You can take one of the Boag brewery tours if that's your kind of thing, but I was more interested in trying their famous XXX Ale, largely because you can't buy it outside of Tasmania and because it has been consistently made in Launceston for more than 130 years.Considering it hails from a mainstream, mass market brewer, it's pretty bloody good, and just the thing for when you're sick of over-hopped, over-fussy craft ales.He specialises in traditional English and Irish malt styles, including a stout, bitter, and red ale.They are currently available throughout Tasmania and in a few Melbourne outlets. "We want to change people's perception that traditional is boring," says Morrison.St John is one of those institutions you wish you had in your own home town.Open for the past two years, it has 14 taps of brewed bliss, including a wide selection of Tasmanian, Australian and International brews, plus more than 170 bottled beers from around the planet."Three years ago there would have been about four microbreweries in the state, now we there are more than twenty-seven," he says.
This year all of the local brewers will be encouraged to create a one-off fresh hop harvest beer to bring along.When you tell your mates you're heading down to Tassie to follow a beer trail, the first thing they call you is a lucky bastard.Then there comes the inevitable offer to carry your bags.The small beer museum in the Boag's visitor's centre is also worth a quick look, especially if you have an unhealthy interest in vintage bottle tops.The breweries are few and far between as the trail winds its way through hops and barley country towards Hobart. I'd heard that it had some lovely estate ales worth checking out.