Annually a select group from our team make a pilgrimage South for the highly anticipated Tasmanian hop harvest. It’s a prized event paying tribute to the incredible ‘Humulus lupulus’…particularly Galaxy and its integral part in our brewing process.
Read more about Viren, one of our local Road Crew’s experience on his Tour of the Galaxy…
Day One – Our first taste of Tassie…
Flying out early from Coolangatta we arrived in Hobart just before midday. Brad collected and delivered us straight to Moo Brew, where Head-Brewer Dave McGill greeted us with a cold can of their latest creation and showed us around while detailing the artful Moo Brew story. Our crew was lucky enough to try a range of their brews, and special mention must go to their barrel-aged stout, which was…absolutely gorgeous!
Following Moo Brew we headed to MONA (Museum Of Old and New Art). A tour of MONA is, for lack of a better word, an ‘experience’ – and one that you are unlikely to forget.
Our next stop was the New Sydney Hotel, a Hobart institution. We enjoyed Pacific Ales and were joined by the guys from Willie Smith Cider for an epic seafood feast. To top off the first day we stopped in at Nant, a local distillery bar to enjoy a nightcap.
Day Two – Appreciation for the Craft…Whisky & Cider
Our second morning was spent at Lark Distillery, meeting early we were greeted by Head Distiller Chris Thompson with a cheeky “breakfast whisky”. Chris shared his knowledge, enthusiasm, and creations. He kindly gave us a sample at each stage of the distilling process including the: fermenting wash (mash), raw spirit, young, old and even the musically influenced barrels.
Our next visit took us up over the mountains and into the picturesque Huon Valley, a.k.a ‘The Apple Isle’, we caught up with fourth generation apple grower and partner in Willie Smith’s Cider Co, Andrew Smith. Enjoying an apple fresh from the orchard, Andrew shared the Cidery’s history, his story and visions for the future. We then explored the ‘Apple Store’ where by use of near freezing temperatures and CO2 to prevent oxidisation, they keep their apples super fresh. The aroma from the ‘Apple Store’ was unbelievably fresh…sweet and totally unforgettable. We finished our time at the cidery with a quick tour and a fresh lunch accompanied by Willie Smith’s finest in their epic cellar door, ‘The Apple Shed’.
Upon returning to Hobart we caught up with Pete Brown, a UK craft beer hero, accomplished writer and all round legend, who would be joining us for the remainder of our Tassie trip. In preparation for the next day’s tour at Hop Products Australia, we enjoyed a few hoppy Pacific Ale’s, before heading to the Smolt, an awesome dining experience where impressive is an understatement.
Day Three – The holy shrine of hops, Hop Products Australia (HPA)
Our crew was filled with stoke as we cruised along the Derwent River towards Bushy Park (the hop gardens of Hop Products Australia). As the rain subsided we arrived at HPA, and had the pleasure of listening to Tim Lord as he explained the hop growing history of Tassie and his thoughts on the industry’s future. Driving our beer truck (Clyde) into the towering bines we dissected hop cones and learnt about these wonderful Lupulin producers, witnessing the entire process from harvesting, cone stripping, cleaning, drying and packing.
As Hop Products Australia is an integral part of Stone & Wood’s story and future, it was amazing to better understand these incredible, unique ingredients and their vital importance to the taste of our beers.
Day Four – Festival of the Stone Tour Tasmania…
Day Four of the Tour of the Galaxy coincided with the Fourth Stop of our Festival of the Stone Tour, which meant we had an arvo Clean Up and After Party ahead!
We joined forces with the salty legends from the Clean Coast Collective, where we spent time appreciating and cleaning the dunes of the beautiful Cornelian Bay. Working together, the crew managed to collect several kilos of Marine debris, it was a terrific effort and by 5PM when the After Party kicked off we were ready for a cold frothy or two and some live entertainment…
The Festival of the Stone Tour Clean Up and After Party was an exclamation mark on a brilliant weekend, one filled with an appreciation for the craft, quality ingredients, good food and great company!
If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying a beer made with Galaxy Hops, our Pacific Ale is available to purchase online.