Your tyres are dirty, your senses are buzzing, your muscles are aching and your parched palate is craving something more than water. Beer, maybe?
In Tropical North Queensland, topping off a great ride with a great beer is something that comes easy. In addition to carving out globally renowned MTB trails for the past several decades, its industrious locals have also been busy carving out a buzzing and varied craft-beer scene. When you’re finished with the trails and need to quench a big post-ride thirst, stop in for refreshment at these brew houses.
With two locations, one situated at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas and a second, bigger venue at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, this independent brewery/gastro pub can slide into your post-ride schedule as easily as a cold one slides down the traps. Choosing just which one to sip on isn’t easy with up to 10 Hemingway brews, guest beers and ciders all fighting for your attention – but after a long day’s ride, the easy-drinking Hemingway’s 7th Heaven Tropical Ale, with its bright finish and pineapple and citrus aromas, is a great place to start.
Macalister Brewing Company
Located in an industrial park just minutes by bike from the Smithfield MTB Park, Macalister Brewing Company features a bar offering several tasty brews – from the subtle tropical aromas of its Cairns Pale to a deliciously rich smoked porter – add a small selection of bar snacks and some fetching mountain and cane-field views and Macalister’s is the perfect spot for a quick post-ride breather before you head back into Cairns. They can also fill up a one-litre ‘traveller’ for you to take home.
Barrier Reef Brewing Co.
At Barrier Reef Brewing Co.’s Two Turtles Taproom you can chat with the brewer as you sample a small but special selection of beers, including the popular Two Turtles Pale Ale and adventurous Double Shot Coffee Amber Ale, infused with cold-brewed coffee from Cairns’ Sipping Duck Coffee Roasters. This environmentally minded brewery, conveniently located on the run between central Cairns and Smithfield, has an association with the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, so reach into your pocket and make a donation while you’re there.
Coral Sea Brewing Co.
One for the serious beer aficionado, Coral Sea Brewing – located in the heart of Cairns – eschews all frippery for handcrafted beers poured by the brewer at selected hours. Its 2017 Australian International Beer Awards medal-winning Tropic Ale is just one must-sip in a long line of tropical-flavoured brews and a cider is coming soon for fans of adult apple juice.
Red Dragon Brewery
At Red Dragon Brewery in central Cairns you can take a 40-minute tour that shows you the brewing process all the way to bottling or canning, and throws in a beer-tasting session for good measure. There are 11 different beers to choose from, including an award-winning pilsner, a cider infused with dragon fruit, the obligatory pale ale and even a ginger beer for grown-ups.