Can there be a brewery in Australia with a more beautiful location than IronHouse? Midway along Tasmania’s east coast, the brewery forms part of the White Sands resort, looking out over its own private beach (complete with the whitest of white sand, of course) across the ocean.
Originally situated in a shed, the resort went through a major renovation in 2009 and the brewery moved into its new home. It now takes centre stage in White Sands' impressive main building, which also houses a restaurant, bar, shop, kids' play area and terrace, with an outdoor swimming pool completing the picture. Under the stewardship of Michael Briggs, IronHouse produces a range of traditional beers, from a quaffable lager through to a rich porter, that’s embellished with the odd limited release, such as “The Hoff”, a highly hopped IPA inspired by Mr Hasselhoff himself.
Stood at the bar, you can see straight though to the brewery, from where the draught beers are all poured direct from the tanks. There’s a selection of quality imported beers in bottle in the fridges too, alongside mainly Tassie wines in a list that will soon be augmented by IronHouse’s own vintages – a vineyard is set to open nearby in 2013.
Accommodation consists of cottages boasting views along the coast, while there are two onsite dining options – the casual Brewhaus and Le Blanc fine dining restaurant. Whichever one you opt for, bear in mind that some of Australia’s best oysters are harvested just down the road – perfect for accompanying a beer or three on the terrace at sundown.
The beer on in the IronHouse lineup designed to appease the crowd that has grown up on Tassie’s bigger brewery’s beers. It’s a clear, light golden beer with plenty of sweet Munich malt flavour, some gentle hopping with Tassie Cascade and not too much in the way of bitterness, so as not to scare off newcomers to microbrewed beer.
Style: German lager
Bitterness: 22 IBU
IronHouse Pale Ale
A US style pale ale brewed with aroma hops Amarillo and Tasmanian Galaxy that deliver a punchy citrus nose with a touch of honey, backed up by nutty, biscuity malts and some grapefruit like hop flavours. Packs a solid bitterness too.
Style: US Pale Ale
Bitterness: 45 IBU
IronHouse Wheat Beer
The IronHouse take on the Bavarian hefeweizen style comes with bags of big, sweet malty flavours alongside touches of the banana and cloves you expect from the style. Highly carbonated and with a creamy mouthfeel, it’s a fruity and refreshing drop.
A big, rich, welcoming beer, the IronHouse Porter comes crammed with six different malts from Australia, Germany and the UK that deliver layers of dark chocolate, caramel and the faintest touch of roastiness. East Kent Goldings add subtle hop character to a beer that’s velvety in the mouth, making for a cracking dessert beer.
The second lager on the IronHouse year round lineup is one that is steeped in tradition and based in simplicity. The brewers use European Pilsener malt and Saaz hops to create a straw-coloured beer with a dense white head that’s all about delicacy in aroma and flavour. Or as they like to say, it’s “a clean, simple malty beer with an aromatic nose and dry finish.”
Style: Czech Pilsener
The beer the IronHouse brewers like to refer to as the “short black” of their range is an ever-evolving beast that has lovers of rich, dark beers firmly in its sights. The base beer is brewed with a blend of six specialty malts of the roasted, chocolate and crystal variety. It then spends time inside French oak originally used for Port, adding vanilla and tobacco to the chocolate and roast coffee flavours.
Style: Barrel-aged Stout
IronHouse Oktoberfest 2013
It’s October 1, which can only mean that it’s time for the Oktoberfest beers to start appearing across the land. OK, so some have been out a while already, but IronHouse, the Tassie brewer with its own beach, has held off until the start of October so the beer can be launched at Jack Greene in Hobart. Head brewer Briggsy tells us his beer possesses a “radiant copper-orange hue and off-white head … from generous amounts of Munich malt.” He says to look out for caramel malt aromas, some fruitiness from the yeast, with the malt sweetness balanced by the use of Hallertau and Saaz hops. It is, he says: “A good pairing for the hearty German fare served at Oktoberfest parties in Munich: rich sausages and pretzels.”
Style: Oktoberfest Lager
IronHouse Seasonals 2013
Lines of contact were temporarily lost between Crafty Towers and IronHouse, despite efforts to keep abreast of what was going on at one of the country’s most picturesque breweries. Throughout that time, we kept hearing word from various Tassie venues of new releases from them. And now we’re delighted to report that we’ve reestablished communications – and that they’ve been going gangbusters on the limited release schedule. As some of these have been out a while we wrapping them up in one listing, but will be able to post all future releases as soon as they’re out.
So, if you’re in Tassie or Melbourne and looking for something a little different, you could find the likes of their 5.5 per cent Honey Porter – “rich chocolate and caramel balanced with Tasmanian leatherwood honey from the Central Highlands”, the six per cent Paddy’s Head French oak barrel-aged Stout, a 4.7 per cent Dunkel – “roast, chocolate and banana aromas with the yeast complexities of wheat beer”, or Fear of the Dark – a 6.2 per cent sessionable Black IPA with “light roasted, smokey and caramel flavours” that features US hops Zythos and Chinook. Then there’s their ESB too, a “true to style English special bitter featuring Maris Otter, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings – earthy, smooth and creamy”.
Fear and ESB – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne
Honey and Fear – The Winston, Hobart
Fear – Barcelona
Paddy’s – Irish Murphy’s, Hobart
Fear, ESB and Impale Ale – Tattersalls, Hobart
Honey – New Sydney