Thanks to a string of close-knit breweries, Melbourne has an incredible craft beer scene that impresses locals and visitors alike. Hotel brand Four Points by Sheraton wanted to tap into the scene as part of a global competition that situates two local craft breweries “head-to-head” in each city, battling it out for the position of the hotel’s “Best Brew.”
Starting in Four Points Manhattan Midtown West NYC as part of the International Beer Day festivities, the Best Brews tour then travelled to Mexico and Canada before arriving in Melbourne. The local breweries chosen to represent were Mountain Goat and Two Birds with the victor earning a trophy and position on tap within the Four Point Dockland’s bar.
Foodies, beer enthusiasts (myself included), and hotel staff were invited from all across Australia and New Zealand to participate in the ‘Brew Off’ event where Mountain Goat and Two Birds each presented 3 beers for judging to a room full of thirsty guests. Each beer was judged on its colour, aroma and taste before receiving a score out of 5.
First up was the battle of the Pale Ales – two fruity American-style ales both high in flavour, followed by their most popular brews. For Mountain Goat, it was the flagship easy-drinking organic Steam Ale, and Two Birds presented its Taco Beer which is brewed to emulate the flavour of Mexican food. The judging concluded in a heavy way. Mountain Goat’s Hightail, the modern iteration of its first beer vs. Two Bird’s limited batch Double Sunset Ale.
In true Highlander fashion, there could only be one, and the winner came as quite a surprise to some, including the chosen brewery. “At Four Points by Sheraton, we know the power a good pint can have when it comes to bringing people together and letting them kick back and relax, no matter where they are in the world,” said Shu Ping Liang, Director of Brand & Marketing – Asia Pacific. “We’re delighted to announce Mountain Goat Pale Ale as Four Points by Sheraton Melbourne Docklands’ “Best Brew”!” Two Bird’s Taco Beer came in a close second.
Our invitation to Melbourne included accommodation at the new Four Points by Sheraton Docklands and tours of the Mountain Goat and Two Birds breweries. Upon arriving at Mountain Goat, we learned that it was Melbourne’s first established craft brewery and to celebrate its upcoming 20th anniversary, two special limited batches are on the way. An interesting fact about Mountain Goat is that it was co-founded by Frenzal Rhomb’s tour manager looking to bring the flavoursome tastes of international beer back home. The tour concluded with a tasting of Silence of the Rees, an epic coconut porter.
The Two Birds tour was just as eventful. Two Birds was founded by two women, one a former brewer at Mountain Goat, the other a savvy business professional – hence the ‘Two Birds’ name. The best beer of the tour was easily the seasonal Winter Stout which tasted like Turkish delight. Although everyone was incredibly friendly, Two Birds might not be the best place to work. Every single lime used in Taco Beer is hand peeled by the staff.
As for the Melbourne scene, there were many more incredible breweries to explore. I recommend Moon Dog for its award-winning creative brews and brew bar Stomping Ground for a flavoursome night out.
After Melbourne, the Best Brews tour is headed to Kenya before finishing up in Barcelona as part of the Oktoberfest celebrations. Anyone planning on staying at Four Points by Sheraton Docklands can enjoy Mountain Goat Pale Ale when it’s tapped on October 1st, 2017.
Man of Many was invited to Melbourne as a guest of Four Points by Sheraton.