander Markets. One taste of their whey-distilled vodka and we were hooked. Whey-distilled vodka, you ask? YEEES! One of the most unique boutique distilleries in Tasmania, and the only one of its kind in the world, Hartshorn is literally a by-product of the Grandvewe Cheesery in Birchs Bay, Australia’s only organic sheep cheese farm. The grand idea to use their farm’s leftover whey to make vodka and gin must have seemed out-there-crazy when it was first concocted and the way it has spectacularly succeeded is still a cause for celebration with the Hartshorn crew.
Despite it being early days for this distillery, the family behind the brand has already taken home a handful of prestigious industry awards and their insistence on making small quantities of vodka and gin every year, concentrating solely on quality, is simply adding to the sensational reputation. Head there with plenty of time and an appetite: the stunning outdoor terraced restaurant and tasting sessions will no-doubt kidnap you for hours, like it did us. Check out their facebook page for opening hours, upcoming events and cool pics of their super trendy bottles.
Iron House Brewery, Distillery & Restaurant
If you love your drink with a side-serve of WOW then this boutique beer making is for you. And visiting its headquarters on the northwest coast at Four Mile Creek is really worth your while, considering the beer tasting and restaurants are absolutely to die for. Jaw-dropping views, generous $8 beer-sampler paddles, stunning culinary delights (don’t miss the salt and pepper squid salad!) and even a tipple of craft gin and brandy to cap off your visit. Oh, and you can add a historical side to your visit as this gorgeous brewery and distillery is named after the first iron-clad house on Tassie’s east coast. Before you go, check out the Iron House website to see all the goodies you can bring home. Iron House makes for a fantastic stop-over to or from the Bay of Fires.
Bruny Island Cheese Company (& Brewery!)
Ok, we’ll admit it, we stopped here to gorge on cheese and only after invading a sun-drenched table out front did we discover this little Tassie icon is a boutique brewery to boot. I mean, seriously, winning at life! A perfect place to cap off your visit to Bruny island (it’s right by the northern end on the road near the ferry wharf), the Bruny Island Cheese Company only started brewing their own drop in 2016, maintaining the same uncompromising strive for excellence that has seen its cheeses be rated among the best in the whole country.
Open-fermented brews, free of any nasties (ie. preservatives) served alongside a collection of mouth-watering cheeses and (yes, there’s more!) crusty sourdough bread baked right on the premises. Grab a sample platter (comes with a divine chilli pickle) and wash it down with their signature dark ale and you’ll be in brewery cheesy heaven. See the selection of boutique beers before you go. PS. We really do suggest you head here after your tour of Bruny: if you come here straight off the ferry … you might never continue on!
The Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company
If you love crafty mixes, the Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company makes some of the most original refreshments you'll ever sample, including a raspberry and vodka mix that is out of this world! Locally-owned and brewed, these super-chilled brewers have a wide-ranging audience thanks to their cool collection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews, which include seemingly nutty ingredients like chilli, ginger, lime and heaven-knows what else.
They work in conjunction with local distilleries, mixing spirits with their own beers to create really unique and very delicious concoctions. The only catch? The Tasmanian Chilli Beer brewery is actually not open to visitors so you must contend yourself with the arduous task of heading to the Salamanca Markets in Hobart and looking for stand # 76. Poor you, having all those delicious choices at hand!
St John Craft Beer Bar
If you’re short on time & would rather sample than travel, then head to St John’s in Launceston and you’ll have the best craft beers and spirits in Tasmania right at the tip of your beer mug. This legendary bar has a bit of a cult following, thanks to its extensive collections of craft beers (international and Australian selections), cool atmosphere and fabulous food truck that fires up at sunset. What’s not to love?
Boutique breweries and distilleries are just a few of the weekender delights in Tasmania. There’s a whole world of culinary discoveries to be made here so, go on, what are you waiting for?
We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.