Tasmania’s class brewing act

The late Max Lake wrote that taste begins with sight – and when you see the Moo Brew packaging, designed by John Kelly, you anticipate great beer. The expectation heightens when you visit the magnificent glass and steel Moorilla Estate building, fifteen minutes drive up the Derwent from Hobart.

In the ceiling above, as you ascend stairs to the restaurant and wine and beer tasting area, stretches the imposing, six-metre, John Olsen painting, The Source; while underfoot stands the beautifully preserved mummy case of Heryshefembat, circa 730–528BC.

These art works are precursors to the central attraction of the Moorilla complex – David Walsh’s museum of modern and ancient art, scheduled for opening in 2011.

In the two-story, elliptical glass and steel brewery, tacked on to the restaurant end of the building, Owen Johnston makes the Moo Brew beers.

The packaged versions have been consistently outstanding since their Canberra release in 2006. But if you’re in Hobart, you can savour absolutely fresh draft versions at a number of outlets, including the New Sydney Hotel and, of course, at Moorilla’s cellar door and restaurant.

The beers are complex but beautifully balanced and very, very drinkable.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009