Melbourne’s Urban Alley Brewery, formerly known as Collins Street Brewing, is putting the final touches on its new District Docklands facility.
Having finally finished the brewhouse installation last week, founder and brewery owner Ze’ev Meltzer said he’s “just buzzing at the moment”.
“It has been two years in the making,” Meltzer said.
Urban Alley has been gypsy brewing its Urban Pale Ale at Southern Bay and Hawkers Brewery since May 2016.
“We’ve built up great relationships with both breweries, they’ve been so good to us, helping get us to this stage.”
“Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Meltzer said that Urban Alley’s first brew through the new brewhouse will be the Urban Dark, next week on Wednesday August 1.
A classic English brown ale, Meltzer said that he’s excited to release it to the market.
“It’s been up our sleeves for a while and we’re busting to get it out but did want it to be the first brew to come out of our own brewhouse.”
The brewery, which has been described as a New York loft meets Melbourne warehouse, houses a 25hl production facility and 550-capacity brewpub.
With a capacity of one million litres per year, Meltzer said that it’s a matter of building the brand and getting the products to market before getting to that sort of output.
Urban Alley’s core range will include an Urban Lager, Urban APA and Urban Dark, with the APA available in cans soon.
“We’re just about to launch into Liquorland Victoria and then across some of the independents in the next couple of weeks.”
Urban Alley has piloted all recipes, including a quarterly seasonal and brewer’s monthly releases.
“We wanted to do all the beers under contract but felt it was important to wait and brew out of our own brewhouse,” Meltzer explained.
“We will release the three core range beers on September 6 when we launch the brewpub.”
“We’ll also be releasing another three beers at the launch.”
These will include a Seasonal IPA, which Meltzer described as “really bold and tannic”.
“At 6.9 per cent with 60 IBUs it’s got a malty sweetness and will hopefully be quite bright.”
Also to be released is a Raspberry Rye American wheat beer.
“It’s got a beautiful raspberry and white pepper spice, it’s much closer to an American than a German wheat beer.”
The final release is a Polish-style oak smoked wheat beer that’s low alcohol at 3.5 per cent.
“It’s almost entirely made with oak smoked wheat, with a pale yellow colour and excellent clarity.”
“There’s a hint of smokiness from utilising a malt that’s smoked with discarded walnut shells, but it’s still sessionable.”
Urban Alley aims to target strict sustainability benchmarks, surrounding waste management, energy consumption and gas emissions.
“We’d love to share what we do with the brewing community,” Meltzer said.
“While most of what we do is not economically better, it’s what everyone has to do, we’ve got to do our part to collectively be more environmentally conscious.”
It’s the first Australian brewery and fifth globally, to introduce biodegradable six pack rings (E6PR). Made from spent grain, E6PR is not only a plastic alternative to holding a six pack together but also an edible one.
Urban Alley has partnered with a neighbouring distillery to help reduce its carbon footprint. Through a water exchange system between the distillery and the brewery, there is a reduced need for rapid heating and cooling.
Meltzer said that while it’s hard to determine exactly how significant an impact the collaboration will have on gas emissions, it would render heating and cooling obsolete.
“It depends on lining up our brewing schedule and the distillery’s schedule, but it means that they don’t have to cool down their water and we don’t have to heat up ours.”
“It’s really a significant about of gas in the long run.”
“But it will rely on how much they’re distilling and production hiccups will hinder this process.”
Urban Alley has an on-premise bio waste facility, with plans to process spent grain, which creates natural gas as a byproduct, and repurpose the grain as fertiliser.
The brewery will also be treating every bit of water that is used in production, measuring the temperature, volume and balancing the pH.
Meltzer said that he’s developing a way to transport treated brewery wastewater to farmers and farming communities.
“The thing with brewery waste water, it’s high alcohol and high protein, which is great for farmers and agricultural communities.”
“We haven’t yet completely developed the water treatment project but I’m hoping to have that ready by early 2019.”
“It’s just logistically working out how to make it work.”
Urban Alley will officially open to the public in September this year.
No updates on the urban ale trade mark dispute with La Sirène but Brews News understands the two breweries will head to mediation.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.