If you like your beer unconventional then you had better get yourself to David Walsh’s Moo Brew Brewery, just 15 minutes from Hobart. Established in 2005, the brewery was inspired by a chance discovery of a particularly delightful bottle Walsh discovered, while travelling in Europe. Unlike most of us, rather than just keep it as a souvenir, David decided to build a brewery and make his own beer to put in that bottle. The result was Moo Brew, named for David’s nickname for his beloved estate – Moo Land.
Moo Brew’s founder David Walsh is a beloved Tasmanian eccentric, whose visions are now an integral part of Hobart’s cultural landscape. Along with running the more than 60 year old Moorilla Estate Winery, he’s also the genius behind the internationally acclaimed Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart. It’s one of the largest privately owned museums in the world and Walsh’s eclectic taste is the backbone of its unique offering. This spills over into the Moo Brew brand too, with each beer product featuring artworks commissioned by Walsh, from Australian artist John Kelly. Known for putting his own spin on famous artworks and widely recognisable symbols, Kelly was inspired by Walsh to create a response to actions at the time from the Australia Council for the Arts’, who were pushing to commercialise art and brand it in ways that detracted from the essence of a piece. Each beer label features one of Kelly’s original works, created with the Australia Council for the Arts’ logo in mind, and with the intent to somehow display an irony back to the organisation, through the branding of a product not traditionally associated with art.
The first Moo Brew beers to be developed were classic German styles of Pilsner, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen and Dark Ale, that adhered to the esteemed German Beer Purity Laws of over 500 years ago. Brewed with no more than 4 ingredients – water, hops, malt and yeast – the Moo Brew range is additive free, preservative free, and unpasteurised. Today the range is brewed in much the same way, though with a few tweaks in the process to ensure the beer has the foundation of the traditional beers, but with a hint of David Walsh about it. Moo Brew’s beers now include the Pilsner (featuring Kelly’s piece ‘Skull’ on the label), the Single Hop (featuring ‘Bigfoot’ by John Kelly), the Dark Ale (featured artwork ‘Bubbles’ by Kelly) and a Hefeweizen (artwork ‘Roo and Sun’ by John Kelly). The flavor profiles range from the clean crisp taste of the Czech style Pilsner, to the unusual rich, maltiness of the Dark Ale. The Single Hop has the distinctive taste that comes from a single Tasmanian hop and pale malt brew, while the Hefeweizen is the classic German flavour – wheaty and bright. The Pale Ale, Mid Strength, Stout and Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout beers round out the Moo Brew range.
All of the beers are multi award winning, taking out gold, silver and bronze prizes too numerous to count in both the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) + The Indies Beer Awards. Moo Brew beers are brewed just across the river from Mona at Bridgewater, but the cellar door is ideally positioned on the grounds of Mona, alongside Moorilla Estate Winery. The stunning location, north of Hobart on the banks of the Derwent River is the perfect place to soak in some culture, amazing food, beer and wine and the spectacular scenery. Cellar door beer tastings are available daily from 10am to 5pm (closed Tuesdays). Alongside Moo Brew Beers, the Mona precinct also offers a museum, cemetery, library, three bars, two restaurants, two cafes and the Moorilla Estate winery for your entertainment and reflection.
For a deeper insight into how Moo Brew beers are made, you can take a tour of the brewery itself at the Bridgewater production site. Tours are run at 12.45 every Friday and bookings are essential at www.moobrew.com.au/tours-and-tastings.
Cellar Door – T: +613 6277 9960
Brewery – T: +613 6263 7773
Images courtesy of Moo Brew