Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor

Fortitude is one of the four virtues of antiquity. It means strength, endurance and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty and intimidation. Fortitude is steady, reliable and unwavering. Fortitude is solid as a rock… or, in the case of Fortitude Brewing, solid as a mountain.

“An accountant and a cardiologist walk into a bar…” sounds like the start of a bad joke, but “An accountant and a cardiologist start a brewery” is a true story. Jim O’Connor and Ged Connors have been mates since they were at school together, and had shared a dream of opening a brewery together for almost as long. So, in 2012, they started Fortitude Brewing, beginning with a small system in a defunct brewery on Tamborine Mountain, up in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Tamborine is one of those quaint townships with a fudge shop, a German cuckoo clock shop (why is there always a German cuckoo clock shop?), dreamcatchers galore, a small population and a fluctuating tourist trade. The cool air makes for pleasant summer days that cry out for beer so Jim and Ged started Fortitude with a simple but significant vision: to bring good beer to the mountain. They weren’t interested in chasing trends or novelty, but in solid, consistent, flavoursome beers.

(That doesn’t mean they have no interest in experimenting with flavours, though. Their sub-brand Noisy Minor is all about small batches of bolder beers: “Like the bird, these beers are noisy, aggressive and sometimes downright crazy, and happy to take on bigger rivals.”)

In their humility, the Fortitude team didn’t anticipate such rapid and remarkable growth. From the get-go, they netted multiple awards for their beers, landed beers in the top 15 of the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers, and created demand that reached far beyond the cosy cottages of Mt Tamborine. So in 2014, they moved to their current premises in Eagle Heights, taking over the site of the former Mt Tamborine Brewery and thus upgrading to a 24hL system to allow for further growth via a secondhand Czech brewhouse that’s proved itself to be a real workhorse.

“It’s interesting for getting replacement parts,” says Jim. “But we’ve been pretty lucky… haven’t had too many issues with it. It’s served us well. It’s actually designed for pilsners. So we push it really hard to do things like IIPAs that it was never designed to do!”

The new location also provided a more welcoming establishment to the public. The phrase “mountaintop experience” typically refers to a moment of transcendence, an epiphany, a vision of greatness… and that’s a perfect description of what happens when you approach the front of the brewery, and ascend the expansive steps to the arched entranceway. As you walk through the great corridor, dwarfed by the vaulted ceiling – timber rafters looming over you – you can’t help but wonder what this grand structure is. Is it a Norse long hall? Is it a barn? Is it a cathedral where devotees can worship at the altar of good beer?

No, it’s a brewery. Come on. You knew that already. But thanks for playing along.

The public-facing bar has an array of tables spread through the indoor-outdoor area, spoiling you for choice. Will you sit at a picnic table in the open courtyard, surrounded by greenery and perched closest to the stage where live music plays every weekend? Or beneath the slanted roof, among the hanging plants, at a bar table built from an old Mt Tamborine Brewery keg? Or will you keep warm inside, at a long table or on the leather couch, admiring the brewing tanks while you drink of their precious contents?

Whatever your seating choice, you have access to 15 glorious taps. They always serve up the Fortitude Brewing core range – Pacer, Lager, Summer Ale, Pale Ale, and Stout – and the Roots and Leaves Hopped Ginger Beer (arguably one of the best beer names ever). And, at any given moment, there are a few taps dedicated to whichever Noisy Minor beers have been brewed recently.

A lazy afternoon at the brewery begs for a tasting paddle matched with something to nibble. The pizzas made onsite at Fortitude are of a deliciously high quality (which experience suggests isn’t always assured in hinterland townships), and the neighbouring cheese shop offers boards and platters to complement an assortment of beers.

When you finish your session at the brewery (which, let’s be honest, is probably at closing time), there are a few options available for taking some beer home with you. Growler fills are offered for any of the beers on tap and packaged beer can be bought over the bar: stubbies of Fortitude core range; 375ml cans of Roots and Leaves; 500ml cans of Noisy Minor beers.

Of course, this isn’t the only place you can buy the bottles and cans. Fortitude beers haven't stayed cooped up in their mountain monastery, but have spread through Queensland, and even rolled out into bottleshops nationally. (Pacer in particular has taken on a life of its own, thanks to being one of the most flavoursome light beers around.) 

And, as it’s continued to grow, Fortitude's ethos of integrity and honesty remains, with the team intent on being transparent about their beer's freshness, putting packed on rather than best before dates on all kegs as well as Noisy Minor cans.

“I don’t know how many people look at it," says Jim. "But, particularly with the Noisy Minor range, when someone’s dropping the sort of dollars they do on an IPA or an imperial IPA, they care. They’re gonna take a bit of extra notice. And the craft bars care about the freshness."

As they should. After all, as the brewery’s slogan tells us:

In Cerevisia Fortitudo.

“In Beer is Strength.”

