In the minds of many children-at-heart, the idea of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is one of which dreams are made. And in the same way that Cadbury’s have their iconic purple colour, The Albert Brewery in Hobart has adopted a particular shade of blue, an approach that’s helped their brand fast become instantly recognisable.
In the case of Willy Wonka, and indeed Cadbury’s, the factory was a wonder of ingenuity and creativity of chocolate. At The Albert? Well, here the ingenuity and creativity is dedicated to brewing nothing but lagers.
Situated in the emergent, multicultural and increasingly “inner” northern Hobart suburb of Moonah, The Albert’s external beer garden in the car park of an otherwise bland row of brick buildings instantly grabs your eye.
Make your way inside and the venue might not be what you’ve come to expect of an on-site taproom: you're met by a low ceiling and polished surfaces with “The Albert” shining boldly in lights from behind a bar lined with blue decals showcasing their latest lineup of lagers.
It’s designed to be accessible for all types of crowds, with a regular after-work tradie crew knocking back frothies on weekdays, and families flocking in on weekends. Venue manager Dech will be found running the bar most days, chatting with regulars while making newcomers feel welcome in an effortless fashion. And if you're after a feed, later in the afternoon there's a good chance you'll find one of many rotating food truck options set up near the entrance.
The venue also has an exceptionally well-curated music list that is somehow timeless, nostalgic and modern all at once. It’s played through an unusually high-quality sound system – you know when music feels “loud” but you can still hear your neighbour talk without straining? This is that.
Indeed quality is a running theme throughout The Albert Brewery. In a craft beer market largely dominated by ales, The Albert’s mission is to “make lager the hero again.” Working on a marvellous-looking, 50-year-old brewhouse that was once the pilot kit at one of the world's foremost lager breweries, head brewer JJ King – formerly of serial trophy-winners 4 Pines and Green Beacon – is focused on process without shortcuts to ensure their range of beers is as refined as possible.
While some bemoan the patience required to lager correctly, the team at The Albert pride themselves on taking time, likening their product to an artisan sourdough bread versus a mass-produced sandwich loaf. This is good news for those looking for a craft brewery at which their macro-loving mates and relos will find comfort – rarely will a slice of good sourdough ruffle the noses of a white-toast-for-breakfast eater – while there’s room aplenty for those eager to enjoy the subtle complexities this masterful crafting process creates.
If you're reading this and thinking: “Haven’t I seen blue cans of lager around Tassie before?”, don't worry as your mind isn't playing tricks. The Albert Brewery evolved from Boekamp Bier.
The mission and ethos have passed from one incarnation to the next, and the look and feel have matured through this evolution too, with a small, passionate team at the helm to ensure they’re moving in the direction that had so many beer lovers excited with Boekamp's beers first appeared.
With a core lineup of four distinctly different lagers augmented by a rotating selection of limited releases (yes, all lagers!) The Albert Brewery crew is striving to reimagine what lager means in the Australian beer community through a sharp focus on quality, and with an audience beyond the beer cognoscenti in mind.
Talk of a lager renaissance had been building within the country’s craft brewing industry for years; The Albert Brewery is here to ensure it happens.