Tag Archives: Beer

My Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ales & Ciders Experience

Two Metre Tall Bar

Two Metre Tall Bar

Before we came over to Tasmania I’d researched into the local produce, that being food and alcoholic products, that were a must see/try on our trip. Tasmania is becoming quite renowned for their microbreweries and whiskies with an already well-established wine industry. One of the breweries on my list was Two Metre Tall in Hayes; about 50 mins drive from Hobart.Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ales & Ciders_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer

The owners and brewers are Jane and Ashley Huntington. They have had a rather fascinating past with Ashley as the senior winemaker of the BRL Hardy owned Domaine de la Baume France where they spent 10 years before returning to Tasmania and purchasing a farm.

The Two Metre Tall Brewery is a working farm with grain, hops, fruit and cattle, you can actually purchase their beef from the bar onsite. Yep, they have turned a shed into a bar with a selection of ales on tap for you to pop to taste, drink and takeaway.

We came in on a Thursday arvo at about 2pm, in the rain, and there was no one else there. In fact Jane was just setting up the bar as Ashley had been fanatically brewing since 4am that morning.

Jane setting up the bar

Jane setting up the bar

We went through all the ciders and ales on offer and she passionately explained where all the different components that make ales and ciders came from with the majority grown onsite, locally sourced in the immediate area and Tasmania.

Jane told us about a local lady with a 100 yr old mulberry tree, she picked over 30kg of mulberries, which were added to a barrel of cider, just one barrel as that’s all there was enough for and It has sold out. A number of batches they make are on a small scale like this.

I decided to walk away with a bottle of their Original Soured Ale. This is a blend of 1-3 year old tank and barrel aged soured ales. Two Metre Tall uses a mixed fermentation technique, which apparently isn’t common, to make their Ales.

We had such a fantastic experience; Jane is so knowledgeable, attentive and personable.  If it hadn’t been raining heavily we would have loved to sit on the benches provided and spend some more time onsite, but it wasn’t to be this time. This just means that we will need to visit next time we visit Tasmania.

Original Soured Ale and Willie Smith Cider

Original Soured Ale and Willie Smith Cider

The Road to Strathgordon and Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

View from Gordon Dam

I own a guidebook, which essentially says don’t bother going to Strathgordon unless you have the time. Having visited, I disagree wholeheartedly.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania's wild west.

A: Strathgordon in Tasmania’s wild west.

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

Sentinel Range, on the way to Strathgordon

The trip to Strathgordon is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The 89km road from Maydenda to Strathgordon snakes through some of the most stunning and stark scenery I’ve ever witnessed. It weaves through rainforest, mountains, cliffs of rock, shrubby trees, curls around the headlands of the lakes, flat planes wholly encircled with ranges, and all without a house insight.

The drive takes about 1-2 hours, you would think that 89 kms isn’t much, but when you’re sitting on between 30km and 60km per hour due to the condition of the roads, the weather, other drivers, steep inclines, declines and sharp turns, you would understand why it takes a couple of hours. The benefit to travelling at a slower pace is you do get to enjoy the scenery a little, as long as you don’t take your eyes off the road for too long. For such a remote area I was very surprised as the number of cars we saw along the way, probably about 10 in total and watch the ones with caravans going too fast around the corners, one came inches from taking us out.

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

View from the Chalet, Strathgordon

We had planned on camping along the way to Strathgordon; however, once we arrived at Lake Pedder Chalet, the only accommodation in Strathgordon, and had lunch in the food hall, we became a lot less inclined to leave. On finding out that the motel style rooms were cheap, but basic, we decided to stay overnight in a room rather than a campground for the first time since we left Adelaide.

Strathgordon isn’t much, a few houses and a kick ass indoor heated pool. It was constructed in the 1960’s to house the workers building the Gordon Dam. Now, only a few families remain in the town, usually of workers maintaining the plant or working in the Chalet.

We spent the afternoon lounging and having a few beers, the life, before retiring to bed for a movie and an early night. We are very glad that we stayed in the Chalet as when we awoke in the morning there was a very heavy rain; also it was nice to be able to go to the toilet without getting cold.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Shot from the Dam to the viewing area.

Once we checked out of the Chalet we drove another 10 minutes west to the Gordon Dam. The dam was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s it is the largest dam in Tasmania and 5th largest in Australia.

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

Gordon Dam, Strathgordon

It was cold and wet when we arrived. However, the scenery in the area was stunning, all mountains, mist and it felt oddly peaceful, I guess that’s from being so remote. In short it was breathtaking! I’m glad we decided to go out of our way to visit Strathgordon and the Gordon Dam.

Taste the Harvest – Mon’s Style

So Devonport threw a wine and food festival just for me, yay! I tend to be a bit of a foodie/boozie so to have a collection of wineries, breweries and food from around the local area, in one location is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was so excited that I dragged my very patient (non drinking) husband down to the festival as soon as it started at 10:30am.

