Hemingway's ales to celebrate rich Port Douglas history

Published Tuesday 10 May 2016

SIX different beers, all with significant names, varied tastes and a brief story that relates to Port Douglas’ colourful history.

And as we eagerly await the opening of Hemingway’s Brewery at The Reef Marina, it’s fitting that its creators would seek to differentiate itself from the norm.

In doing so, they have cottoned on to the novel idea of serving a selection of craft beers that were developed and brewed in-house to reflect particular aspects of the region’s past. It ranges from the pioneering prospectors of the gold rush, to the resilience shown in the wake of the devastating 1911 cyclone.

“Our signature pale ale, Pitchfork Betty’s, was inspired by the legend of Old Betty Whiting, a former Port Douglas publican and staunch defender of the town’s original character who was best known for brandishing an iron pitchfork against unruly patrons,” says co-owner Tony Fyfe.

So when Hemingway’s opens its doors in June, be sure to remember the history when you down one of the following, or all for that matter:

Mrs Watsons (small ale). In the late 1800s, the sea slug trade in Far North Queensland was a profitable and surprisingly perilous way to earn a living. But none felt this more than Captain Robert Watson’s wife, baby daughter, and servant. Their tale lives on in this ale.

The Prospector (pilsner). James Venture Mulligan was the first to find gold in the Palmer River. It was because of his thirst for adventure and tireless efforts that Port Douglas came to be, and it’s his story that has inspired this refreshing brew.

Pitchfork Betty’s (pale ale). She ruled a local watering hole not with an iron fist, but with a trusted and slightly rusted pitchfork. A staunch defender of the good time and good life in Port Douglas, and the inspiration for this beer.

Doug’s Courage (IPA). March 16, 1911 was the day Port Douglas was levelled by the mother of all cyclones. Battered but hardly beaten, a band of courageous locals rebuilt to continue the story of this place we love, and their spirited fortitude is celebrated in this ale. 

Hard Yards (American dark lager). In 1877, when gold was found, the Bump Track was the only road to Port Douglas and it was no leisurely Sunday drive. Unforgiving and treacherous, it brought meaning to the term no pain no gain, and it lives on in this dark lager. 


Kick Back (ginger beer). If you’ve ever come eye-to-eye with a cassowary, chances are you’ve felt its brutal kick. Armed with a pair of daggered claws, it’s a bird feared by many but respected by all and is the inspiration for this spicy little drop.