Tasmania has steadily developed a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest produce, from oysters and abalone to dairy, truffles, wine and honey. The small but overachieving island has garnered much attention from gourmands and chefs across the globe but now, with more breweries per capita than any other Australian state, Tasmania’s beer scene is proving capable of punching well above its weight too.
The love for good, Australian-made beer – and a long history of producing it – runs very deep for the island state. Across its peaks and troughs, breweries dot the landscape, while the long-established hop growing industry now has a global reputation on the back of a series of recent hits, most notably Galaxy.
The state's capital, Hobart, is a particularly vibrant epicentre for craft beer, with a growing number of breweries establishing themselves over the past decade. It's also a place filled with excellent venues serving those beers, which can be found in a past article here (look out for an updated version coming soon).
It's almost two centuries since Cascade Brewery produced its first beers; while it wasn't Tasmania's first brewery, it now stands tall – literally and figuratively – as Australia's longest-running brewery, surviving many ownership changes over the generations, and the closure of its onsite maltings, to remain part of the CUB/Asahi ecosystem.
It's also arguably the most picturesque of all Australian breweries, the old building set against the backdrop of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (see above). And, while its less-than-crafty nature means it doesn't warrant an entry below, it's well worth a visit to soak up a slice of Australian brewing heritage.
If you're more interested in the people and places writing modern Tasmanian beer history, then there's plenty of stories to be unearthed in and around Hobart's CBD. Read on for an in-depth guide to drinking your way through the city's extensive craft beer offering, starting in the famed harbour area and finishing to the north.
It's a Crafty Crawl that follows the course of the River Derwent, totalling just over 20 minutes of travel by car, or a leisurely 2.5 hours by foot. And, with so many breweries to visit, it's also one best enjoyed over more than one day.
Stop One: Hobart Brewing Co
As the city’s eponymous brewery and one that sits by its scenic waterfront, Hobart Brewing Co feels like a reasonable place to start a crawl through the city’s breweries. Found in the historical, industrial Macquarie Point, the expansive brewery and taproom creates a home inside an old warehouse nicknamed the Red Shed. The rustic setting feels like a farmhouse that's been transported into the city with weathered tin, chalk boards and recycled materials making up the interior aesthetic, where there's an exposed brew kit complete with raw ingredients on full display.
The 18 taps feature a jumble of core range beers and limited, seasonal releases plus a few guest taps. Sours, stouts, and hop-driven beers sit alongside the brewery’s much-loved Harbour Master amber ale, cream ale and Little Pine IPA core beers.
No matter your beer of choice, the venue's sprawling, shade sail-laden exterior is the perfect setting in which to enjoy a beer: warm and breezy in summer or warmed by roaring fire pits in winter. Keep an eye on socials for regular events and live music.
Settle in at the Red Shed by heading to 16 Evans Street, Hobart.
Stop Two: Manky Sally’s
While you're still close to the waterfront, you don't want to miss our next destination. Manky Sally’s is Tassie icon Moo Brew’s home away from home, acting as a hub in the heart of town. You'll find Moo Brew classics tapped alongside small-batch, creative seasonal offerings brewed on site.
Alongside the quality beer, the Manky’s team offers up a little ‘tude in the form of a "luxe dive bar" aesthetic which includes a back wall featuring almost 3,000 illuminated Moo Brew bottles. There’s a focus on reclaimed and repurposed materials, like soft velour furnishings, veneer panelling, and wall-to-wall vintage carpet that’s also recreated on the bar mats. Add an abundance of mirrors, retro tiles, polished timber, and plumbing fittings that have been turned into light fixtures and it’s quite the scene.
A snack could be on the cards too, with small plates with global influence and smooth, fuss-free service completing the picture. But it’s the beers that bring you in, and Moo Brew staples like Tassie Ale and Dark Ale are permanent fixtures, while the rotating Sally’s brews give the brew team a chance to impress in this one-of-a-kind brewpub.
Get luxe by diving into 25 Salamanca Place, Battery Point.
Stop Three: Fox Friday
The northern suburbs of Hobart are traditionally the tough end of town, but since museum and art gallery MONA crash-landed there, things have been taking off. Since 2016, Fox Friday have been brewing in Moonah (a suburb with a confusingly similar name to the nearby major destination).
But, while the beer is made in in the north, to experience Fox Friday in all its liquid glory you need to head to their taproom in Hobart's CBD. Here, they show off their wares across 12 taps that cover seasonals, collabs and the brewery's typically US-leaning, hop-driven beers. The venue itself has a chic warehouse aesthetic with tall ceilings, polished concrete floors, and large street-facing windows through which you can watch the world go by.
It's worth heading to Fox Friday hungry, as complementing the beers is a solid Southern American-inspired menu. A Nashville hot fried chicken burger or cheesesteak sandwich will get the tastebuds jumping, while wings, hot dogs and classic US sides of slaw, mac ‘n’ cheese and cornbread are all great accompaniments to a Fox Friday tasting paddle.
