Brewers thrive in a forgotten world

FORGOTTEN Island Brewery has become an icon for the purity of Tasmanian craft beer – all for the joy of pursuing a hobby its founders love.

Andrew Donovan and Anthony Young’s Forgotten Island Brewery has been a growing presence in the local community since starting in 2018.

Within the first year they won the People’s Choice Award in 2019 at the Beer Festival in Launceston.

The small-scale business is the embodiment of niche craft beers inspired by the special characteristics that the Tasmanian state offers. This year their plans are to move their current brewery elsewhere and to just “go a bit bigger.”

Currently they grow hops in their backyard in Magra and have a brewery set up in Claremont. The pair met at high school and have shared their knowledge and love for beer since the beginning. A coincidental meeting at a brewery kicked things off.

“We home brewed together for about eight years, working on recipes,” Mr Donovan said. “One night after we had a brew, we sat down with a few beers and wondered what we could do and how can we take it to the next level.”

Their journey with Forgotten Island has lived on since then popping up at boutique events like markets and festivals around the state.

Mr Donovan said the feedback on their products has always been positive but his full-time job as a plasterer has limited him from being able to keep up with the demand.

“Now we just got to step it up and hopefully get off the tools and concentrate more on the brewing to get the product on to the shelves and into a few pubs,” he said. “We want to keep it small, keep it slow, just build the reputation and keep the beer good!”

Forgotten Island is named after the unmatched beauty of Tasmania and its special offerings. “A lot of the times we’re left of the map and sometimes we just get forgotten about. But we’re a little hidden gem now that everyone knows about,” Mr Donovan said.

Drawing inspiration from British ales, their craft beers use locally sourced produce and have previously brewed with fresh mountain water exclusively from kunanyi/Mt Wellington.

“In the early days we used to source our water from the spring and that was one of the fun parts as well. To get the spring water brew because it’s that pure water. You can definitely taste the difference,” Mr Donovan said.

Mr Donovan has around 80 rhizomes of hops in his backyard which will probably double over winter.

“When it comes to harvest time for me and my cobber (Anthony), there’s so much work with picking it,” he said. “We just sit in the shed, pick and pick, dry them out and will probably have to allocate a week just doing it.”

Forgotten Island Brewery was at the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival serving some favourite ales named after Tassie spots, Bay of Fires, Mount Roland and Lake Echo. Mr Donovan said the Bay of Fire red ale was by far the hit on the day. “It was great to see people travel to enjoy the festival.”

“There is some exciting news coming. We recently got our liquor licence approved so we will be soon selling to the public online.”