Three Far North Queensland cities in five weeks. It has been fun. The last couple of days has been spent in the largest city of FNQ – namely Townsville. There are two fabulous breweries to visit and plenty of pubs including a few Irish pubs. The skyline of Townsville is dominated by Castle Hill. It falls 14 metres short of the height required to be a mountain and has inspired the name of Townsville’s newest brewery. Tiny Mountain Brewery was opened about three years ago and is an absolute ripper.
It is a great set-up inside and out. The impressive outside industrial fans mean that there’s plenty of outside seating. The livery is very distinctive and the merch is outstanding – I was particularly taken by the glassware. The core range of beer is accessible and easy drinking. I was lucky to get about the last taster of a limited edition Hefe. “My Side of the Wheat” is a tropical imperial hefe that the barman was drooling over. I rarely meet a Hefe I don’t like. This was beer of the trip.
The other brewery in town is the equally impressive and far older Townsville Brewing Company. The Brewery as it is known to locals started life in 2001. A local family bought the historic and iconic Post & Telegraph Office building that was built in 1889. The huge space was converted into a microbrewery, bar and restaurant. 21 years later it is going strong, albeit with a change of hands.
On a Tuesday night, a few Uni students keep the bar staff busy, but the space is so big it looks empty. The bar is long, the tables are plentiful and the ceilings are high. I’d love to be here when it is busy – the place would heave. The preservation of history whilst housing a microbrewery is a credit to all concerned.
There’s a nice variety of beers. There’s a take on the ubiquitous Great Northern Super Crisp in the form of Legends Ultra Crisp lager. The Rice Cold Lager is very good, but the standout for mine was an excellent Red IPA – Rebel Red. A number of their tap beers are available in takeaway stubbies, and the Rebel Red did not disappoint later. To appreciate the architecture, visit during the day.
Townsville boasts a few upmarket venues. The Ville is the casino complex and has an excellent Asian restaurant and outdoor drinking area with fine views. The place to spot an NQ Cowboy or two. Longboard Bar & Grill proclaims itself to be “Townsville’s Greatest Location”. It is certainly in an el primo location on the Strand and the waters edge. Plenty of surfing paraphernalia in a town with no surf. Good place to wile away an arvo sipping some frothies.
As we drove around town, I was struck by the number of Irish pubs. Townsville and the Flinders Street precinct is still coming back from Covid. It could have been the Tuesday night or some places are shut permanently – but there’s still an above average number of pubs with an Irish name and/or Irish decor. The Shamrock is Townsville’s “oldest Irish pub” (1899) Felt like an Aussie Pub with Irish name. Molly Malone’a is more your classic Irish pub with Celtic decorations abounding. Flynn’s and the Criterion look closed maybe permanently and Finnegans Irish is in the ‘burbs. O’Townsville indeed.
Snuck in a savoury mince for breakfast, so that looks like an FNQ dish not just a Mackay dish. Left plenty on the table in Townsville, including Magnetic Island which is a ferry ride away (please!) and it has its own brewery. Next time.
Tiny Mountain Brewery: 20 Palmer Street, South Townsville, QLD
The Townsville Brewery: 252 Flinders Street, Townsville QLD
The Ville Resort & Casino: Sir Leslie Theiss Drive, Townsville QLD