Apr 14, 2014

First look at Hobart & Launceston beer in the early 19th century

Inspired by Shut Up About Barclay Perkins and the joy I've had drinking the 1834 porter I brewed in February, I wanted to see what I could find about what was available to drink in Tasmania in the 1800s.

John Glover's 'Hobart Town as Viewed from my Garden, 1832'

Hobart Town Courier, 5 July, 1828

Hobart Town Courier, 8 November 1828

It turns out that in the first decades of the settlement of Hobart, when beer was available, they were drinking London porters and stouts, Burton ales and IPAs from breweries like Truman, Barclay Perkins, Allsopp, Bass, Charrington and Reid. No big deal, just some of the best breweries of the time.

It seems to be a pretty decent volume as well given that the total population of Hobart was under 20 000 at the time.

Hobart Town Courier, 29 June, 1832

I haven't had a chance to look into it much but just a quick look suggests that at least in 1854 Launceston had heaps of imported beer available as well. Some of the highlights are Allsopp's pale ale, Truman's XX stout, Whitbread's porter and Dantzic spruce beer.

Cornwall Chronicle, 10 June, 1854

It's a surprise to me that not only could they drink London porter or Burton ale but they could choose which brand they preferred. I guess I've been so conditioned to think about the hardships that the early colony faced, that the idea of being able to choose between Truman and Barclay Perkins seems like incredible luxury. There's heaps more info to slowly sift through and I'm sure there'll be some more fun stuff to come.

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