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Expert Beer Club Pack (April 2019): Beer On Hamilton Island (Updated)

Posted by Geoff Huens on 16th Apr 2019

Hamilton Island is an amazing place to holiday and simply cruise around at your own pace.

It’s a relatively easy get away location from most parts of Australia, especially the east coast where it's a short plane ride away to a resort styled holiday island with all amenities at hand.

Now, if you are anything like me when going on holidays then craft beer is always part of the planning stage for any great holiday adventure, especially when the location is somewhat remote or isolated.

Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy wine and the odd cocktail but for me beer is where it is at and craft beer to be specific. Whenever I visit a new place I am always keen to track down a local watering hole and try and sample the local beers.

The challenge I find though with any island holiday is that local beers can be near impossible to find and it often means you’re beer options are at the mercy of the resort bar menu.

First world problems right?

Based on my previous trip to Hamilton Island I had an idea of what beer options were going to be available so for this trip I opted to pack a case of crafties in my checked in baggage.

Some might call this weird, or a bit crazy, but the way I see it is that it's no different to packing a case of beer in the boot of the car for a trip up the coast. The only difference is my transport method is a plane not a car and I need to pack accordingly.

Here’s a pic of the beers packed in checked baggage. I found a cube of 16 was perfect for both quantity, size, weight and a mix of beers.

Beer Pack In Suitcase For Hamilton Island

And as a side note, these days with the proliferation of beer in cans, there are a few advantages to choosing them when packing.

  1. They are lighter
  2. They take up less space (no wasted bottle neck space)
  3. Less likelihood of breakages

Here are the 16 beers I packed. (2 x Hop Nation The Chop IPA, 2 x Hop Nation The Heart Pale Ale, 4 x Ekim Viking IPA, 4 x Balter Captain Sensible, 4 x Balter XPA)

Beers Packed For Hamilton Island

Having last been to Hamilton Island in 2013 I was interested to see how the island had evolved as I'd heard reports that there was a much larger supermarket and more options than what there had been previously.

The reports were right.

The little corner store had been replaced by an IGA which was “big” by island standards and had all the necessary items you would need for your island stay.

Being an island supermarket you can probably guess that the prices are somewhat inflated, but I didn’t see them as being gouging prices. It is, as the island residents put it, “island pricing”. After all they have a captive audience and you aren’t really going to go elsewhere especially since Coles stopped doing island deliveries when the IGA opened.

My guess is that it must be Australia’s highest revenue generating IGA store. We were there for a week and the lines were often 10-15 deep every night of the week with key items like the humble snag selling out multiple times, and we weren’t even there during the peak season!

Here's a pic of the regular checkout line up in the afternoons.

Hamilton Island IGA Checkout Queue

In my previous blog post about beer on Hamilton Island you can see that there was not much in the way of craft offerings. Being owned by the Oatley family the options were Robert Oatley Wines, Anchor Steam (which Oatley Wines had the distribution rights for in Australia), a couple of Lion Nathan beers (James Squires and Knappstein Lager) and of course Coopers Pale Ale.

The good thing is this has since changed quite a bit with a larger bottle shop attached to the IGA.

Here’s the lowdown on what is now available in terms of beer on the island. Prices are listed as 6 pack / case. Some beers are missing the 6 pack or case price as they were not readily shown, but you will easily be able to estimate the price based on other beers listed.

