Meet the breweries dedicated to crafting beer their own way. From Beechworth in north-east Victoria to sleepy Byron Bay in NSW, we meet the couples, friends and families dedicated to turning their love of beer into a lifelong passion by supporting independence and their local community.
BREWERS BALTER TO THEIR OWN BEAT
The boys at Balter believe in enjoying life to the full. Founded by six Aussie blokes and a yank, the philosophy here is that the beer is designed to bring people together and should accompany the best moments in life.
The story wasn’t always filled with joy, though. The idea for the brewery actually came at a time of real hardship for two of the Aussie owners. Australian pro-surfers, Bede Durbidge and Mick Fanning, had been respectively struggling with a severely broken pelvis and the death of a beloved brother when Durbridge decided he wanted to commit to opening his own brewery. Roping in surfer friends Joel Parkinson and Josh Kerr, the four then set about to get back on their feet and pursue their other pipe(line) dream.
With this background, it’s clear that each beer is brewed with real care and love for the art, using only the very best ingredients and opting for techniques that focus on creating the best taste possible, rather than pumping out the batches.
They offer a range of taste profiles to suit a variety of palates, but, according to Balter’s website, all are made with the same mentality: that a beer needs to be: “approachable, thoughtful and value character over currency.”
Behind these beaut brews is Scotty Hargrave, Balter’s master brewer. As a former concreter, Scotty believes in hard work and integrity – qualities he puts into his beer. Hargrave was also the brewer that brought the XPA style, or ‘Extra Pale Ale’ to the forefront, which continues to be its flagship brew. The Alt Brown Ale, Pilsner and IPA round out the core range.
The brewery itself is open to the public on Fridays and weekends and encourages fans of the beers to come along with friends and taste their favourite brews, straight from the source.
BALTER BREWING COMPANY
14 Traders Way,
Currumbin, QLD 4223
(07) 5525 6916
STONE, WOOD AND WATER: THE ELEMENTS OF GOOD BREWING
You will most likely know this Byron Bay-based brewery from its flagship beer, Pacific Ale, a beer created by ramping up the galaxy hops, providing a fruity and oral aroma, perfect for quenching your thirst on those warm days (or if you live in Byron Bay, almost every day).
Stone & Wood Brewing Company was established in 2008 and followed with the opening of a second brewery in Murwillumbah in 2014 to meet growing demand. The highly acclaimed Pacific Ale is brewed using all Australian barley, wheat and galaxy hops and is joined in the core range by the Garden Ale, Green Coast Lager and Jasper Ale.
Stone & Wood co-owner and brewer, Brad Rogers, honed his craft with Carlton & United Breweries, including a stint in Fiji at Carlton Brewery before taking the reigns as brewer for Matilda Bay Brewing Co. When Roger’s made the decision to set up his own brewery, it couldn’t have come at a better time, with brewers Jamie Cook and Ross Jurisich – who had worked alongside Rogers at Matilda Bay – also deciding to come on board as a trio to establish the award-winning brewery.
The brewery is proud to be a 100 per cent independent and regional brewer, investing heavily in the local community to build a new brewery, rather than outsourcing the growth. Stone & Wood employ locals and uses local suppliers where possible. With the two brewing facilities located on the NSW Northern Rivers, the brewery embraces its home and surroundings.
The Byron Bay tasting room allows the brewery to produce limited releases and welcome people to try the handcrafted beer.
STONE & WOOD
4 Boronia Pl,
Byron Bay, NSW 2481
(02) 6685 5173
HOPPING TO THE NEXT BEST VINTAGE
Endeavour was the first brewery to introduce vintage to its beers, not only in name. It was launched by Ben Kooyman, a man of the industry since 2006; corporate guy Dan Hastings; and winemaker and brewer Andy Stewart, who together realised that they could create better-tasting beers by selecting the ingredients from the regions that experience the best vintage each year.
Like wine, this means the recipes vary slightly depending on the barley and hops sourced from the season. Their first commercial beers were released in August 2010 and the range today includes the Harvest Blonde; Growers Bright Ale, Pale Ale and Golden Ale; and the Reserve Pale Ale and Amber Ale.