(Please note that the photos included in this post are not shot with my DSLR Canon, but my iphone5 as i decided that operating heavy machinery while drinking was not advisable!)

As soon as we arrived it started to drizzle, not to be deterred, I bought my tasting glass (rookie error, totally should have thought to smuggle my own it) and started to make the rounds. I won’t go into every single wine and beer I tried, I’ll be honest, there was a lot and I don’t remember all of them. I did however pay special attention to my favs so here they are.

Spreyton Cider

WOW! This unusual cider has not yet made its way up to Brisbane so I haven’t had the pleasure of indulging before and I was blown away by what I tried (which was all of them). Spreyton make the cider in a dry style, perfect with food and not like other sweeter styles on the market. The Cider Maker (??) was there and was very patient with answering all my questions. I learnt that they don’t add any sugar for the first fermentation; however, they do add some into the second fermentation (either in the bottle or the keg) and this makes the bubbles, just like the traditional method of making champagne – very interesting! I managed to get a small taste of the apple juice they make as well and it was a-ma-zing (originally that was what they specialized in was making apple juice and more recently branched into ciders).

Spreyton Ciderery Goodness

Ironhouse Brewery

These guys had 6 beers on tap, all lovely. However, my fav was the Honey Porter, which is Porter with Leatherwood Honey added to it. Leatherwood Honey is produced around the center of Tas and isn’t well known as a table variety of honey due to its stronger flavour and smell.

Seven Sheds

I was able to taste their 5 beers on tap. My favourite was the Willie Warmer, named after one of the owners. Willie used to make this beer as a home brew before starting the brewery. The Willie warmer was a lovely dark beer, all spicy and yummy! I had a good chat to the other owner who was full of information. Did you know that earlier last century Cascade and Boags were part of one company? They bought out all the breweries in Tas and shut them all down. Seven Sheds is the only brewery in Tasmania’s North West to open since 1907. Also another fun fact,  IPA’s are generally more alcoholic as back in the old days, when they were shipping it from Britain to India, to stop the beer from going off on the journey they increased the alcohol content, interesting stuff!

Morrisons Brewery

Quite a new brewery and again I was lucky enough to corner the brewer and bombard him with questions while sampling his beers. The Saison was my favourite and boy was it amazing! Unfortunately as he is new to the game and a small brewer, getting hold of his beers is going to prove challenging so I will need to wait until Launceston to try and get hold of some takeaway.

Morrisons Brewery

Pagan Cider

The label first attracted me to these guys and my favourite cider was the Apple & cherry blend (Cerise) yum yum!

Pagan Cider, great labels

Blustery Banks Vineyard

Grows only 2 varieties of grapes (Chardy and Pinot Noir), has a small parcel of land and all their grapes are hand picked. Add this altogether and you get exceptional wines. The 2010 Chardy and the 2012 Pinot Noir were my picks from these guys.

General observation: A lot of the vineyards at the show were actually the farmers / owners of the vineyards. It seems to be the trend that the task of creating the wines is contracted out to the winemakers who make the wine and then the vineyards sell it.

Also, I’ve noticed that a large number of white wines I tasted are really light, almost like water in colour, strange!

Deloraine Fruit Wines

These guys were just quirky, lovely, but quirky. They use fruits, other than grapes, to make wines and the wine are made in quite a dry style rather than sweet and syrupy. The couple on the stand were quirky and advised us that we needed to go to Zeehan to a theatre where the famous Dame Nellie Melba performed. Now the only reason I know the name Dame Nellie Melba is because Downtown Abbey featured her character on the show so now I need to see this place!

Frenchman’s Cap

Named after a peak here in Tassie, these guys find grapes and then find winemakers to make the wine. They are kind of like a middle man, they don’t actually grow any grapes or make any wines themselves but their wines were lovely. My fav, Frenchmans Cap Pinot Noir

Ghost Rock Vineyard

Had a lovely stand and very knowledgeable vineyard owner. The wines were great and my favourite for the day was the Catherine Sparkling.

Iron Pot Bay Vineyard

The owner has only just bought the vineyard within the past 9 months so only a couple of the wines that she has produced were for tasting, plenty of other wines from the previous owner though. My favourite was the Late Harvest Riesling

Lake Barrington / White Rock Vineyard

Just released a variety that I’d never heard of before called Dornfelder, a red German variety. I bought a glass of this one to finish off my drinking for the day. Man, was it good!


So even though my day was booze filled there was also some food happening behind the scenes. Tornado Potato, I ate 3 of them. It was a potato slinky on a stick, dipped in batter and deep-fried, kind of like potato scallops, yum!

Dornfelder and Tornado Potato

By about 2pm i’d decided (I meaning my husband) that i’d done my dash and it was time to go. Deciding that I had made a nice dent in the long list of places I’d hope to see on our travels (bonus that they were all in one convenient place), I didn’t make a fuss. So home (caravan park) we went for a big meal of pasta, shitloads of water, a couple of pannies and early to bed for me!