Hamilton Island Mainstream Beer Fridge

Mainstream Beer Options

Great Northern: $20.50 / NA

Corona (6 pack stubbies): $24.50

Corona (10 pack cans): $32.50

Heineken: $24.50 / $69.50

Hahn Premium Light: $15.50 / $44.50

Hahn Super Dry: 3.5: $17.50 / $48.50

Hahn Super Dry: $20.50 / $52.50

Iron Jack (30 cans): NA / $60.00

Iron Jack (stubbies): $19.50 / $55

Carlton Draught: $21.50 / $58.50

Carlton Dry: $19.50 / NA

XXXX Bitter: $19.50 / $57.50

XXXX Gold: $18.50 / $49.50

XXXX Australian Pale Ale: $18.50 / $50.50

XXXX Summer Lime: $19.50 / $49.50

Tooheys Extra Dry: $20.50 / $56.50

Tooheys New: $19.50 / $57.50

Stella Artois: $24.50 / $69.50

Pacifico: $28.50 / $84.50

Kirin Megumi: $24.50 / $69.50

Peroni Leggera: $21.50 / $76.50

James Boags Premium: $23.50 / $59.00

Birra Moretti: $24.50 / $69.50

Steinlager Pure: $26.50 / NA

Hamilton Island Craft Beer Fridge

Craft Beer Options

Little Creatures Pale Ale: $28.50 / $84.50

Little Creatures Pilsner: $28.50 / $84.50

Little Creatures Rogers: $24.50 / $69.50

James Squire Amber Ale: $24.50 / $69.50

James Squire Pilsner: $24.50 / $69.50

James Squire Golden Ale: $24.50 / $69.50

James Squire Pale Ale: $24.50 / $69.50

James Squires Swindler: $24.50 / $69.50

Coopers Pale Ale: $24.50 / $69.50

Stone & Wood Garden Ale: NA / $85

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale: $29.50 / $85

Guinness Draught: $28.50 / $84.50

White Rabbit White Ale: $28.50 / $84.50

White Rabbit Dark Ale: $28.50 / $84.50

White Rabbit Pale Ale: $28.50 / $84.50

Matilda Bay Minimum Chips: NA / $76.50

Matilda Bay Lazy Yak: $24.50 / $76.50

Matilda Bay Fat Yak: $24.70 / $68.70

Furphy: $20.00 / NA (this price seems like a possible pricing error as this is below mainland pricing or it was perhaps a promo price but not marked as such)

Here's a pic of the cool room which is quite large compared to what they had previously, craft options are to the right, slightly out of frame!

Hamilton Island Bottleshop Beer Cool Room

Overall, when you consider the regular price of a case of beer at your local bottleshop I think the prices above are quite fair for an isolated island bottleshop. My only recommendation would be for them to stock an XPA or IPA of sorts. I feel Balter XPA, Fixation Obsession Session IPA or BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA would fit in great among the mix of beers.

If you are wondering what I purchased when I was there to go along with my muled cube of beers, well I had to support Australian Independents and so grabbed a couple six packs of Coopers Pale and Stone & Wood. Oh and a couple bottles of white and red wine to share.

One thing to consider about the prices listed in this blog post is they are from October 2018 and therefore before the Queensland Container Deposit Scheme had been rolled out. So you can probably expect to pay about $3 more per case once that is factored in.

If you’re off to Hamilton Island, have an awesome trip and enjoy a few crafty ones while you’re there!

Now for this quarters beers:

Beer Number 1: Wayward Dead Dingo Brut IPA

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.2%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: IPA

Description: Using an enzyme generally used to brew low carb beers, the BRUT IPA has very little sweetness (none) with a bunch of carefully chosen hop characteristics. The enzyme makes generally un-fermentable sugars fermentable, creating a beer that is bone dry, full flavoured, hoppy and extremely effervescent.

Hops: Eureka!, Motueka and Vic Secret.

Beer Number 2: Boatrocker Coffee Ramjet 2019

Style: Imperial/Double Stout

ABV: 10.4%

Colour: Black

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Stout

Description: Starting as a one off keg as part of our Ramjet Day Celebrations in April, feedback on the night was so positive we have decided to do a broader release.

We have taken our much loved Imperial Stout and aged it in Starward Whisky barrels for 5 months and infused it with whole roast coffee beans adding a new layer of roast and complexity to the beer. We have done the maths and there is the equivalent amount of a single espresso shot in each bottle.

Beer Number 3: Burnley Nitro Coffee Brown Ale

Style: Brown Ale

ABV: 5.7%

Colour: Dark Brown

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Pint

Description: We’ve buddied up with Richmond’s newest boutique coffee roasters, These Days Coffee Roasting, to create a beer with sweet malt and dark stone fruit aromas. Full bodied with a caffeine kick, the coffee brown is the ultimate liquid breakfast. Malts: Maris Otter, Medium Crystal, Oatmeal, Munich Dark and Chocolate Hops: Willamette and Cascade Additions: Lactose (Milk) sugar and These Days Coffee

Beer Number 4: Founders Blushing Monk 355ml

Style: Fruit Beer

ABV: 9.2%

Colour: Dark Red

Serving Temp: 4˚C to 7˚C

Recommended Glass: Tulip

Description: Blushing Monk is brewed with a ridiculous amount of raspberries and with a Belgian yeast strain that keeps our head cellar operator from sleeping for a week. It pours a stunning deep berry red and, at 9.2% ABV, has a surprising kick. The perfect dessert beer, it can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fresh cheeses, fruit, cakes and more.

Beer Number 5: Mr Banks McConaughaze IPA

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.1%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Pint

Description: Alright, Alright here is our Double Dry-hopped pale ale. Hopped heavily with Citra & Mosaic. Massive Pineapple & tropical Juice vibes. Soft & Juicy with a tight ABV.

Beer Number 6: La Sirene Season Ale

Style: Saison

ABV: 4%

Colour: Light Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Tulip

Description: Farmhouse Style Season Ale an ale for all seasons, bright, refreshing and crisp.

