Burleigh-born beer crew Black Hops opens its East Brisbane brewery and taproom
Here’s some news that’ll be sure to have hops heads in a frenzy – Black Hops Brisbane has officially opened to the public! After purchasing Semi-Pro Brewing Co. earlier this year, the coastal outfit is showing off its new northern HQ, tapping the kegs on Black Hops’ core range of surfy suds and a selection of limited-edition brews crafted in the East Brisbane tanks. Fancy a sip? Save yourself a trip south on the M1 and plot a course for this Manilla Street oasis.
Despite being a Gold Coast born-and-raised outfit, Burleigh’s Black Hops Brewery has always had strong ties to Brisbane. The relationship stretches back to October 25, 2014 – the date when Black Hops launched its very first beer (an eggnog stout) at Hoo Ha Bar in South Brisbane. Since that day, the brewery has enjoyed an incredible amount of success, with Black Hops beer becoming a ubiquitous fixture on tap and in the fridge at just about every southeast Queensland bar and eatery with craft leanings. Despite boasting an incredibly strong customer base in Brisbane, Black Hops didn’t have a local outpost for its reps and fans to enjoy. Earlier this year the Black Hops brains trust – Dan Norris, Eddie Oldfield and Michael ‘Govs’ McGovern – started seriously toying with the notion of a northern expansion, investigating viable options for a Brisbane production centre and HQ. Enter the team at Semi-Pro Brewing Co., a gypsy-beer-outfit-turned-local-institution that had been operating its own 10-hectolitre brewery and 100-seat taproom in East Brisbane since 2018. Semi-Pro’s co-owners Mick Guy, Siena Perry and Shaun Stubley were at a crossroads, with operations having reached a glass ceiling that they could only break through via a sizeable (and expensive) expansion. Friends of the Black Hops boys since its early days, the two brew crews met and decided to join forces – Semi-Pro Brewing Co. would be integrated into the Black Hops brand, its East Brisbane home would become Black Hops’ Brisbane HQ and Mick, Siena and Shaun would stay on to help oversee the Brisbane location’s brewing and taproom operations. In late October the Semi-Pro space closed for a quick refurbishment, reopening in early November as Black Hops Brisbane.
The Manilla Street hub has been given a few cosmetic adjustments (furniture, lighting and rough sawn timber finishes in the bar) to bring it in line stylistically with Black Hops’ brewpubs in Burleigh Heads and Biggera Waters. A mural by Kiel Tillman depicts the familiar curves of the Brisbane River, and pays homage to Black Hops’ local genesis. Structurally the space remains the same – there’s a merch corner, fridges filled with takeaway beers, plenty of tables to perch, lush greenery and even a mezzanine level giving a birds-eye vantage point of the shiny brewing apparatus. The taproom’s bar features 16 taps, almost half of which are dedicated to Black Hops’ core range, which is brewed at the Biggera Waters brewhouse. Mick, who remains the head brewer at East Brisbane, will oversee the creation of small-batch and seasonal brews, one-off special beers, and collaborative concoctions (the Black Hops recipe rolodex boasts 200 recipes, some of which will likely make limited appearances). To keep the taste authentic, the team is bringing up water from the Gold Coast – a stop-gap measure until a filtration system is implemented in the near future. Black Hops Brisbane’s bar licence allows it to serve beverages that aren’t made on site, so non-beer drinkers can sip on small-batch spirits from Grandad Jack’s, Husk Distillery and Starward Whisky. Keeping stomachs lined will be a rotating roster of food trucks, which will be slinging street eats every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Black Hops Brisbane is now open to the public. Fancy stopping by for a frothie or two this weekend? Be sure to check the Stumble Guide for opening hours!
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