Hemingway's Brewery, Cairns Wharf

It didn’t take long for Hemingway’s Brewery co-owners Tony Fyfe and Craig Parsell to start thinking of duplicating the concept once they’d opened their idyllically positioned Port Douglas brewpub at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in July.

The plan was to take their gastro brewpub model to Far North Queensland’s capital, Cairns. All they needed was the right location. One that mirrored the Port Douglas venue – in terms of water views, indoor and outdoor hospitality areas and the brewhouse as a backdrop – but on a much larger scale.

Enter the local port authority, Ports North, and its desire to lease a heritage-listed early 1900s warehouse at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal on Trinity Inlet, right on the edge of the central business district.

Eighteen months after signing the lease and following an exhaustive development and fit-out of a 1400 square metre site, Hemingway's Brewery Cairns Wharf opened its doors in June 2018.

The first thing that strikes you about the brewpub? Its size… it is genuinely vast. It's one of Queensland’s largest craft breweries north of Brisbane and one of Australia’s biggest brewpubs.

The scale of the expansive venue – of which about 700 metres is dedicated to hospitality areas and 700 to back-of-house – is accentuated by high ceilings and exposed timber beams. It’s capable of seating 600 and there are plenty of options for visitors too, including a large interior space, a sprawling outdoor deck overlooking the water, and a lounge area under the shade of a long verandah for those looking to escape the sun.

The main bar extends almost 20 metres and, combined with a smaller outdoor island bar, it means there’s a total of 50 taps serving 20 different beers with ten of these dedicated to Hemingway's core range and specialty beers. The other 50 percent of the brews on tap come from other Australian or international craft breweries – and this constantly rotating lineup is always impressive.

The Hemingway’s crew also demonstrate their support for other local breweries by regularly presenting their wares. There are ciders and ginger beer on tap as well as a comprehensive range of wines and spirits.

The impressive 35-hectolitre brewery provides a perfect backdrop at one end of the building, with a four-vessel brewhouse and eight six-metre high stainless-steel fermentation and brite tanks. The brewhouse gives the brewing team ten times the capacity of the Port Douglas venue, which is now focused on new product development while the Cairns brewery looks after volume production.

The core range has evolved since the launch of Port Douglas and, at time of writing, comprised six different beers designed to tell a story relating to the history of Far North Queensland. There is The Prospector Pilsner, 7th Heaven Tropical Ale, Doug’s Courage XPA, Tunnel 10 Lager, Pitchfork Betty’s Pale Ale and The Endeavour West Coast IPA.

Every brew in the core range collected a medal at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards, with The Prospector Pilsner taking out the champion trophy in its category. In addition to the core range – all available in cans – visitors to Cairns will find three draught only beers available all year long: Watson’s Session IPA, Hard Yards Dark Lager and Mr Wong Hefeweizen. On top of that, you can look out for seasonals, from hazy IPA to stout, pale ale and kolsch, and they’ve been known to collaborate too, with past releases including a NEIPA created with fellow trophy-winners Dainton.

In late 2018, a canning line was commissioned to allow Hemingway’s to expand their distribution strategy; beers are now available interstate, including venues in Sydney and Melbourne. For visitors to the brewery, there's also a Crowler machine that allows patrons to take home a 945ml can of their favourite beer filled fresh from the tap.

Hemingway’s has duplicated its successful Port Douglas food offering for the Cairns venue with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients in a menu comprising gourmet pizzas, burgers, seafood, tapas and barbecue-style food. There is also a providore showcasing some of the region’s craft produce as well as local and international spirits.

Given its scale, the venue has several options for events, allowing it to cater for corporate groups, private parties and weddings — from small numbers to as many as a thousand guests cocktail style when utilising the whole site.

As for their regular offerings, there is live music from 6pm to 9pm, Thursday to Saturday, and from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on Sundays, as well as a busy events calendar.

Brewery tours run every weekend at a cost of $25pp: attendees experience a short brewing and beer styles education session with a tasting paddle included in the package.

The beer scene in Far North Queensland has come a long, long way in recent years. And the Hemingway's team can take plenty of credit for that – and have big plans to develop the scene further still.

