What happens when two fishing mates return to the marina after chasing marlin all day and find there's nowhere to sit and enjoy a good craft beer while telling tales of the one that got away?
They simply decide to fix the problem by building their own brewpub at the marina.
It took co-owners Tony Fyfe and Craig Parsell less than 12 months from that lightbulb moment to open Hemingway’s Brewery at The Reef Marina in Port Douglas in June 2016.
As you might imagine, a brewpub called Hemingway’s has a few good yarns to tell. In fact, every ale has its own tale that describes an element of the region’s colourful past or the trailblazers who were part of it. Pitchfork Betty’s Pale Ale, for example, is inspired by a publican known to wield a pitchfork at rowdy patrons – but don’t worry, you won’t find her behind the bar, or the pitchfork for that matter.
The light and refreshing The Prospector Pilsner is Hemingway’s most popular beer and the core range includes Doug’s Courage IPA, 4 Mile White Lager, the mid-strength Mrs Watson’s Small Ale and Hard Yards Dark Lager.
The setting of this impressive gastro brewpub couldn’t be more idyllic. A large timber boardwalk overlooks superyachts moored in aqua waters with the mountains of the Atherton Tablelands rising in the distance.
It’s exactly what Tony and Craig envisioned. Now, when they return from a fishing trip yearning for that first beer, they are spoiled for choice — there are ten options on tap.
Hemingway’s opens daily from 8am, which is a good thing as the weather in Port Douglas (even at that hour) is, typically, perfect for drinking one of their brews crafted to suit the tropical climate.
While tourists make up a large percentage of the patronage at Hemingway’s – every year over 400,000 of them flock to this part of Far North Queensland (FNQ) – Tony says the brewpub is all about the local community. “We want the Port Douglas community to really own Hemingway’s,” he says.
The brewery team is on a genuine mission to educate the beer drinkers of FNQ with four taps on rotation featuring Australian and international craft beers and guest breweries a regular attraction. And, when you finish your education at the bar, staff will happily fill a two-litre growler or a one-litre can fresh from the tap for you to take home – think of it as a graduation ceremony.
Anthony Clem was appointed head brewer at Hemingway’s in June 2017. A former quality brewer at Lion, Anthony brings 15 years experience to the role and says he is enjoying the challenge of increasing the awareness of craft beer in FNQ by presenting a range of different beer styles and flavours.
With live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as a strong events calendar, Hemingway’s is a fun-filled venue offering plenty of entertainment year-round. Of course beer and entertainment is only part of the package with the venue very focused on its cuisine. The menu features a range of gourmet pizzas, burgers, tapas and barbecue-style fare. Much of the produce is sourced locally and the culinary team has infused Hemingway’s beers in many dishes. The ironbark smoked pork taco cooked in pale ale for 14 hours is a great example.
If you’re planning a party, a dedicated function space above the brewery with 180-degree views caters for small and large groups. And there’s more to come.
Hemingway’s Brewery have since opened a massive brewpub in a 1400 square metre heritage-listed space at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, where the majority of their production now takes place. They've also started canning their beers and looking to get them into venues far beyond their home region, something likely to be helped by their showing at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards.
It all makes for very exciting times on the FNQ craft beer front, and that's not a phrase you'd have expected to hear a few short years ago.