Did some travelling on Australia's Gold Coast, from Brisbane down to Byron Bay.
My first encounter with something tangentially beery was at the Brisbane Museum: the largest museum-displayed crystal of gypsum in Australia (several hundred kilograms). Brewers of Burton-style ales should appreciate such a gem.
What else did Brisbane hold? Not much, apart from the Alibi Room! No, no, not that Alibi Room. This was a local pub in New Farm with cheap eats and a pretty standard line of beers (ending with the Australian equivalent of Granville Island beers). But Mrs. Hoplog and I had to try it out anyway.
|Alibi Room down under|
The big macro brewer in the area is XXXX Gold, or "Queensland for Beer" as the slogan goes. They offered "tours", but it appeared these were more of the Guinness-theme-park variety and cost more than $20 per person, so we gave it a miss.
We popped in to Byron Bay - the legendary hippie surfing destination - just long enough to see that it's now full of tourists and beach poseurs and not a lot else. But on the way out of town we saw road signs reading "brewery." You don't have to tell us twice.
Well this seemed promising, and it's only about 1 km from downtown. Byron Bay Brewing used to sell generic light lagers manufactured for them by other breweries. But several years ago it was purchased and turned into a proper craft brewery catering to its own huge premises as well as some other local establishments.
Would you look at that, there's an actual working brewery in there! They even offer tours, and the brewers are busy brewing something in full view of the patrons.
And surfboard-shaped tasters are available - very appropriate.
Happily, the beers were great. Not a dud among them. We were very happy travellers - this was a far better option than trying to look cool on the overcrowded beach. Not to be missed in Byron Bay!
Their brewery capacity was quite large, but apparently they are able to sell most of the beer at the brewpub itself. Impressive.
You even get a friendly "water dragon" to go with your beer.