Australian’s aren’t “big” on pubs, which is a bit surprising. They love their beer. It’s standard practise to buy beer by the carton, 24 cans at a time. None of this woosy four pack stuff.
CNBN.com, who had the most up to date information I could find, (September 23, 2008), say the Australians are the fourth biggest beer drinking country in the world. The UK, despite their best binge drinking efforts, only manage sixth spot. So, I had gone to the better team. For those who wish to move to foreign lands based purely on beer drinking prowess, the Germans were third, Ireland second and Czech Republic first. I digress.
Australia does have pubs. If you go to the centre of Brisbane, there are plenty to choose from. The same in Sydney and Melbourne. But I live in a suburb of Brisbane with a population of around 9000 people. It doesn’t have a pub. I can get a beer in the local sports and recreation club, but it’s not the same as at the pub! When I lived in England, I was in a small town with a population of around 40,000 people. I could have walked to any one of about 12 pubs.
Australia has about 4,000 pubs compared to around 60,000 pubs in the UK. So Australia need another 16,000 pubs to match the UK man for man. Personally, I’d be happy if they just built one more. In my town!
So why the big difference?
I think the answer lies in the lay of the land. Walking to the pub is the problem. Housing is much more spread out here in Australia. It takes me 20 minutes to walk to the sports club, yet I am considered close to the town. Others, on the outskirts of our little suburb, could take more than an hour to walk it. My nearest proper pub, which is in the next town, would take me about 4 hours to walk. I may be unlucky, or just plain stupid, living in a place with no pub. If you read the post about Maclean, for example, you’ll know it has a population of around 3,000 and two pubs. During our road trip, it seemed all the smaller communities had at least one pub. I could have chosen more wisely. But I suppose I did have other considerations. Ah well.
If England has a pub culture, the Australian definitely have a BBQ culture. It’s a pretty good substitute for pubs. You invite a bunch of mates round, each brings his own eskey (Australian for cool box) full of tinnies (cans of beer) or stubbies (bottles of beer, come on, keep up) and the women normally bring a foody item they prepared at home and…… the night is set. So who needs pubs?
Well, I do! So I went to one yesterday …….
This pub was just over an hours drive from me and it’s in a place called Wongawallen, close to Mount Tamborine. As you can see, it’s an “English” pub. Attention was paid to the finer details too, like a picture of Lady Diana on the wall, the telephone box outside and, when I was there anyway, Max Bygraves playing in the background. Wonderful! We sat outside.
But for me, the big achievement of this pub, was it didn’t look out of place.
We’ve all seen those fake medieval castles that look so ridiculous. But this was just a quaint English countryside pub in the (OK, Australian) countryside. It is set in a beautiful part of the country with a really enjoyable drive to get there. I’ll be going again. Yes, the Australians have pubs, but they don’t make ’em like the English do.
For the beer buffs:
The pub served Tetley’s and Bombardier on draught as well as a local “Fox and Hounds” bitter with a nourishing 5.1% abv.
The full top 20 beer drinking countries list is at go here