Beer Number 7: Kasteel Tripel

Style: Tripel

ABV: 11%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Tulip

Description: This tripel is a strong blonde beer in which both the bitterness and the fruitiness of the hops make their presence felt. The recipe has recently been changed to include a higher proportion of aroma hops. It has a subtle aroma with touches of fruit and impressions of malt, cloves and flowers. The main taste is of fruit. It is a balanced beer that is never too bitter. The alcohol comes to the fore in the finish. The Kasteel Tripel is the mother beer for the exclusive Trignac that is matured in brandy barrels.

Beer Number 8: Deep Creek Brewtiful Haze

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.5%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: IPA

Description: Brewed in cahoots with Liquorland NZ, this juicy, hazy, hop bomb is bursting with brewtiful hop aromas. Mouth-watering citrus, orange and mango flavours leap out of the glass. A downright addictive juicy New England IPA with diminished bitterness. An incredibly approachable style. Get lost in the Brewtiful Haze!

Beer Number 9: Mahr's Brau Helles

Style: Helles

ABV: 4.9%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 4˚C to 7˚C

Recommended Glass: Lager

Description: A creamy, compact head crowns the glass. Brilliant, delicately pearled with bubbles, and golden yellow; it captivates the eye of the true connoisseur. The aroma is lightly reminiscent of flowering hops. The body is pure, mild, discretely aromatic, coupled with a slight sweetness. The finish is soft, with a hint of maltiness. A lager that awakens the desire to drink it again and again.

Beer Number 10: Mornington Peninsula Brewery The Larrikin

Style: Brown Ale

ABV: 5.5%

Colour: Brown

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Pint

Description: Using the traditional ingredients of an ANZAC biscuit, this ale presents a golden brown appearance, with a sweet coconut aroma. The palate displays toasty malt flavours and mild hop spice, underpinned by a rich mouthfeel and floral finish of biscuity sweetness.

Beer Number 11: Parrotdog Rifleman XPA

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Colour: Light Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Pint

Description: The diminutive Rifleman deftly darts through the trees all over New Zealand, proof that a lot of personality can be packed onto a small frame.

Our XPA follows that lead; its lean, pale body positively humming with tropical and stone fruit hop notes.

Beer Number 12:Philter Caribbean Stout

Style: Stout

ABV: 7%

Colour: Dark Brown

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Stout

Description: Our first anniversary beer, this full bodied tropical stout is made using lager yeast. Silky chocolate and coffee flavours are topped off by rum and raisin notes for a smooth finish with a sweet back note. 'Jamaica stout?' you ask. We sure did.

Beer Number 13: North End Become the Ocean Gose

Style: Gose

ABV: 5%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Tulip

Description: Our interpretation of a traditional Gose combining mild lactic tartness , coriander spicing and a malt accenting salt character.

Beer Number 14: Rodenbach Alexander 330ml

Style: Sour

ABV: 5.6%

Colour: Dark Red

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: Tulip

Description: Rodenbach Alexander was brewed for the first time in 1986 on the occasion of Alexander Rodenbach's 200th birthday and is now back by popular demand to the delight of beer lovers in Belgium and abroad. It is a blend of 2/3rd aged Rodenbach (100% 2 year aged beer) with 1/3rd younger ale, macerated with sour cherries. The natural flavour and taste of sour cherries brings a perfect match between the sour beer and the red fruit. Its aftertaste is reminiscent of a Burgundy wine and its freshness makes this beer the perfect aperitif or accompaniment to cheeses or dessert.

Beer Number 15: Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw

Style: Belgian Strong Ale

ABV: 11%

Colour: Black

Serving Temp: 12˚C to 15˚C

Recommended Glass: Chalice

Description: Every year on the 24th of February, we celebrate the birth of Charles Quint. Therefore we brew a special beer in limited edition called Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer Imperial Dark (‘Grand Cru of the Emperor’).

This exceptional ale ages well, developing a refined complexity and intense aromas. With powerful notes of roasted malts, caramel and plums, its surprisingly soft and fruity aroma combines a warm roundness with a refreshing taste.

Beer Number 16: Hawkers Tom Needs More Friends IPA

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.5%

Colour: Golden

Serving Temp: 7˚C to 12˚C

Recommended Glass: IPA

Description: Experimental hop 692 from the Yakima Valley with US Great Western Caramel Steam and Oregon Pale malt feature in this collaboration brew. Large doses of hops make their way into the boil, whirlpool, fermenter (pre-ferment), and finally a super heavy double dry hop. This pre ferment dry hopped (PFDH) beer is a salute to Tom, for bringing us all together.

About the Author: Geoff Huens is the co-founder of Beer Cartel who conjured up the idea of a beer subscription delivery service after his year abroad travelling through South America, the USA and Europe. With his partner in beer, Richard Kelsey, this later evolved into Beer Cartel. Through a passion for bringing amazing beers to people around him, a rekindling of his Belgian heritage and love for exploring new beers he can often be found writing about beer or chewing the malt over his favourite beer style, American Barleywines.