Tasmania's northwest doesn't tend to be lavished with as much attention by tourist bods as some of its other regions. But on a trip there for a travel feature a couple of years ago, in the company of brewer and beer writer Willie Simpson, we were introduced to all manner of colourful, quirky and fascinating local producers, often hailing from other parts of the world and settling in NW Tassie after years travelling the globe. For his 200th batch of Seven Sheds beer, Willie decided to bring a few of them in for a collaboration, with the result the exotic Platypus 200. And even for someone who's recreated the journey of the original IPAs and the first beers to come to Australia from the UK, courtesy of the Spirit of Tasmania, this is a rather unique beer.
Combining the fruits of the labours of a Belgian, a German, a Dutchman and a Kiwi it's a rich, brown ale enhanced by cocoa from Anvers Confectionery (founded by Belgium-born Igor van Gerwen), ginseng from (German-born) Ziggy Pyka's 41° South salmon and ginseng farm, and quinoa from Kindred Organics (owned by Dutch couple Lauran and Henriette Damen) - all members of the newly-formed Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail. We're told each adds a subtle twist to the toasty base ale. Just 500 individually-numbered 750ml bottles have been produced, which are only available from the cellar door in Railton from January 22.