Philip Goslin

Name
Hemingway's Brewery, Cairns Wharf
Address

Shed 2, Cairns Wharf
44 Wharf Street
QLD 4870

Phone
(07) 4099 6663
Open Hours

Sun to Thurs: 11am to 10.30pm
Fri & Sat: 11am to midnight

Tours

Sat & Sun at 3pm
Book here

This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Hemingway's Brewery, Cairns Wharf Regulars

Hemingway's Brewery Hard Yards Dark Lager

The Hard Yards Dark Lager is built upon a pilsner backbone, but it is the malts that do all the talking in this beer. Using a number of malts that you would typically associate with a porter, it is chocolate, coffee and biscuit characters that dominate here. The strong malt profile is backed up with a hint of bitterness from new world hops. It pours almost black thanks to the roasted barley with slight reddish hues. Despite the malt profile this is not a lingering heavy sweet beer but rather a light-bodied… Read more
Style
Dark Lager
ABV
4.7%

Hemingway's Brewery Doug's Courage XPA

Doug’s Courage IPA celebrates the spirited nature and fortitude of the Port Douglas pioneers. Tagged as an XPA, it sits apart from most of its peers on the market these days; while many brewers have decided XPAs should be in Balter's image – very pale, hop forward, and somewhere around 4.5 percent ABV), Hemingway's have gone bigger (a legacy, perhaps, of its original categorisation as an American IPA). For one, it pours a dark copper colour, which translates to a light caramel sweetness on the… Read more
Style
XPA
ABV
5.6%

Hemingway's Brewery Pitchfork Betty's Pale Ale

Pitchfork Betty’s Pale Ale is named after a Port Douglas publican known to wield a pitchfork against rowdy patrons. You won’t find anyone with a pitchfork in hand at Hemingway’s, but you might run into head brewer Anthony Clem who has been doing the heavy lifting in the brewery since mid-2017. Anthony has been tweaking a few recipes to make brews “more true to style” and with this American style pale ale he has dropped the bitterness back a touch so the fruity Australian hop characters… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
5.1%
Bitterness
35 IBU

Hemingway's Brewery Watson's Session IPA

Designed to be an easy-drinking sessionable beer, Watson’s Session IPA (formerly Mrs Watson's Small Ale) is mid-strength (3.5 percent ABV) but certainly doesn’t taste like it. Using pale ale and caramel pilsner malts it is almost heading towards IPA territory from a malt-build perspective. The malts are balanced out with a big hop profile and an in-your-face aroma of citrus and pine. This American style ale is also dry-hopped so there is a bit of astringency to it. It pours a deep orange amber… Read more
Style
Mid-strength IPA
ABV
3.5%
Stockists

Tap only at venue

Hemingway's Brewery The Prospector Pilsner

The Prospector Pilsner is the most popular beer in the Hemingway’s range: a Bohemian style pilsner designed for the Far North Queensland climate. It pours bright with a fluffy white head from which you'll be met with a wave of grassy, floral and herbal hop aromas familiar to anyone who's enjoyed such beers on their European travels (despite not using any European hops). There's plenty of broad, herbaceous bitterness awaiting the drinker on the palate too, wrapped around crisp, cracker like malts… Read more
Style
Bohemian Pilsner
ABV
4.8%
Awards

AIBA Best Pilsner 2019

Hemingway's Brewery The Endeavour IPA

A West Coast style IPA brewed on the East Coast and named after the ship that carried a Northern Hemisphere explorer around the planet, The Endeavour was part of Hemingway's strong showing at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards, collecting a silver not long after being added to the brewery's lineup. Despite being based around just two American hops – Simcoe and Mosaic – it welcomes you with a multifaceted hop aroma (well, one of them is Mosaic, after all), one that travels from sweeter… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
ABV
7.4%
Bitterness
70 IBU

Hemingway's Brewery 7th Heaven Tropical Ale

Were it not for the fact they've already got an XPA in their lineup – Doug's Courage – you could imagine this beer slotting nicely into that slot. But you can't deny the name it has instead – 7th Heaven Tropical Ale – is apposite, inspired by the appeal of the breweries' tropical Far North Queensland home and describing its character too. Very pale and hazy, mango and passionfruit dominate on the nose, while it's light on the palate, leaving just a touch of lingering resinous tropical fruit… Read more
Style
Tropical Ale
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Hemingway's Brewery Tunnel 10 Lager

For the most part, it's been the breweries of South East Queensland that have been redefining how people think of the state's beer scene in recent years. But, at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards, Hemingway's – who operate twin brewery venues in Cairns and Port Douglas – chipped in too, picking up a trophy for their Prospector Pilsner and a gold for this lager. And, if you want to enjoy success in Far North Queensland, knowing your way around a lager is no bad thing. Tunnel 10 uses… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.2%
Bitterness
20 IBU
Awards

AIBA 2019 – Gold

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