Craft Beer Guide to Launceston and Northern Tasmania

 

Tasmanian craft beer is booming, and Launceston can be a gateway to discovering a number of small, under-the-radar breweries that have popped up in recent years along the north west and the north coast. Read on for everything you need to know about finding the best craft beers, bars, breweries and taprooms in Launceston and around.

Brew Bars in Launceston

Launceston, the Tamar Valley, and the north coast of Tasmania may be better known for wine. But local breweries have been no slouches when it comes to capitalising on the region’s pristine water, fertile soils, and superb cool-climate growing conditions. In fact, commercial beer brewing has been going on here just about as long as anywhere else in Australia, with the iconic James Boag brewery in operation since 1881. These days, however, it’s the many more small, localised craft breweries popping up that are drawing the attention of visiting beer lovers to Launceston. This article will guide you to the best local craft beers and breweries in Launceston, as well as a few places around the north west that are well worth a stop on any northern Tasmanian travel itinerary!

Launceston: Breweries

Du Cane Brewery & Dining Hall 

A brewery created in the image of founder Will Horan (a passionate outdoor enthusiast, former mountain guide, and experienced, knowledgeable brewer, formerly of Morrison Brewery), Du Cane has a clear set of values that it sticks to: tread lightly on the natural world, support your community, and enjoy the beauty and purity of what we can. Those all come together in their core beers – a pils, a pale, a stout and a mid, all inspired by the Du Cane Mountain Range – which celebrate local, sustainably, responsibly sourced Tasmanian ingredients, together with a respect for traditional beer-brewing traditions. One that many faster-paced craft breweries have left behind. 

Du Cane Brewery & Dining Hall

Morrison Brewery 

Somewhat surprisingly, given how popular and distinctive Morrison’s Gaelic-inspired cans are in bottle shops and pubs around Tassie (and even NSW or Victoria), there’s no retail site to visit for this Launceston craft brewery. Morrison have been brewing in Invermay for over a decade, and they’ve garnered plenty of awards and acclaim for their core standards like an Irish Red Ale full of malt, a slightly sweet and hearty Irish Stout, a zingy English Bitter, and an easy-drinking Pale Ale. Although you can’t get it on site, Morrison beer doesn’t have to travel too far to be found at several Launceston bars and pubs, so keep an eye out!

Morrisons craft beer Launceston

Launceston: Craft Beer Bars and Taprooms

Saint John Craft Beer Bar

If there is a spiritual home for Launceston craft beer – and an unofficial meeting place for the elders of Launceston’s craft beer scene – then surely Saint John is that place. A huge supporter of local brewers and a big advocate of alternatives within the brewing industry, Saint John has played a massive part in bringing Tasmanian brewers and drinkers closer over the years, to the point that they have even become a platform for exchanging feedback between the two. This happens through events like tap takeovers from different brewers and breweries, or dedicated theme nights/weeks, where Saint John will hunt out the best versions of (for example) fruity sours, low-alcohol beers, traditional lagers, or gluten-free beers, and present them along with information and events.

St John Craft Beer

Tandy’s Alehouse

Tandy’s Alehouse is another strong supporter of local Launceston and Tasmanian craft beer brewers, featuring many limited releases and seasonal variations from local producers which might otherwise struggle to reach the public. It’s also another Launceston institution, with a strong local clientele. There’s neither fuss nor pomp and circumstance at Tandy’s, but it has an awesome atmosphere. Plus, ask any of the staff questions about beer or recommendations, and you’ll soon realise that they are very knowledgeable and clued up, so don’t be deceived by unassuming appearances here! As well as offering a rotating range of Tasmanian craft beers, Tandy’s also have their own house beers on tap.  

Kingsway Bar

The Kingsway is cool, with funky decor and a regular event schedule showcasing the freshest acts in Tasmanian art, music, poetry and comedy. However, it’s also one of the best places in Launceston for craft beer because of an almost obsessive dedication to sourcing things locally and supporting Tasmanian producers. Although their range of whisky, gin and cocktails may be more flashy, there’s also a seriously good range of Tasmanian craft beers on show at the Kingsway. No surprises when it comes to location, as the Kingsway Bar is located, funnily enough, just off York Street on the Kingsway.

