A Baltimore-born, Brooklyn raised, Israeli soldier/homebrewer marries and settles in Melbourne and finds himself the Head Brewer in his friend’s business venture – a revamped Docklands pub tucked quite literally beneath the Melbourne Star Ferris wheel.
Whilst it sounds like the opening to a convoluted Hollywood movie plot, it is, in fact, the story of Shaya Rubenstein from Urban Alley Brewing.
The business itself began life as Collins St Brewing when Shaya’s friend Ze’ev Meltzer conceived a plan to open an inner city brewhouse. The difficulties that presented led to a Plan B where the business contract brewed core beers to enter the market and establish the brand while a suitable site could be sourced close to the city.
The Harbour Town Hotel became that site, a large scale pub on the outer reaches of the Docklands precinct to the north west of the city. A chunk of the existing restaurant area was given over to the brewhouse and Pete says that a better example of ‘Brewhouse Tetris’ would be hard to find as every square foot of space has been judiciously utilised even to the point that the low-point of the floor and the high point of the ceiling was the only place to stand tanks before shuffling them into place. The grain mill is located in a loading bay some 50 metres’ walk away next door and linked to the brewery by an auger which snakes its way through the delivery and back-of-house alleys.
In this conversation Shaya is keen to share some of the philosophy behind the brand and the choice of beers as well as the strong focus on sustainability that they have planned. He also takes care to correct some of the misinformation reported around these practices (some of which are in the planning stages but not yet implemented) and gives listeners some inside goss on upcoming partnerships to further ensure a smaller environmental footprint.
Shaya is a most interesting character with a rich and diverse background, all of which has led him to his current role. He shares some forthright views and opinions on the brewing scene and is sure to get the conversation started.
Enjoy the conversation.
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