New South Wales
After an abortive attempt last year to set up a new brewery and bar in Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, Richard Adamson has now succeeded in bringing his venture, called Young Henry’s, to partial fruition in nearby Newtown. Brewing commenced in March at Young Henry’s, which is situated in a light-industrial building in Wilford Street, between the main railway line and busy Enmore Road. A launch party was held at Hart’s Pub in the Rocks in mid-April for the first Young Henry’s beer, a real ale. The next stage of Adamson’s project is a bar and eatery on the same premises as the brewery, and that, as I write, is awaiting approval from Marrickville Council.
After the Matilda Bay Brewery was relocated from Dandenong South to Port Melbourne late last year (see March 2012 Update), work began on the construction of a bar and visitors’ centre within the new brewery building, something that was sadly lacking at the previous site. This new facility, known as the Matilda Bay Brewery Bar, was officially opened on 10 April. It and the brewery are situated at 89 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne, and can easily be reached by bus or tram from the city.
On the downside, the owners of the Flying Horse Bar and Brewery at Warrnambool have decided to cease brewing on-site, and are now having their beers brewed elsewhere. Brewing began at the Flying Horse in mid-2008 using a 6-hL brewhouse, but there were problems with this equipment, and it was replaced by a new 10-hL system in 2009.
It is now more than four years since the McLaren Vale Beer Co. launched its first beer, Vale Ale. It is more than two years since the company bought and began renovating the Salopian Inn at McLaren Vale, as a retail outlet for its products, and more that one year since it took possession of a warehouse at nearby Willunga in which to install its own brewery. I am now happy to report that the brewery, a 35hL DME plant, is in place and ready to start, as soon as some operational problems are resolved with Onkaparinga Council. When I visited in March, it was hoped that brewing would begin before the end of April, but this has not transpired. Vale Ale brewer Jeff Wright stated at the beginning of May that the brewery’s birth was ‘imminent’.
Since the release of Vale Ale in November 2007, the McLaren Vale product range has grown to four beers, with the addition of a dry lager, a dark lager, and an India pale ale. All of these beers are presently produced at Australian Independent Breweries at Smeaton Grange (NSW), for kegged product, and at Independent Distillers at Laverton (Victoria), for bottled product. The new Willunga brewery will at first produce only bulk beer, replacing AIB as the source. A bottling line is to be added at Willunga, but most bottled Vale beers will continue to be produced at the big Laverton brewery (which, by the way, has been owned since 2011 by Japanese megabrewer Asahi).
On a much smaller scale than the McLaren Vale Beer Co., the Ekhidna Winery at Wattle Flat, near Myponga, has begun producing a range of beers. They are brewed in a small home-brew style operation at the winery by winemaker Matt Rechner, and are sold under the brand Ekhidna Beers at the winery’s cellar door and restaurant at McLaren Vale.
Brewing started in March at the Generous Squire brewpub in Shafto Lane off Murray Street in Perth, and the first house brew—an English-style bitter ale called Shafto’s Reward—was launched in April. This venue, another Lion-associated James Squire Brewhouse, opened for business in October 2009 (see November 2009 Update), but the commencement of on-site brewing was delayed for more than two years.
Farther south, at Wilyabrup in the Margaret River wine district, the Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery opened to the public on 5 May. It was granted its tavern licence on 26 April, after a two-year battle with neighbours and government authorities. At the heart of the dispute was the question of whether yeast escaping from the brewery could contaminate the wild yeast population used to ferment wines on a neighbouring property.