Go with enough time to play a few rounds of Shufl and, when you’ve done that dance, takeaway tins are ready when you are.
Live everyday like it's Friday by heading to 105 Murray Street, Hobart.
Stop Four: Shambles Brewery
Our next stop takes us north and, if you’re new to the city, the walk is worth the effort, with Australia’s second oldest capital city offering up intriguing colonial-era architecture for your viewing pleasure along the way. Better yet, once you're at Shambles, the next few stops are in close proximity.
Opening in 2016, Shambles is situated within an old butcher's shop. While the main bar and dining area has been thoughtfully reimagined with log-lined walls, comforting fireplaces and communal dining tables, the brewery and beer hall are both situated in a space still retaining much of its former life in the way of exposed concrete floors and walls, industrial meat rails and knick-knacks throughout. The space is impressively dynamic with natural lighting, table tennis, long tables and a backdrop of glimmering, stainless brewing tanks.
In other words, Shambles Brewery isn't in any way the mess the brewery's name suggests; instead, it's polished in its presentation with more than ten taps of fresh beer and a lengthy, refined pub-leaning menu. For those looking to dine, Shambles will likely have your requirements covered and, if you can time your visit for a Thursday, trivia night is a hit among locals and a great way to test your knowledge over a few beers.
Shuffle into Shambles by finding 222 Elizabeth Sreet, Hobart.
Stop Five: Captain Bligh's
You'll need to do a spot of forward planning to manage a stop at Captain Bligh's if you’re visiting from out of town as they only swing the doors open on the third Friday of each month. If you do time things right, however, you'll find the brewery and distillery occupying a maze of rooms inside the historic Tasmanian Brewery Building: a striking heritage structure just around the corner from Shambles. The aged, brick building began life as Punshon's Brewery in the 1830s before becoming the James Tasmanian Pale Ale Brewery, then The Adams Brewery and, finally, the Co-Operative Brewery.
Founder Steve Brooks used to work at Bendigo's Rifle Brigade Brewery in the 1980s and returned to his passion for beer here. The beers celebrate both history and Tasmania, and are available – along with Captain Bligh’s spirits – throughout Hobart at an array of venues and at the famed Salamanca markets. The best way to enjoy them, however, is within earshot of Steve, who’s quite the raconteur.
Board the good ship Bligh's at 64 Warwick Street, Hobart.
Stop Six: T-Bone Brewing
Continuing along the good beer thoroughfare that is Elizabeth Street, you’ll soon find yourself at T-Bone Brewing. Tom and Carla Bignell opened the doors to T-Bone in 2016, and in 2022 opened a second production facility in Huntingfield that welcomes guests Friday through Sunday with 20 taps of T-bone beers to choose from. The North Hobart location is where we’ll be heading on our Crawl, and it’s certainly no slouch with 16 taps of T-bone core and limited beers plus other local Tassie goods in the form of cider and spirits.
T-Bone’s beers range from the accessible year-rounders, including a 3.5 percent ABV session ale that doesn’t skimp on flavour and their cult fave Choc-Milk Stout, to limited releases that often involve locally-grown fruits and hops, barrels and specialty malts.
The brewery also manages to fit regular live music and arcade machines into this corner of Elizabeth Street and, for those looking to eat, neighbouring trattoria Amici Italian will deliver pizzas and pasta right to your table.
Keeping going north until you reach 308 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart.
Stop Seven: Deep South
Just a few minutes North of T-Bone lies Deep South Brewing Co. They're one of the more recent additions to Hobart's beer scene but you wouldn't know it given how good their beers are and just how polished you'll find the hospitality offering awaiting you in bustling Argyle Street. The beers are the handiwork of longtime Moo head brewer and one of the beer industry's loveliest fellows, Dave Macgill, whose approach to brewing helping cement the multi-levelled venue as an enticing destination for locals and visitors alike.
The spacious venue keeps things simple with its layout; concrete floors, long bars, big tables and tall ceilings giving the impression there’s plenty of space to kick back and enjoy your beer. Sitting upstairs offers a quieter setting as festoon lighting glows on the tops of the fermentation tanks below.
Food is shareable and generous in its portions, perfect for settling in with a few beers. Think pizza, pasta, chippies and fresh Tassie oysters. As for taps, Deep South have five core beers including a Simcoe and Mosaic-loaded IPA, a session ale, an XPA and a draught; seasonal and experimental beers rotate through whatever Dave sets his mind to.
The team at Deep South also rotate through weekly food specials, and host trivia nights and live music on weekends to keep the vibes in check.
Discover Deep South at 220 Argyle Street, North Hobart.
Stop Eight: Overland Brewers and Distillers
There’s lots to love about Overland Brewery and Distillery. There’s their dog friendliness, extensive ranging of house made spirits, and the close proximity to Hobart’s CBD. The big draw for beer drinkers, however, is the brewery’s bar setup at which fresh beer is poured directly from bright tanks.
