ALE aficionados Tim Jarosz, Luke Dempsey and Ryan Campling are close to realising their dream: opening a bar dedicated solely to craft beer.
The trio's heady venture, the Saint John Craft Beer bar, will gather Tasmania's micro-brewers under one roof and provide a platform for hundreds of handmade beers from across the world.
Mr Jarosz, founder of the Ritual Coffee brand, said it would be touch-and-go for the St John Street bar to be open in time for this weekend's Esk Beerfest.
But he assured drinkers that the first froth would herald a new era of appreciation for boutique brews.
"You see the bars around Launceston, and there might be a tap of craft beer here or there, but no one is doing it wholeheartedly," Mr Jarosz said.
"We're big beer fans - and craft beer from a keg is the ultimate dream."
Mr Dempsey, whose bottleshop experience has exposed him to many obscure brands, said Saint John bar would feature five handmade beers and one cider on tap at all times.
He said different brews would be constantly rotated, with 150 to 200 varieties to be put on tap over the first 12 months.
"In a way, it's a bit of an education for people to see why craft beer is so sought after," he said.
"It's not a place for people to come in, knock back 10 beers very quickly and get blind drunk.
"It's about celebrating individuality and flavour - appreciating the extra work and passion that has gone into the brewing."
Tasmania's craft beer culture has grown exponentially over the past decade - the birth of Hobart's Moo Brew in 2005 followed by Ironhouse Brewery on the East Coast, Seven Sheds, Van Diemen Brewing and Morrison Brewery in the North and Two Metre Tall in the South.
Established brands Taverners Honey Ale and Hazards Ale have also enjoyed continued popularity, while Mr Jarosz said wholesalers had also opened up the international craft beer market to mainstream drinkers.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties out there that we previously didn't have access to," he said. "We'll be getting as many varieties on the shelf as we can."
KEEN FOR MORE?
Launceston will tip its glass to the region’s brewing culture at the annual Esk Beerfest this Friday and Saturday evening.
The festival, to be held next to the James Boag’s Brewery in Williams Street, will showcase the finest in Tasmanian craft beer and cider producers, alongside premium local meat, seafood and produce.
Entry is $15 for a single day and $25 for the weekend.
The Sunday Examiner will be on hand to sample the wares, and share the stories of our dedicated producers.