XXXX Milton Brewery Tour – Inside QLD’s Iconic Beer Factory

I admit to not being a XXXX drinker, yet I’d been planning to go on the XXXX Milton brewery tour for quite some time. Why? For anyone that’s not Australian, XXXX is Queensland’s most famous beer and the brewery is one of the country’s oldest. In short, the tour is one of Brisbane’s must-do activities if you want to better acquaint yourself with the city.

Additionally, being a beer and history lover, and the fact I live just down the road, I felt compelled to visit. So, it was on a Saturday afternoon at about 1pm when I saw there were two tickets left for the 2:00pm tour. I convinced my partner to join me on a whim, and shortly after we were lining up for the historic XXXX Milton brewery tour.  

The Bar Atmosphere

We walked upstairs and found ourselves at the bar area, which contains two golden dome-capped bars surrounded by seating and historic memorabilia. While waiting for the tour, I came across XXXX man – who was donning a very cool raincoat and hat – and a plaque commemorating all the brewery’s workers who’d dedicated 25 years of their lives to working here. As you can see, there are quite a few!

The bar and tour sign-in area
XXXX man!
Some serious dedication

Our Tour Guide – XXXX Milton Brewery Tour

As our tour began, we were ushered into a room where we put on our XXXX safety vests and collected a pair of safety goggles. Then Zac, our tour guide, showed us a short video on the history of the XXXX Milton brewery. Zac is a young, enthusiastic guy who, he later told me, liked to get to the point. This was to our advantage as there is a lot of information on the tour and it only goes for 90 minutes, so it didn’t feel like we missed out on anything.

In action at the start of our tour

Even though Zac had only been working at the XXXX brewery for a few months, he’s been ‘slinging’ beer, he told me, for about the past 10 – 15 years. He’d also done the tour quite a few times so was well-versed on the culture and history of our XXX Milton brewery tour. 

The Tour & A Bit of History

Zac led us down the stairs and outside, past sections of site before we stopped and learnt some of the history of the old brewery, which was established in 1878 by two brothers. Subsequently, the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery, which makes its famous XXXX beer, was born. The building has quite a few sections and plenty to keep you occupied for the 90 minutes you’re there.

Walking through the brewery on the start of our tour

So, what does XXXX mean? Zac told us that the X symbol originally derived from monks. I won’t say more than that (you can find out yourself on the tour), but you can get a look here at one of the brewery’s first beers, which originally had one X less!

At one point on the tour, Zac gave us an inspection of some hops used at the brewery. There are of course different types of hops used here and the more malty variety is used in the brewery’s other beers. Our group inspected a few varieties of hops while Zac told us about the brewing and fermentation process. As I used to make home brew back in the day, I found this part pretty interesting.

Zac at the hops station
Investigating the goods

Next on the tour, Zac showed us a few of the first beer bottling machines and different types of kegs used throughout the brewery’s history. I found it interesting that wooden kegs were used originally, and later steel kegs for rougher handling and repeated use. The XXXX brewery still produces beers from the wooden keg (which you get to taste at the end of the tour) and – fun fact – the only other place you can experience this is at the Breakfast Creek Hotel!

Extolling the virtues (and limitations) of the wooden keg

Following this, Zac took us into the processing plant, where the beer is labelled and bottled. As you can see in the pics, there’s lots of machinery to do this and I found the information on this part really interesting. We then made our way back to the bar and function area where we got ready to sample the beer, which of course we were all looking forward to.

Attentive beer enthusiasts
Beer factory!

The Beer Tasting

You get two middies of beer to try at the end of the tour. I tasted beer from the steel keg and from the wooden keg (check out my video at the end to see this in action). There was a subtle difference in flavour, but I preferred the smoother, slightly softer, nuttier flavour of the wooden keg beer. The good part for me was my partner is gluten-free and as there were no gluten-free beers, I got to drink hers too! Haha. Not so great for gluten-free beer lovers though…

Our (my) little sample beer collection at the end

However, Nikki was offered a XXXX alcoholic ginger beer, which she enjoyed. I also got chatting to a nice Irish couple and as the girl didn’t drink beer, she was able to get a glass of wine. So, the good news is, wine and ginger beer is available if you’re just tagging along with your beer-swilling significant other and you’re not a beer fan, or you’re gluten-free.

A highlight!

Note: you do have to wait until the end of the tour to drink beer and you can’t have any alcohol in your system prior to the tour. The tour is a strictly 0% alcohol affair!

Why Should You Go on the Tour?

If you’re a beer lover, history lover and/or you want to learn more about Brisbane, this tour is for you. I found the tour interesting in all. It’s not too long, the guides are professional (at least ours was) and of course there’s beer to sample at the end. If you pay a little extra, you can also get a meal at the end of your tour.

Final Thoughts

I thought the tour was good value and just the right length to keep us engaged and curious throughout its 90-minute run time. Additionally, our guide Zac did a great job of keeping things interesting. Lucky for us, we also had a nice group and I was chatting to a few people at the end, so it was a social afternoon for us. If you’re visiting Brisbane, or you’re a Brissie local like me, I’d put this activity as a city ‘must do’.

Disclaimer: We paid full price for this tour.

Check out my video below to get a better idea of our experience.

A Few Fast Facts and a Tip

  • How Long is the Tour? Ninety minutes.
  • How Much Does the Tour Cost? $37 for a standard ticket price that includes beer tasting at the end. There’s also a $54 ticket that includes a burger meal.
  • Is the Tour Wheelchair-Friendly? Unfortunately no, as there are quite a few stairs on the tour.
  • What else can you find on the premises? There’s a pool table you can use and merchandise for sale for you hardcore XXXX fans.
  • What are the brewery’s opening hours? 10:30am – 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday.
  • Can children go on the tour? No, you must be over 18 to go on the XXXX Milton brewery tour.
  • Tip: if you go on the tour on a Wednesday or Thursday, you’ll see the brewery in full operation (which unfortunately we missed).  

Check out the XXXX brewery’s website for more information.

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