Two Metre Tall Company
Ashley Huntington actually is 2 metres tall – probably taller if you include his mop of curly hair – and his generous height is also the name for the craftbrewing enterprise he runs from the Derwent Valley, along with wife Jane.
A trained winemaker, Huntington spent seven vintages in France managing the Hardy’s-owned La Baume Winery, before being drawn back to Australia to establish his own venture in southern Tasmania.
In 2004 the Huntingtons bought a 600-hectare property on the banks of the Derwent River and, at the same time, acquired the Forester Bitter Amber Ale brand, which they relaunched under the Two Metre Tall banner and have since expanded the portfolio to include Huon Dark Apple Ale, Derwent Aromatic Spelt Ale and Two Metre Tall Cleansing Ale.
Apart from the latter, all beers are named after major Tasmanian rivers and, unusually, the dark ale is fermented with apple juice from the Huon Valley. Both Forester Bitter Amber Ale and Two Metre Tall Cleansing Ale have been served under a hand-pump system at select outlets and local festivals.
Initially, Huntington ‘borrowed’ the microbrewery at the St Ives Hotel in Hobart to produce his beers and operated a packaging facility and cellar-door operation from a rented stone cottage just outside New Norfolk. In mid-2008 the Huntingtons purchased the equipment and relocated it to a former shearing shed on their own property, which is further up the Derwent Valley. As well as planting grape vines on the property, they grow hops, cereal crops and beef cattle; they have grown both Franklin and Gairdner barley (which was malted at Powell’s Maltings in Victoria) and are currently trialling the English Maris Otter variety. Naturally enough, the cattle are fed on the spent grain from their brewing activities and the Huntingtons’ ultimate aim is to develop an integrated portfolio of regional Tasmanian beef and beverages.
In 2009 cider production also commenced with the release of the Huon Farmhouse Dry Cider. Made from Sturmer Pippin apples, this cider has a fresh, crisp acidity and is bone dry. Huntington uses no additives in this bottle fermented cider or in his 2010 addition of a Poiré (Pear Cider), a blend of mostly pears from the Tasman Peninsula and a touch of apple as well.
Huntington is now also experimenting with sour fermentation, barrel aging and wild yeast ferments. These can be tasted only at the Two Metre Tall ‘Farm Bar’ where 6 traditional hand pumps can be found serving real ale all brewed on site as well as 2 cider taps. The bar is open every Friday afternoon from 3pm until 10pm during the months from October until mid April.
Different batches have varied considerably and Huntington is still experimenting with ingredients and hops in particular.
Two Metre Tall Forester Bitter Amber Ale
Behind the Label
Based in north-east Tasmania, hop farmer John Carswell decided to diversify into beer making in 2003, launching Forester Pale Ale which is named after the Forester River hop-growing region outside Scottsdale. He employed the same Pride of Ringwood variety he had grown as a farmer. In 2006, the Huntingtons acquired the brand, which fitted into their particular vision for regional Tasmanian ales. They subsequently launched Huon Dark Apple Ale and Derwent Aromatic Spelt Ale, both of which are similarly named after rivers in the Apple Isle; Two Metre Tall Cleansing Ale is a more restrained style aimed at gently introducing lager drinkers to ales.
2862 Lyell Highway, Hayes 7140; (03) 6261 1930comments powered by Disqus