Beyond Launceston: The Best Northern Tasmanian Breweries to visit

Whether you’re planning a trip to the Tamar Valley, organising a full Tasmanian self-drive road trip itinerary, or just looking for a day trip (or longer) from Launceston, these craft breweries are certainly worth considering.

Little Green Men Deloraine

Well known for their creative labelling and packaging – be it artistic can designs or dainty, ‘dumpy stubbies’ with minimalistic markings – Little Green Men is one brewery whose products are hard to box into conventional groups. Every batch is different, not only between styles or releases, but from one batch to another. Hops, ratios and ingredients are rearranged between fermentations, even within the same release. Little Green Men (as they state on their labels) are open to honest feedback, and willing to make tweaks and changes along the way. If you can’t make it out to their brewery on Emu Bay Road, the British Hotel in the heart of Deloraine routinely stocks their latest beers.

Seven Sheds Brewery (Railton)

This is the home and brewery of legendary Australian beer writer Willie Simpson, who has had a massive influence on the Australian craft beer explosion over recent decades, primarily through his successful books (including The Beer Bible and The Australian Beer Companion). The setting is stunning, the depth of knowledge outstanding, and the entire process from start to finish impressive. Needless to say the beers don’t disappoint, either. You can book a brewery tour, head to the Cellar Door on Crockers Street in Railton, or even visit the Seven Sheds Hop Garden, if you’re curious.

Seven Sheds Brewery

Communion Brewing Co. (Burnie)  

A funky, bespoke space just a few streets back from beautiful Burnie Beach, Communion Brewing Co. is well worth a trip up from Launceston for the setting alone. The bar and taproom is open Monday-Thursday from 4pm, and Friday-Sunday from 11am, where you can try their excellent ales (IPA, XPA, session ale, standard pale and ‘Everyday Ale’) alongside their bold, bitter-noted Coffee Porter and a seriously refreshing ‘Paper Maker’ crisp lager. There’s also a great food menu and good play area for kids.

Miner’s Gold + Ocho Beer (Beaconsfield, Tamar Valley)​​

Ocho took an unconventional route to entering the craft-beer scene, starting out as a delivery-only, 8-pack-only (hence the name) project from long-time home brewer and part-time professional brewer Stu Grant in 2016. However, these beers became so well received and sought after that it inspired Grant to pursue his experimental techniques and tastes – he’s a sour-beer enthusiast and utilises spontaneous fermentation, oak-barrel ageing, and home-developed wild yeast strains in his brewing – even further. He has since taken these talents into a more permanent space (having formerly been brewing out of Van Dieman Brewery) as the head brewer at Miner’s Gold, a Beaconsfield institution that also produces some top-quality, more traditional or conventional craft brews.

Van Dieman Brewing (Evandale)

Located among rolling farmlands 20 minutes south of Launceston, Van Dieman go all-in on the wine-world-borrowed notion of terroir. Heavily influenced by the traditions of French and Belgian Farmhouse ales, Van Dieman rely on the purity of their natural surroundings shining through in their beers. There’s no filtration, no preservatives and no pasteurisation in any of their beers. Instead, there’s plenty of character, stemming from a passion for foraging local flora and wild yeasts, utilising farm-grown grains and hops, and adding only local, spring-fed water to the process. The Van Dieman range is delightfully sporadic, spontaneous and malleable, with some random releases coming and going between more consistent core brews. Be sure to taste (or take home) at least one of their unique, herb- or flower-infused farmhouse-style bottles, though.

Launceston is the starting point for many of First Light Travel’s pre-prepared Tasmanian Self Drive Itineraries. 

If you need more advice about planning a trip to Launceston or Tasmania, including where to stay and what else to do beyond trying tasty craft beer, you can contact FLT’s local travel experts to help you put it all together.

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David Mckenzie
By
David Mckenzie
: 29 Apr 2022 (Last updated: 29 Apr 2022)

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