and that they will therefore be spending $200,000 for “a Destination Manawatu campaign to reverse ‘Palmy’s’ reputation as the country’s most boring destination.” 

Unfortunately, that assessment now appears to be official after the Manawatu Standard editor complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority after Close Up called Palmerston North the country’s “Worst Town?”  His complaint was not upheld. [1] In mitigation, the good burghers of ‘Knowledge City’ have argued that both Hamilton (‘City of the Future’) and Gore (‘Gateway to Matauru’) [2] have the same reputation though both those settlements strenuously deny they are even nearly as boring  

Tasmania (‘the island of inspiration’) split away from the Australian mainland around 10,000 years ago and for virtually all of that time they have been mocked by all the other states and territories.  In many ways, they have been treated as the Palmerston North of Australia with many unkind barbs about their alleged deficiencies in culture, appearance and intelligence bandied around. [3]

In the last decade or so, Tasmania has increasingly turned that image around by assiduously courting travel writers and tourism operators on both sides of the Tasman.  The current edition of the in-flight Air New Zealand magazine has a feature article extolling the virtues of Tasmania (‘A World Apart, Not A World Away’).  Much of the new positive focus is on the natural beauty of the island, the fresh cuisine, wine, arts and even beer.  However, Wikipedia does note that Tasmania still only has “a relatively small but growing literary culture.”

One growing attraction which combines both art and beer is the Moo Brew brewery. This is located just north of Hobart on the Morilla winery which was established in 1958 by Claudio Alcorso, a former Italian textile merchant.  His vision was for Moorilla to become a “place where new world aesthetics were imbued with old world values.”

In the 1990s, Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh and his partners acquired Morilla and added accommodation, the brewery, a function centre, eateries and the world famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).  Three of the Moo Brew beers have reached the Malthouse and are available exclusively there for a limited time.  The brewery slogan is “not suitable for bogans” which is quite appropriate given the genteel Malthouse atmosphere also seems to naturally deter them.

Moo Brew Pale Ale (4.9%) – Broadly in an American Pale Ale style, this has a mix of pungent floral notes, citrus zest and pleasant late bitterness.  Malthouse barman, keg wizard and beer blogger Phil Cook tweeted “Ah, @MOO_BREW Pale Ale, you’re tasting fresh and mellow and charming.  Welcome!”  Brewers will never die wondering what Mr Cook thinks of their offerings so this is praise from Caesar indeed. [4]

Moo Brew Dark Ale (5%) – Described by some as a “well bound whole”, this moderately hopped American Brown Ale has plenty of caramel, roast coffee and dark chocolate notes before a gentle piney hop finish.  Several beer aficionados argue the exquisite balance means it may be closer to an English Brown Ale but they generally mean that as a compliment.

Moo Brew Pilsner (5%) – Based on the traditional German style, Moo Brew have resisted the urge to impart a New World spin and opted to use only German Spalt hops in the brew.  The result is a pale golden lager with a touch of grass and fruit in the glass before solid bitterness.  It was not served on tap outside of Tasmania until earlier this year and these are the first and so far only kegs to reach New Zealand.

One of the (many) benefits of social media for craft brewers is that they can interact directly with customers and showcase their personalities.  I was taken by this very Australian exchange on their Facebook page.  A fan noted “Moo Brew and traditional stubby coolers don’t mix.  Do you Moo’ers have any plans or thoughts for a unique cooler?”  They replied “in a word…NO.  We are pretty happy to leave stubby holders to the big boys.”

The big beer event this week is the Fourth Annual West Coast IPA Challenge Grand Prix which takes place at Malthouse from 4pm on Thursday 14 July 2011.  Many of the brewers will be in attendance at this free event.  My spies have alerted me to some special DFTs [5] being prepared in the kitchen.

The entrants are The Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse, Yakima Warrior (backed up by Motueka Monster), Superconductor Double IPA, Hallertau Stuntman, Blitz Greig, mike’s IIPA, Hop Zombie and McMoa.

Tomorrow, we drink hops.  Lots of hops.

[1] Apparently he was complaining about the use of the descriptor “worst”.  Most other people would have objected to the question mark as it implied there was some level of doubt.
[2] Thoroughly sick of the “Gay Old Gore” jokes inspired by a television travel show over ten years ago, the local citizens picked this slogan ahead of the other finalists: ‘a service town for the surrounding farm communities’ (suggested by Wikipedia) and ‘birthplace of Jenny Shipley’ (nominated by a Mr Burton Shipley of Auckland).
[3] For example, asked to select a man to field at Short Backward Square, the Twelfth Man comedy cricket commentators nominated “David Boon, the five foot two Tasmanian with the flared pants.”
[4] In a remarkable coincidence, it is Julius Caesar’s birthday today.   At least it would have been if he had not been hacked to death in 44AD.
[5] Deep Fried Treats.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


Moo Brew –
Moo Brew on Facebook –
Moo Brew on Twitter –!/MOO_BREW
Event – Fourth Annual Malthouse West IPA Challenge Grand Prix –
Malthouse on Twitter –
Malthouse Facebook Group –
Real Beer – 
Beer and Brewer Magazine –