Mick Wust

Name
Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor
Address

165-185 Long Road
North Tamborine
QLD 4272

Phone
(07) 5545 4273
Website
Hours

11am to 4pm 7 days a week

Current Crafty Cabal offers

2-for-1 Tasting Paddles at Fortitude Brewing

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Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor Regulars

Fortitude Brewing Roots and Leaves Hopped Ginger Ale

Tapped May 24th, 2018
You can find hops cropping up in all sorts of places these days: ciders, ice creams and, in the case of this canned mid-strength from Fortitude Brewing, a ginger beer. Gluten free and virtually free of sugar, the brewery's beer alternative comes with a recommendation on the website they've created for it to enjoy it over ice with a slice of lime. Should you not follow the recommendation, it delivers a refreshing enough hit regardless. Pouring a very cloudy pale yellow, it packs a punchy aroma –… Read more
Style
Hopped Ginger Beer
ABV
3.5%

Fortitude Brewing Pale Ale

Tapped May 24th, 2018
One of the very first beers to leave Fortitude's Mt Tamborine home was the Golden Ale, a beer with enough character that it could easily be slotted into the American pale ale category. More recently, a beer actually tagged Pale Ale was introduced – and is now part of the new look core range introduced in 2018 – giving them a beer that's even more of an American pale ale. While many brewers are moving further into tropical and candied fruit territory with their pales, here's something that's more… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
5.0%

Fortitude Brewing Summer Ale

Tapped May 24th, 2018
Fortitude has made a point of producing beers that deliver flavour and aroma without smacking you around the head. And, following its rebrand in the first half of 2018, it's a policy they continue to follow. The Summer Ale sits right in the sweet spot that's winning over many new drinkers to craft beer. Within its pale yellow liquid you'll pick up a veritable fruit salad of hop characters: lime, melon, white grapes and peaches. Those hop characters come across broad and rounded rather than feisty,… Read more
Style
Summer Ale
ABV
4.4%

Noisy Minor ANZUS IPA

In terms of punter appeal, it's the ANZUS that has been leading the way for the Fortitude / Noisy Minor team. It has featured prominently in The Local Taphouse Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll since its release, even making the top ten in 2014. So what exactly is it that has won our affections? The beer was crafted to "honour the ANZUS treaty between the great (hop growing) nations of Australia, New Zealand and USA" and is their interpretation of American IPAs. It's a far cry from some… Read more

Fortitude Brewing Stout

Brewer's notes: This extremely approachable stout has won many non-stout drinkers over. A simple yet delectable dry Irish stout boasting British pale malt, flaked barley, roast barley and Goldings hops. With a slight smokiness, lots of rich coffee notes and a long, dry finish this stout is what Guinness always wanted to be. … Read more
Style
Dry Irish Stout
ABV
4.0%

Fortitude Brewing Pacer

The Australian craft beer sector might be a place where you can find many a good mid-strength these days, especially with the rise of sessionable sours that give brewers additional flavour, aroma and texture characters to play with. But decent light beers? Not so much. One of the very few out there delivering a quality experience with half the booze is Fortitude's Pacer 2.8. From the opening wafts of passionfruit and mandarin, through the lightly sweet pale malts to the gently drying bitterness –… Read more
Style
Light Ale
ABV
2.8%

Fortitude Brewing Standard Lager

Brewer's notes: Fortitude Standard is a standard Australian lager. It is hoped that the beer is part of a new standard in Australian Lager. Malt? Yep. Hops? Plenty! Sugar? Not a grain in sight! The thing is… we all grew up drinking Aussie lagers until we discovered that we liked flavour. But there’s no reason why you can’t pack a whole heap of flavour into an Aussie lager, whilst still keeping the cold, crisp, easy drinking nature of these beers. A vibrant yellow colour with fluffy white foam, Fortitude… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.5%

Fortitude Brewing Golden Ale

Brewer's notes: Fortitude’s flagship beer, Fortitude Original, is their interpretation of the modern British Golden Ale. Bright golden in colour, the aromas of stone fruit, pine and grapefruit complement the malty, nutty palate leading to a crisp, dry finish. A blend of malted barley, wheat and light caramel malts gives the beer a nutty flavour, while Waimea, Mosaic and Amarillo hops create a melange of fruity notes. DM… Read more
Style
Golden Ale
ABV
4.3%

Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor Specials

Noisy Minor Admiral Ackbar

Tapped August 8th, 2015
Sibling breweries Fortitude and Noisy Minor have been one of the standout successes of the beer revolution in South East Queensland. Perhaps most notably, they've seen multiple beers score highly in the past couple of Local Taphouse Hottest 100 polls; this year, they had three beers in the top 14, a remarkable achievement for a young brewery whose beers were, last year, only regularly available in Queensland and New South Wales. But anyone who's tried their full range would readily accept it's one… Read more
Style
Imperial Red Ale
ABV
8.5%
Stockists

Fortitude Brewery

Good beer stockists on the East Coast

Noisy Minor Patersbier

Tapped March 9th, 2015
It's hard to come across a Belgian style beer bearing the name "Pater" – especially one with a stained glass window for its label – without thinking of possibly the most inappropriate label to appear on a beer: that for Beer Here's delicious Malus Pater. This one is far more tastefully decorated with the brewer's notes telling us: "Patersbier means 'Father’s Beer' - the beer the monks drink at their table after a long day brewing dubbels and tripels. It is lighter in alcohol… Read more
Style
Belgian Session Ale
Stockists

Fortitude Brewery

Noisy Minor Admiral Ackbar

Another Noisy Minor beer to find favour with drinkers wherever it lands, this "anti-imperial red ale" was one of three beers from the brewery to make the top 15 in the 2014 Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll. Brewer's notes: We loved the lithe coquettishness of last year’s Red Ryeding Hood, but this year we wanted to make our Red Ale release a little more forthright. Enter the cult champion of Anti-Imperial Forces, Admiral Ackbar. This is a big warming malty ale with a ton of Nelson… Read more
Style
Imperial Red Ale
ABV
8.5%
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