Release the hounds – BrewDog officially opens its Brisbane brewery
Picture Brisbane’s craft-beer brewing scene as a dog park, and every pooch within it represents a local brewery. If you look around, you’ll notice there are dogs of every shape and size marking their territory, from grizzled veterans with greying muzzles to hyperactive newcomers eager to play. Tomorrow, Thursday November 21, BrewDog opens its first (and highly anticipated) Australian brewery and taproom, marking a the arrival of a new big dog on the scene. With a reach spanning continents and 94 bars (yes, you read that right) to its name, you’d think a hound of this size would be an intimidating arrival. Not so! This canine is shaping up to be an incredibly friendly addition to the park, eager to be a constructive and supportive contributor to Brisbane’s thriving craft-beer market. BrewDog is officially off the leash, and it wants to get to know you.
Long before last year’s announcement that legendary Scottish craft-beer institution BrewDog had selected the Brisbane suburb of Murrarie as the home of its first Australian brewery, co-founder Martin Dickie had already contemplated an Australian expansion. While visiting family in Perth, Martin noticed that BrewDog’s beer (which has been available in the country since 2008), didn’t taste the same as it did back in Scotland. Martin chalked it up to the time the product spent in transit and sitting on shelves, morphing in room temperature before making it to its intended destination. The idea to open brewing locations in its expansion markets has become BrewDog’s MO – producing fresh beer closer to its customer base, ensuring the taste and quality is on par across the board. Following on from the opening of BrewDog’s American brewing operation in Columbus, Ohio, the team set its sights on the southern hemisphere and its insatiable market for craft beer. BrewDog’s choice of Australian home came down between us and Newcastle, with Brisbane pipping our Novocastrian rivals to the post thanks in part to an established and supportive craft-beer scene, a riverside locale that could accomodate a sizeable purpose-built hub and investment from the state government’s Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund. Froth fiends hopped in delight at the news, with excitement tempered only slightly by the fact that they would have to wait more than a year to taste the sweet nectar that is BrewDog’s core range. Even those completely lacking in forbearance could tell this arrival would be unlike anything local beer drinkers have experienced. Now the doors are open, everyone can see the wait was worth it.
BrewDog’s $30 million state-of-the-art premises acts, first and foremost, as a brewery and distribution centre that can supply product to markets in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. The brewery itself is located within a cavernous warehouse space – occupying less than half of the available interior footprint. Currently the set up includes a 25-hectolitre brewing system, eight 50-hectolitre fermenters, a fully-automated canning and kegging line and a cold room larger than most houses. As a statement of intent for its tenure in Australia, the team has planned for the future – excess room for storage and new equipment allows for flexibility and the ability to scale production substantially. Here, the brewing team will be concocting BrewDog’s hoppy range, while sours and stouts that boast a longer shelf life will be shipped from overseas. The brewery is expected to come online in January – until then BrewDog is cold freighting kegs of brew direct from Scotland. BrewDog Brisbane’s on-site taproom DogTap is also upping the ante when it comes to beer-centric hospitality. The bar is equipped with 28 taps (more on the brews below), while the beer hall itself features plenty of room for clinking pints – guests can sink into comfortable leather booths, perch at communal high-top tables or stake out a spot on the outside patio. DogTap also features arcade machines, a draught cellar housed in a recycled shipping container (short lines between keg and taps ensure a direct draw without temperature fluctuations) and a shop where folks can snag merch and beers for take-home consumption. Also in the works for a January launch is a barrel-ageing facility, where oak barrels will be used to produce an Australian-exclusive collection of wood-aged drops. The building’s exterior is coated in eye-catching murals from BrewDog’s resident artist Fisher, with numerous sea creatures adorning the brewery’s facade.
The food and drink
A brand such as BrewDog doesn’t grow to boast a global reach without a strong product in place. BrewDog’s range of headline beers are featured at DogTap, with five of the core six available upon launch. It all starts with BrewDog’s signature Punk IPA – a light and golden brew that boasts notes of caramel and tropical fruit. Joining the mix are the mid-strength West Coast session pale ale Dead Pony Club, the toffee-laced praline chocolate porter Zombie Cake, the Bavarian-influenced dry-hopped pilsner Lost Lager, and the stripped-back and sessionable Indie pale ale. Beyond the headliners, DogTap also features a selection of BrewDog’s amplified (brews with higher alcohol by volume), tuned (low- or no-alcohol and gluten-free beers) and overworks (fermented sours) range. Moving forward, BrewDog’s Australian team – led by general manager Lindsay Crawford (formerly of 4 Pines and Bluetongue Brewing) – will start to concoct beers on site using Australian malt and water, plus Scottish yeast. Over time, Australian hops will be incorporated into the mix to create Australian-exclusive brews. In addition to its own beers, BrewDog is looking to support other local brewers, dedicating nine taps to its Friends of BrewDog guest selection, which includes drops from Brisbane’s Range Brewing and Aether Brewing, Gold Coast outfits Currumbin Valley Brewing, Balter Brewing and Black Hops, and Sunshine Coast’s Brouhaha Brewery. If you’re not a beer drinker, don’t panic – you’re still more than welcome at BrewDog! DogTap also stocks an all-Australian wine list, a clutch of Australian-distilled spirits and local-only soft drinks. When it comes to the grub, punters can line their stomachs with a stellar menu of eats, including burgers, pizzas, hotdogs, superfood salads and wings. The kitchen is whipping up small and large plates that are exclusive to Brisbane, such as Korean-style chicken wings, jackfruit chilli, crispy pork cheeks and barramundi fritters with guacamole. Every weekend, DogTap will open for brunch, plating up the likes of chicken-and-waffles, eggs Benedict and more.
BrewDog officially opens tomorrow Thursday November 21. For operating hours and contact details, click over to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.