Barbecue, beer and moonshine – Against the Grain Distillery opens its doors in Mudgeeraba
It’s often said that barbecue is an art, not a science. Distilling, on the other hand, is both an art and a science – a distinction that Stephen (Steve) O’Brien, the owner of Woodchoppers Inn at Mudgeeraba, knows all too well. Having won over the local meat-loving populace with a mouth-watering menu of authentic woodfired smokehouse cuisine, Steve set his sights on a lofty new project – to add an in-house distillery to craft his own range of spirits. After almost a year (and a few COVID-related shipping mishaps later) he’s set to pull back the curtain on Against the Grain Distillery. Here’s everything you need to know.
Up until now, a heavy cloak has shielded curious patrons from the goings-on behind, with only a couple of sneaky peeks from regulars who have caught a glimpse here and there. The time has come for Steve to finally unveil his latest passion project – Against the Grain Distillery. The pokie room at the far end of the venue has been repurposed into an intimate cocktail bar complete with plush velvet seating and a neon light that reads ‘BBQ, beer and moonshine’. In case there was any lingering doubt in your mind, that’s precisely what you’ll find here. At the far end of the bar are Steve’s pride and joy – Beryl and Bruce – two shiny stills that are responsible for producing Against the Grain’s maiden batch of spirits. Unlike some other distilleries that hide behind doors and smoke-and-mirror tactics, Against the Grain has nothing to hide – literally and figuratively – it’s all right there in front of you and Steve is only too happy to talk you through the whole process, from start to sip.
Having dabbled in home brewing in the past, Steve understood the basic principles but has spent the last year testing, tweaking and tasting vodka, gin and what he calls ‘whisky-shine’ and ‘bourbon-shine’. Despite the pigeonhole perception of moonshine – this is no backyard bootleg operation. In fact, Steve is incredibly focused on quality and transparency, perhaps to his own detriment, as Against the Grain offers three different ranges, with three different price points. Even novice spirit sippers (us) can really taste the difference between each of the ranges, which is something Steve is pretty keen to explore with tasting sessions and flights. The bar will also be shaking a select range of cocktails to best showcase each of the spirits and if you’re feeling peckish, you’re in luck, because there will also be a condensed barbecue bites menu available, which offers smaller, easy to eat morsels – think homemade cheeseburger spring rolls, barbecue chicken wings with lemon-myrtle barbecue sauce and ‘Dirty Fries’ with barbecue pulled pork, cheese, pico de gallo and chipotle aioli. If barbecue, beer and moonshine sounds like your kind of vibe, you’re going to love the cut of Against the Grain’s jib.
Against the Grain Distillery opens to the public on Friday December 3.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 870 places to eat, drink, shop and play.