Castlemaine Brewery, Brisbane
This iconic old building and brew date back to 1889 - and XXXX is undoubtedly Queenslander's favourite beer - as the logo goes "good as gold" - despite now being owned by Kiwi giant Lion-Nathan.
As the story goes, two Irishmen - Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald - drank their way from Castlemain, Victoria to Brisbane, looking for a finer climate and life. They met up with two locals, Donnelly and Qunlan in Brisbane, who shared their passion for an ale. A partnership was born. Subsequently, Donnelly sold his shar to Quinlan, a superior brewer - who then died. His wife took over his share of the business with a new partner, Grey - which was quite a feat for her, as women's right to vote was only granted in 1896! With the Irishmen, this partnership produced the first "lager" in 1897 - and a legend was officially born. It was called XXX at that time, and the 4th X was added in 1916 when the distillery methods were improved!
The brewery has had some rough times, with Alan Bond (failed Australian businessman) taking over for a time, before the current Kiwi acquisition. There was also a time of Japanese takeover, which brought out every war digger in the area to dispute this change of hands!
No matter who owns it - The XXXX symbol and the little man holding up a beer, remain rightfully Queensland in ownership!
There are tours through the brewery, and, funnily enough, I recall being taken on a tour as a school student from the bush, coming to the "big smoke" for a school trip!
This is a great day out, very interesting.
Monday to Friday there are 6 tours daily departing hourly from 11am
Sat tours are 10:30 11 and midday
Prices are :-
Adult $20 (beer included)
$12 (no beer)
Student/Concession $18 (beer included)
NB - While some parking in the area is available, there is not a lot so make use of the public transport system.
Children under 18 $12
I wasn't originally planning on doing the beer tour around the Castlemain Brewery in Brisbane, but when a few friends said they were going I agreed to join them. I thought it was a really good tour and well worth the $18 entrance fee. The tour was informative and funny, and they were kinda able to laugh at themselves, which always wins points with me! And, as an added bonus you get to test 4 beers at the end of the tour. The tours run Monday- Friday on the hour from 10am-4pm, and advance booking is recommended. No cameras are allowed, and for health & safety reasons all visitors must wear fully enclosed shoes.
A visit to theCastlemaine XXXX Brewery is well worth especially if you're thirsty...
The genuine XXXX Tripack story:
As you know, I like to taste new flavor during my travels. I met XXXX, the local blond during a brewery visit organized by my language school. I immediatly appreciate its sweet taste not too bitter by the way. This local lager represents well the Sunshine state (Queensland): what a resfreshing experience. I didn't realise of much a beer could be a symbol for a state... when I was visiting Melbourne and order in a traditionnal bar a XXXX, I was almost eXXXXpled from the Victoria state ;-) Sorry VB (Victoria Beer), I didn't met you before this clash but I immediatly adopted it as a Swiss I must be neutral... I also forget about it during watching a famous State of Origin game in a pub in Sydney I quickly reached the eXXXXit...
Unfortunately I miss the genuine XXXX. Even if I could find the XXXX in Europe but brew under licence in Italy, of course the water use for the production could not have the same taste as the spring used in Brisbane. I already complain to the Castlemaine HQ but they refuse to deliver me a visa for XXXX reason ;-)
And a friend used to said to me DownUnder, your are my best friend after 22PM. Try to drink it with moderation of course...