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THINK Bundaberg is only about rum? Think again. Explore five divine brewing experiences, which will make you really think about your drink.

1. Blend Your Own Rum

Sure, this is about rum, but not as you know it. At the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, your journey begins at the museum, standing inside giant barrels, which once contained rum. A character table, into which is etched significant dates of how this world-renowned brew evolved, outlines this 130-year-old story. Learn how this enterprising community went from crushing sugar cane in 1882, and just six years later, turned the molasses by-product into Bundaberg Rum. So resilient is this business, it has not only survived two fires and two floods, but it has flourished. You will also take a tour of the operations in which you will encounter a river of molten molasses. But, not content to rest on its laurels, now you can also indulge in the latest innovation, a Blend Your Own Rum Experience. Here, you will enter a private tasting room which resembles an upmarket science lab, perch on an American oak barrel chair, and taste five samples of 40 per cent alcohol base. From your notes, in which you will specify any memories or emotions these taste evoke, you will concoct a mixture of these blends, which is then bottled under your own personal label, sealed, and a record kept on site for future orders. Bundaberg Rum Distillery Guest Experience Co-ordinator Paula McKenzie loves the opportunity to share the rum making experience with visitors.
"The one thing that doesn't change for me is my passion for Bundy. I love the 10-year-old rum, it's like coming home," she says.

 

2. A Barrel of Laughs

Arguably Bundaberg's second-most famous import, at The Bundaberg Barrel you can not only learn about how its ginger beer is made, but all of the soft drinks this family-owned business creates. Enter this giant barrel in which you will see how one of the only drink makers on the planet still brew the old-fashioned way. The museum here is a deliciously interactive experience where you are you encouraged to identify secret scents, create bubbles, and learn how ginger beer actually originated from England. But the true highlight is at the tour's end, where you are invited to taste the full flavours on offer here made from many of the region's fresh fruits. There's everything from guava and pink grapefruit to passionfruit, and pineapple and coconut which evokes the taste of a pina colada on a tropical island.

3. Some New Brews

One of the newest entrants to Bundaberg's brewing market is Bargara Brewing Company, which started producing beer around three years ago and opened its sassy shop front in the CBD 18 months ago. So successful is this operation, they are already exporting their beer to South Korea and also looking to China. With all of its drops made on 100 per cent fresh rainwater, you'll find 16 different beers on rotation and 6 core labels including the delightfully-named Thirsty Turtle; The Phat Heffa, Goldihops Golden Ale, and the Rusty Roo. Their Great Barrier Beer is a social IPA brewed for The Good Beer Company and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) with 50 per cent of profits going to support AMCS conservation projects. There's even a gluten free drop among the range here. Among these funky warehouse surrounds you'll find graffiti art scattered along the walls, a timber bar whose materials were found in the local timber yard, and rustic tables made from rare, old electrical cable wheels. From its small kitchen it produces pub snacks made from local produce such as pork, macadamia nuts, and fruit and vegetables.

4. Keep your Gin Up

The latest enterprising entrant into Bundaberg's brewing crew is Kalki Moon Distilling Company. Owner Rick Prosser is, in fact, an old hat in the local brewing game, having worked at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery for 13 years as a blender and later as a lauded master distiller. It's these superior skills he now brings to his own operation, recently opening the craft brewery. While, under law, his rum has to sit in barrels for two years and will not be ready until 2019, in the meantime, he is busy brewing and selling vodka and gin. Rick likes to impress his customers with a "Gin Gin Mule" playing on the nearby place name, and using local Bundaberg Ginger Beer, to produce an enchanting drop.

 

5. Magic Mushrooms

Just like waiting for mushrooms to grow, we invite you to watch this space. Because on Bundaberg's north side, there's an innovative drop in the planning stages. Visit Meadowale Mushrooms at 1299 Moore Park Road, Gooburrum, and organic farmer Julie von Schill will teach you everything you need to know about this versatile vegetable. So versatile in fact, Julie is currently working on a mushroom wine with plans to release it by the end of 2017. For now, like her mushrooms, we have to keep you in the dark, as it's all top secret, but if her mushrooms are anything to go by, this will be a top drop. And quirky to boot.

 

 This blog was written by Christine Retschlag from The Global Goddess. Christine visited our beautiful region thanks to our incredible members and Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

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