Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another rainy day or, at least, that's how it started. If there wasn’t any sunshine, at least by the afternoon it had finally stopped raining. I’d seen the CBD a few times by now and I wanted to do something a little different when the hostel reception suggested visiting the Castlemaine XXXX brewery. That sounded like a good idea; I had toyed with the idea of going to the Bundaberg distillery (rum), but it had turned out to be too problematic, so here was a chance to make up for that missed opportunity.

There were both good things and bad things about the tour. One positive was the price, at $25 AUD, it didn’t seem to be too much, especially as 4 drinks (granted they were only pots – half pints, but something is better than nothing) were included at the end of the tour. The negative was that we were not allowed to take any photos inside the brewery. I’m not sure what secret they were trying to keep as anyone could walk in and look around.

The tour started with an interesting presentation of the history of XXXX. Contrary to the belief of many Victorians, it doesn’t stand for 'piss’; it actually represents the standard of the beer (in theory). Centuries ago, monks would brand the quality of the beer from X – XXX. Castlemaine believed, somewhat mistakenly in my humble opinion, that their beer was a cut above and so added the extra X, thereby creating XXXX.

The tour of the factory itself was pretty boring as all we did was look at machines – the whole process of beer-making is completely automated from the brewing to the packing. Even though the factory was fully functional, there seemed to be more tourists on the tour than workers. Therefore, we came to the highlight of the tour, and the only reason why people go on them, the beer tasting. We were given a maximum of 4 pots (half pints) to choose from, but given that some people were not that interested in drinking (fools!), their tokens were passed around to the more seasoned ‘tasters’, myself included.

After the tour, I went for a short walk along the river to clear my head a little. This also gave me the opportunity to take in the Brisbane skyline by night properly; in the words of Darth Vader, "Impressive!"
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