May 11, 2014

The tradition of Tasmanian stingo

One of the popular ales brewed in Hobart was Tasman Brewery's Stingo, a Tasmanian take on the aged Yorkshire strong ale. It was only brewed for a short time before the owner and brewer, James Whyte, died in a pretty dreadful way. His brewery was continued by his wife but the stingo seems to have disappeared.

Check out the Don Draper-esque ad:

Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen's Land Advertiser,
2 August, 1823

The hyperbole of that ad aside, it was a very popular brew in Hobart. Even in 1829 there was a newspaper article complaining about the absence of Tasman's stingo from the market. It didn't end there though, Tasman's stingo was something like a cult classic.

So in 1835 the Tasmanian Brewery, run by the new owners of the original Tasman Brewery, decided to relaunch the stingo. It not clear how the relaunch was but the absence of further mentions in newspaper advertising is not a positive sign. I've also found a mention that Noake's Brewery in Longford was also brewing one in 1852 and presumably earlier since at that point it already had a good reputation.

There were very limited quantities of the real deal Yorkshire stingo imported into the colonies but that local versions were produced over several decades is a fun little distinctive of Tasmanian brewing.


  1. "A hard earned thirst needs a good cold beer" - I wonder how long beer advertising has sounded like this... great little snippet of advertising hyperbole.

    1. I think it goes back at least to the 1960s but probably earlier.

      Beer advertising seems to be consistently pretty bad, it's just that fashion changes over time from a paragraph of not particularly clever word-play to scantily clad women.

  2. I love seeing how people adapted the brewing traditions of their forefathers when they got to the various ends of the British Empire. Have you come across any references to a recipe for Tasmanian Stingo?

    1. I wish! Whyte was a Scot and was in his 40s when he arrived in Tasmania so I assume he had some experience with brewing in the North and brewed something very similar to the Yorkshire-style one.

      Unfortunately we don't seem to have amazing log books and other records stashed away like there are for BP, Truman and many others. Many of these little breweries sprang up and died out quickly and there's virtually no record of them beyond what can be gleaned from newspapers. The ones that did survive to federation then merged or were bought out and today's big players retain the IP. I've asked Cascade Brewery if I could have a look at their 19th century records and got a polite but firm 'no'.


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