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Out of the shadows, into the Sunshine

April 11, 2011

Sampling the offerings of breweries the world over fills the waking and dreaming moments of many fearless good beer junkies, fantasies drip-fed by the likes of the beer hunter until his untimely demise.

In recent times pallet loads of exotic beers have poured into our ports (sometimes against brewers’ wishes) to soothe our thirst for unusually shaped bottles, innovative labels and strangely spelt products. We don’t actually have to travel to Bamberg to try authentic Rauchbier anymore – just pick it up from a bottlo, take it home and crank the air conditioning up to ‘Bavarian winter.’

But it would be much nobler to think local drink local. Why not support your local microbrewery – help out a local business, spur the craft beer revolution as it gains momentum?

Until recently if you lived on the Sunshine Coast, 100 km north of Brisbane, drinking local craft beer necessitated a trip to an industrial estate on the outskirts of Maroochydore and a bar that closed at 6 pm.

Sunshine Coast Brewery owner Greg Curran, was stymied by planning regulations that demanded breweries be tucked out of the way of thirsty locals or tourists. While this may be fine for big industrial scale brewers who pump out millions of litres and ship them around the country, it is not ideal for a small family business that relies on selling direct to squeeze maximum profits from their mash.

Although the brewery won three medals at the 2010 Australian International Beer Awards and five the year before, including a coveted trophy for its Summer Ale, attracting customers to drink at a bar alongside tyre fitters and tile warehouses was always going to be a hard ask.

Finally, in March this year Greg opened the Sunshine Coast Brewery Bar and Restaurant in the heart of Maroochydore with the tagline, “A world of beers”.

“It is an outlet for the brewery, where people can access it,” Greg said.

“We’ve come to the people.”

“It has a focus on craft beer. Mainly our own, but also lots from all over the world.”

There are 10 taps pouring Sunshine Coast’s beers and one guest beer, and include the thirst-quenching mid-strength Summer Ale, displaying subtle stone fruit and melon aromas, to stronger more complex offerings such as the rich dark Porter and the ruby brown Rye Extra Special Bitter, which is heavy on malt and spice.

The Glasshouse Rauchbier is a treat worth trying as a good interpretation of the Bamberg speciality, there’s a Best Bitter and a Hefe and, completing the line-up, are two new offerings – Czech Mate Pilsner, and High Tide Bock (7.1%!), the latter brewed for Greg by Rudi Herget from Brisbane.

For lovers of way-out beverages you can pick up a chilli beer or alcoholic ginger beer, too.

The Brewery Bar is a small, friendly space – more like a café with comfy seats than a pub. In keeping with the sub-tropical climate it has more seating space outside than in.

Currently the imported beer range is slim, just Weihenstephan and Sünner Kölsch, but that’s not the reason I’d be going to my local brewery’s outlet anyway.

There’s even a wide range of food on offer, from tapas to full meals.

Sunshine Coast Brewery Bar and Restaurant
22 Ocean Street, Maroochydore
Ph: (07) 5443 3884

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