In 2016 saw the launch of Endeavour Tap Rooms. The team, joined forces with AppleJack group to open their very own brewery, bar and restaurant in Sydney. Endeavour Tap Rooms, located in the heart of The Rocks, follows the brand’s philosophies of using all-Australian, seasonally harvested ingredients with no preservatives.
The menu boasts a variety of smoked produce from the land and the sea all designed to share, and accompanied with seasonal sides, salads and veg. Complete with a brewhouse adjacent, the Tap Rooms house several beers on tap, which consists of Endeavour beers that are brewed on-site, plus rotating guest taps, as well as a seasonal cocktails and NSW wines on tap. The Tap Rooms are open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and features both indoor and outdoor seating, making it an ideal place for dinner and drinks, a quick after work bevvy or an afternoon tipple and share plates.
ENDEAVOUR TAP ROOMS
39-43 Argyle Street,
The Rocks, NSW 2000
Tel: 1300 289 233
SMALL TOWN TASTING BREWS
The small town of Beechworth in north-east Victoria is home to two must-visit attractions – the famed Beechworth Bakery and Bridge Road Brewers.
The latter was founded on the passion of husband and wife duo, Ben Kraus and Maria Frischmann. A winemaker by trade, Kraus fell in love with beer during a short stint in Austria working at Tiroler Bier in-between skiing the slopes. A life-changing experience, Kraus became a brewer in one fell swoop and when he returned to Australia, he conceived the idea of Bridge Road Brewers.
Staunchly Beechworth, the brewery has given the town national and international exposure, as well as employing 20 people from the local community. In addition, Bridge Road Brewers supports the community by sponsoring local sports clubs and schools, as well as ongoing fundraising contributions, cementing its importance to the Beechworth area.
The flagship beer is the Beechworth Pale Ale, which accounts for more than half of what the brewery produces. For something unique, try one from Bridge Road’s Mayday Hills series; the beers are fermented in traditional wooden foeder tanks and get their name from the brewers’ township and surrounding region.
Kraus says, “We prefer to create beer from scratch, using our own production equipment on our own site in our hometown of Beechworth. It’s our passion, not a hobby or a chance to make a quick buck.”
When you make your way to Bridge Road, you’ll be greeted by 20 taps, with between 12-16 of those dedicated to Bridge Road Brews made right there at the brewery. The 150-year-old coach house that encapsulates the brewery is coupled with a pizza-centric menu and a family- friendly beer garden perfect for those warm weather afternoons.
BRIDGE ROAD BREWERS
Old Coach House Brewers Lane,
50 Ford St,
Beechworth, VIC 3747
(03) 5728 2703
TWO BIRDS BREWING
It was in the sunny suburbs of Perth 16 years ago that locals Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen first met. Western Australian born and bred, it wouldn’t be until the dynamic duo took off on a fateful two-week tour of the US West Coast in 2010 that Lewis and Allen discovered just how much they had in common.
Bonding over a shared love of good beer and excellent food, the two of them hatched an idea to start their own brewing company.
On their return, and after six months of lenghty discussions, the pair decided to take the plunge: they would give up their respective full-time jobs and have a crack at owning and running their own business. So, in June 2011, Two Birds Brewing was born.
Initially contract brewing – that is, using another brewery’s equipment to create their own beer recipes – Two Birds focussed on recipe development and establishing their brand. Their first beer, the Golden Ale launched in October 2011, with Sunset Ale dropping in May 2012.
But in April 2013, Lewis and Allen decided to head back to the US. The trip was just what they needed and they returned inspired and more determined than ever. Lewis and Allen returned with plans for phase two of Two Birds Brewing – the building of The Nest. After a long wait, the brewery equipment arrived in March 2014 and the Two Birds were on their way to turning a dream into reality. Brewing started on site at The Nest, located in Melbourne’s Spotswood, in June. And the Tasting Room opened in July 2014, just three short years after Two Birds first took flight.
136 Hall Street,
Spotswood, VIC 3015
(03) 9762 0000