For a number of years, the number of breweries and brewing companies in Tasmania remained pretty constant. Then, from 2014/15 on, things started going a little bananas. Indeed, through late 2015 and early 2016, in Hobart and surrounds alone, it seemed like we were hearing about a new brewery opening every week.
Among those to open its doors for the first time in 2016 was the Hobart Brewing Company. However, while March was the first time people ventured through the doors of its Red Shed to sample beers onsite, its beers had been pouring around the city – and occasionally further afield – for 18 months beforehand. Indeed, the very first pours of its debut drop, the Harbour Master Tasmanian Ale, took place in rather colourful circumstances, as brewery founder Brendan Parnell and his brewer Scott Overdorf took to the water of Hobart's harbour with the first barrels to highlight that they planned to celebrate the city's maritime past with their venture.
It's a venture that's been brought to reality by beer obsessed lawyer Brendan, who had been turned onto great beer by a trip to Belgium in the early 2000s, and American expat brewer Scott. The latter originally plied his brewing trade in Colorado before moving to Tasmania and taking up a role at Moo Brew, where the initial batches of Hobart Brewing Co beers were brewed.
All the while, as well as celebrating Tasmanian heritage and ingredients, the intention was to give the brewery a home by the water, and that they've done by turning the Red Shed, a charmingly rustic (and rusting) warehouse on a stretch of industrial land across the harbour from the bustle of Salamanca Place, into a welcoming venue. Their team painstakingly cleaned up the space and installed a brewery and Tap Room, all while making its well worn facade, creaking timbers and crooked corners very much part of its personality.
The space is served by food trucks and, from outside, offers guests views rather different to most venues around the harbour: instead of directing your gaze across the water, it makes a play of Mt Wellington across the city's rooftops.
As for the beers, Scott added a porter with far more going on than it had any right to at its relatively low ABV before the brewery opened and has been adding plenty more to pour through its taps since, from barrel aged beers to collaborations. A number of beers have been released in cans since early 2018 too.
The venue hosts regular events and gigs, notably its SHED YOUR SKIN Dark Mofo fringe festival, all of which is helping make Hobart Brewing Company a great addition to the Hobart waterfront and the thriving Tasmanian beer scene.