Mother – Daughter Bonding Trip

Mum came up to Brisbane on short notice, which was perfect as I was unemployed. We decided to take a mother-daughter road trip to do some camping and bush walking, something we are both passionate about.

We started off with a couple of nights at the Gold Coast Holiday Park where we lounged around the heated spa, read and relaxed.

After heading back to Brisbane for a couple of days, we drove up to Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterlands. Unfortunately as we got there all of the little shops were closed or closing so we didn’t get much time to do any shopping. I still managed to purchase a 6 pack sampler of MT Brewery’s beers and we bought some homemade fudge.

We left Mount Tamborine early and drove to Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, which is part of the Lamington National Park. The drive took us through some lovely scenery and cute isolated villages with spectacular views. Once we got to Binna Burra we set up and went for our first walk. We got through the Caves Circuit and part of the Bellbird Lookout Track.

Once we got back from the walk we discovered we had neighbours where we hadn’t had any before. A bunch of blokes had set up camp next door. They were lovely and seeing that we were having trouble with our fire (we learnt the wood we had wasn’t great) gave us a box of fire lighters and some of their wood. As a thank you we brought them over some fudge and they invited us to join them. Mum and I shifted our chairs over and sat with them drinking and chatting for the next few hours before heading to bed a little tipsy.

The next morning we got up and left early to do the Coomera Circuit walk, 17km’s of rainforest, creeks, waterfalls and bush. We did it in 6 hours rather than the 7 hours the map told us it would take. We took some lovely photos and once back at camp we ate and retired early.

On Sunday morning we woke up early and went on a short 1.2kw rainforest circuit just to stretch out our aching limbs, on the return we packed and left and headed down south to Mount Warning.

Once we have crossed over the NSW border and had gotten off the Motorway, we found that the area around Mount Warning is simply beautiful. There was picturesque sugar cane fields with the stunning Mount Warning silhouette in the back drop. We drove through the cute little town of  Murwillumbah and onto the road leading up to Mount Warning Holiday Park, which is where we were camping.

The campsite we picked was lovely, completely surrounded by trees and birds. It was really hot, which after Binna Burra was a nice change. Once the sun dropped it got cold quickly but by that time we had a lovely little fire going strong. We had dinner and packed up so that we could just get up and go at 4am to climb Mount Warning to se the sun rise.

All night there was thunder and when we woke up at 4am there was lightning and it started to rain. We went back to sleep and got up at 6am instead.

It was a hard slog up the mountain, especially at the end where you had to pull yourself up by chains to get to the top. Once at the top the view was lovely, when the clouds cleared. We sat there for a while, took some photos and descended. The whole trek took approx  5 hours. Since this was the end of our trip we packed up and came back to the Gold Coast Holiday Park for some R&R before heading back to Brisbane.

We had a lovely Mother-Daughter bonding experience, I cant wait to do it again!

Beer Review – MT Brewery

I went to Mount Tamborine with my Mum and we stopped briefly at the MT Brewery. MT Brewery is in a little complex, which also houses Witches Falls Cheese. The bar was closed when we got there, however, the bar tender very kindly sold me a sampler 6 pack of the beer anyway.

MT Brewery’s passion is “to produce our award winning beer with the best ingredients sourced using traditional brewing methods, proper maturation times, while totally avoiding pasteurization, additives and over filtration.”

The bottles are all different and quite cute.

The first beer I sampled that evening at Mount Tamborine was the Moderation Golden Ale. This ale was a light at only 2.8% and unfortunately this was quite evident. The flavour was lovely, very easy drinking, but had a watery finish.

On the 2nd night at Binna Burra I got through the Curvee Belgium Blonde 5.2%, nothing particularly exciting about this one, it was very easy drinking. Also the St Bridget Dubell 7.2%, the plumminess and spice came through. I didn’t really get to look at the colour and head of this one as.

Black Cockatoo 4.8% was consumed after completing a 17km hike around the Coomera Circuit, Lamington National Partk. First mouthful was a burnt bitterness, which gave way to coffee flavours. It was actually quite smooth and went down a treat with the Locally made Swiss style cheeses from Fromart that we purchased days earlier from the markets.

Since one is never enough I also polished off the Settlers Wheat Beer. It was a cloudy gold in colour, not a lot of head and I didn’t think anything particularly special to write home about.

The last and final beer, Rainforest Lager, was consumed while lounging around in the sun at Mount Warning Holiday Park. It was yellow in colour and nice and clear, not a lot of head. Really sweet, nearly wine like, but lovely and refreshing. I could definitely have consumed a couple more of these while sitting in the sun.

My favourites out of this batch were definitely the Black Cockatoo and Rainforest Lager. All of the beers were nice in their own way; however, these 2 were definitely my favs. I recommend going to MT Brewery and trying a couple of their lovely beers and while you’re there check out Witch Falls cheese next door.