I went to Hobart on my birthday this year and stayed for the long weekend. I saw some sights, drank some beer and whisky and ate some food. It’s a rad little town.
MONA is one of the first places I went. It’s an absolutely mind-blowing and truly unique museum experience. I could have stayed there for hours and hours. It has a pretty funky, almost edgy vibe to it.
MONA is also the home of Moorilla wines and Moo Brew. I stopped at the wine bar for lunch and had a fresh hop pilsner with a toasted sandwich. Sat in the sun with a chook wandering around and beautiful scenery in the background, it was a pretty special birthday lunch.
The ferry was super fun too.
The Botanical Gardens in Hobart are small but wonderfully curated. They pack a lot in, including an edible garden, a beautiful Japanese garden and a strong focus on local Tasmania flora. There are some excellent water features too which ties it all together perfectly, particular with the sea in the backdrop reminding you that you are on a unique island which should be preserved.
Beer is always at the heart of my trips whenever I go somewhere new and Hobart Brewing Co. was one of my first stops. It reminds me of Batch Brewing (Sydney) a few years ago. I only had time for a couple of beers but there was a tap list that left me struggling what to decide to have left. I have to admit to a bit of FOMO. Getting there at 5pm on a Friday was actually quite good. It’s a time I’d normally avoid but there was a fun atmosphere.
I had to leave Hobart Brewing Co. to make it to Franklin. I was treating myself to a fancy birthday dinner and, as I didn’t have a reservation, I wanted to get there at the start of the service so I could get a seat. I had the “Feed Me” option with a range of small plates. They’re not always able to do it for one person but they did this time. I had a wonderful kriek style beer. Each course was excellent but the celeriac/sesame starter and the malt cream/artichoke ice-cream dessert were highlights.
Lark Distillery was one of the things I was most excited about. I stopped in to look round a few times and had a night cap. They produce some absolutely sensational whisky and have plenty of other spirits available to drink and by. Unfortunately none of their classic cask was on sale but it was delightful to taste some there.
I wish I’d got back to try a few more whiskies and maybe had a boilermaker or too. On this night I met some engineering students from Queensland and ended up tagging along with them to a live music bar before the day caught up with me and I headed back to the Airbnb for a sleep.
The next day I made the trip out to Cascade Brewery. The tour is alright and the tasting is below average. It’s kind of cool seeing production on that scale. When you walk out on top of their fermenters and they tell you they’re the “baby” ones, it really puts the difference between Big Beer and craft beer into perspective. It’s worth the trip just to see such an iconic building. With a snow-capped Mount Wellington in the background it looks seriously impressive.
More Lark from a second visit to the cellar door…
One of the highlights of the trip was on Sunday when I went out to Hayes to see Two Metre Tall. It’s one of my favourite breweries in Australia and thankfully there were enough people to organise a bus from Hobart (45 min drive). Jane, the co-owner, was incredibly helpful in my planning.
The beer was sensational as always and it was great to try it at the source. Ashley, the brewer, was cooking up some of their farm-beef snags on the barbecue. The farm to play ethos is something that I love and it was so obvious at 2MT. The landscape is unreal too, particularly when you see and hear horses coming down the hill to the farm.
It was the first live music weekend of the season as well so there was tunes, barbecue and beer. It was wonderful.
Another dining highlight was Small Fry in Hobart. It’s a one-man open kitchen operation (with wait staff), where you sit at the bar. It’s an impressive feat of hospitality and a breakfast I thoroughly enjoyed. My favourite dining experiences are when you can have some visibility or contact with the people preparing your food. This was excellent.
After Small Fry I went to Farm Gate Markets and ate some more, bought some coffee beans and wandered the streets. The day before I’d been to Salamanca Markets. I got up early and wandered around while they were setting up. Again I ate way too much but I picked up some jam, marmalade, gin, peanut butter, chocolate and cider. It was a successful day.
Before I had to leave I stopped in at the Bruny Island Cheese/Beer Company shop in Salamanca. I wanted to get out to the island but it’s a bit of a trek. This was the next best thing and I enjoyed a plate of cheese. The C2 raw milk cheese is awesome. It was probably a bit too early for a beer, at least a whole bottle. I did pick up a cork and cage 750ml bottle of their new saison which I shared with my brother a week later.
After the AFL Grand Final (which was kind of dull to be honest) I went out to The Winston because I knew it was a good beer pub where they were brewing their own stuff and because my family dog’s name is Winston.
It’s a great venue and I enjoyed a couple of beers and was getting chatting to one of the guys behind the bar who clearly knew his beers. Unfortunately it started getting busy and two insanely drunk Richmond supporters came in and started being really aggressive and incredibly offensive. The atmosphere changed and I was in arm’s length which, considering they immediately didn’t take a liking to me, made me feel like it wasn’t worth sticking around. It was a shame because I could’ve seen myself sitting there all night. It had a great vibe up until then and the beer was tasting awesome.
I didn’t mean to end on that note because it happened a few days before I left and it really wasn’t that big a deal. I had plenty of fun. I’d love to head back to Hobart again and explore a bit more of Tassie. You definitely need a car to get around which doesn’t help with the beer, cider, wine, whisky and gin on offer. It’s punching above its weight.
Here’s a photo I took on the flight into Hobart. I had a row to myself which was the best birthday present ever. Hobart is cool.