At just after 9am Ben from Backyard Getaways showed up in his minivan, made his introductions and we were off.
We are informed that we will be visiting three Boutique Breweries around the Gold Coast area.
As we zoom down the Pacific Motorway we chat amongst ourselves and are treated to some of the 80s greatest hits.
The weather is foreboding but we don't let that get our spirits down.
Within the hour we have arrive at our first brewery, MT Mount Tambourine Brewery.
It is beautiful and certainly not what I had in mind for a brewery, more like a gorgeous country restaurant retreat.
While here we are treated to our first testers of preservative- and additive-free (pre-midday) beers.
The Rainforest Lager is everything I love in a beer, crisp and refreshing. Delicious.
We also sample the St Bridget Dubell, Cuvee Belgian Blonde, Black Cockatoo and Moderation Golden Ale.
I thoroughly enjoyed each and every tester but I think a special mention should be made to the wonderful alcoholic Iced Tea. The moment I tasted it I could imagine myself on a breezy back verandah sipping this poured from a jug. I was overjoyed when we were informed that Dan Murphys is now a distributor for this delicious tipple.
Also on site is the Witches Chase Cheese Company, and we were lucky enough to be able to sample some of their delicious produce.
It is beautiful, beautiful, flavoursome cheese. I will be sure to take a drive down here one day to pick up a carton of beer and also one of cheese.
Also, while here, we are given a walk though the business section, the brewing vats and bottling area and given a talk to about the methods, reasoning and mantra of MT.
What a fantastic first stop!
But we have 2 more to go. Back in the bus and down to the Tweed.
In not too much time, we arrive at the Pickled Pig Brewery.
The Pickled Pig is, as MT, focused highly on making beer as pure as possible with no preservatives, additives, and packing in the natural flavour.
I love how passionate our hosts are for what is obviously very important to them, we learn more about beer, this time on a smaller scale.
Pickled Pig has a brew-your-own option, and I'm sure after the tastings we have here, there and some folk on our bus who are very seriously considering making the drive down.
Lunch is also supplied here. A simple BBQ lunch of steaks and rolls.
You can't go wrong with steak on a BBQ and the steak was wonderfully cooked and of beautiful flavour, but I would have loved to see a bit more of a spread here.
Feeling now very rosy cheeked and jovial, we make our way to our last stop, and one we are all excited for, The Burleigh Brewing Co.
Home of Big Head, Australia's first no-carb beer and winners of 4 Gold Medals in the World Beer Championships, Burleigh has a well earned reputation and is now Queenslands largest Qld-owned brewery.
It's a great brewery with a great feel, and you can see from the numbers of other people here to the tasting and tour that this is a favourite tipple among many.
The FIGJAM IPA here is to die for, and may rival BrewDog PunkIPA for title of my favourite!
We stay here for maybe an hour after the tour finishes and enjoy each others company, and realise we have been sampling beer for close to 6 hours.
Then before we know it, we are on our way back to Brisbane.
Ben, the tour guide is friendly, funny and does his job amazingly.
Even for locals this is a great day out, and a way to see some of the most stunning scenery of SE Queensland that even folk that have lived here their entire lives have more-than-likely never seen. AND try some of the most beautiful beers around.
Tour cost, including all samples, cheeses and and lunch is $150 per person. And details and bookings can be made with Backyard Getaways here.
MT Mount Tambourine Brewery: http://www.mtbeer.com/brewery
Pickled Pig Brewery: pickledpigbrewery.com.au/
Burleigh Brewing Co: http://burleighbrewing.com.au/