The team at Overland enjoy whisky and beer in equal measure, so you’ll find they’ve cleverly organised their offering as a "whisky bar and tap room". The crew produce their own single malt and rye whiskies on site, while also offering a lengthy list of noteworthy bottles from across the globe, all available in tasting flights. As for beer, Overland’s brewers produce six core beers that include a punchy West Coast IPA, a rice lager, and a hazy pale ale featuring Aussie-grown Melba and Eclipse hops.
A food truck rounds out the offering: mostly burgers and a few sides but notably plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians too. As there’s whisky and beer made on-site, don’t leave without trying one of their popular boilermakers, such as a farmhouse ale with triple-distilled single malt, or an Ultra rice lager and a rye single malt.
Take up a spot at the bar at 284 Argyle Street, North Hobart.
Stop Nine: The Albert Brewery
Not far from North Hobart is Moonah, a town that skirts the city and boasts recent growth and diversification. In one of the bustling industrial zones of Moonah, you’ll find The Albert. Unassuming at first glance, within its tall, blue-painted concrete walls is a brewery dedicated to the long, precise process of brewing lagers.
As contrary to craft beer as it might have sounded not too long ago, not a single IPA or fruited sour can be found at The Albert; however, the lineup of rotating lagers is sure to impress, and certainly doesn't lack in variety. Pilsner, mid-strength, dark, amber, Czech and plenty more appear, depending on the season.
While the fit-out and stylings of The Albert are minimalist – perhaps an ode to the purity of crafting good lager – the overall mood is rather more than that: the service is attentive, music swoons through quality hi-fi gear, and there’s a food menu celebrating refined Euro cuisine and a few much-loved American BBQ snacks. Think currywurst and frites, Hungarian goulash, buffalo chicken, or kransky and sauerkraut, to name just a few dishes coming from the onsite kitchen.
Rounding out The Albert experience is the brewery itself, on full display behind squeaky-clean, floor-to-wall glass panels. Look through for a 4K-like quality big screen view to find what has to be one of Australia's most unusual breweries thanks to the way it resembles something Homer Simpson might have once worked on. It's a great spot from which to enjoy a crystal clear beer from one of Australia's most idiosyncratic breweries.
Find the finest lager at 73-75 Albert Road, Moonah.
Stop Ten: Spotty Dog
Spotty Dog Brewers began their journey brewing at other breweries around the city. In late 2022, however, they brewed the first beers at their own facility in Derwent Park; then, in 2023, the doors swung open to their taphouse complete with full tap banks, waterfront views, and a fried chicken-focused kitchen, aptly named Chicken Shop.
Having traversed Hobart, our stop at Spotty Dog Brewers completes the journey, taking us to the Prince of Wales Marina for great beer and equally great views. While you take in the sights, sounds, aromas and the breeze of yacht-flanked drinking and dining, make sure to explore the range of beers across their taps, all coming from the venue's 2,000 litre brewery. The ranging features American-influenced, hop-forward styles – beers Spotty Dog have been perfecting since their transient days – as well as beers with a Tasmanian disposition, utilising barrels from the local wine and spirits industry and hops from HPA.
It's worth committing some space in your stomach for your visit to Spotty Dog, too, as their kitchen team boasts of serving "Tassies best damn fried chicken". You can judge for yourself with the buttermilk-brined, breaded and fried chicken impressing alongside house-made hot sauce and sides like mac 'n' cheese, wings, coleslaw and buffalo cauliflower.
Soak in the views and beer at 11 Bender Drive, Derwent Park.
If you're still after even more, there's a few other great stops not too far from the city, along with the many crafty venues and bottleshops.
- Last Rites Brewing: Located in Cambridge, a 15-minute drive from Hobart and most of the breweries on our Crawl, a visit to Last Rites will take a little bit of planning given they’re only open on Fridays, and occasionally on public holidays. But those who fail to plan, plan to fail, and if you're spending time in Hobart and were to miss out on visiting Last Rites then that would indeed be a fail. Starting out as friends homebrewing who turned their passion into production, Last Rites serve an array of small-batch ales and lagers. The brewery may be a production-based operation but that doesn’t make it any less of a fun place to drink. Each week, different food trucks park by the front door as eager beer fans park themselves by the stainless steel to try the latest.
- MONA: Before Manky Sally’s popped up in Salamanca, MONA’s bar was the unofficial home of the iconic Tassie brewery. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of thirsty museum visitors looking for a drink and the Moo Brew bars at MONA are on hand to help. There are multiple bars throughout the museum site plus a lucky dip beer-vending machine. Also, you get to enjoy them in one of the world's most impressive and outrageous art-filled spaces.
- Two Metre Tall: Sure, it's a bit of a drive out of Hobart but Two Metre Tall is a brewery (and cidery and meadery) unlike any other in Australia. The tiny farmhouse operation has fans across Australia and further afield, mesmerised by their complex and wild beers. There's no better way to enjoy them than in the company of the couple behind each drop, Ashley and Jane Huntington. As you head out there, it's also worth making time to call into Welcome Swallow on the way.