Monday, 12 August 2019

TWO RUPEES BREWING CO

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: S.E. Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 69 Renver Rd, Clayton
  • Food: Bar Snacks - Uber Eats
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Websitehttp://tworupeesbrewing.com.au/
It's not that long ago that I was lamenting the lack of diversity in the craft brewing scene, not only in Victoria but, worldwide. That is slowly changing. One of Melbourne's newest brewery's; Two Rupees Brewing Co, is one such brewery championing diversity. It was started by two Sri Lankan guys, Amila Mendis & Danny Perera, & opened in July 2019.

Melbourne has a large Sri Lankan population, however I don't think I've come across any in craft beer circles before. I visited their new brewery the week after they opened & spent the best part of an hour talking to the two about their journey - which sounded so similar to my own. They got into craft beer, loved it, progressed to visiting breweries regularly, progressed to home brewing, progressed to opening their own brewery!

Their venue is one of the smallest I've visited. It's housed in a small brick warehouse, on a street that looks like it should have a brewery on it. It's located in Clayton, just around the corner from Monash University, about 20km SE of the Melbourne CBD. Inside the walls are painted white bricks, the brewery is at the back and takes up approximately half the depth of the space. There are tables with the ubiquitous brewery stools, plants dotted about and invisible shelves showing off the range of spirits they offer alongside their beers.

Two Rupees is so small that it's currently only licensed for 20 people! They hope to have a footpath permit in place in time for summer, which should double the licensed capacity! The brewery has snacks that you can purchase as well as allowing drinkers to order in their own Uber Eats/other food delivery services.

I sampled each of the 4 beers on offer, all of which are well made and sessionable. I've decided to review the Witbier. The guys, influenced by their homeland, have added cumin alongside the traditional coriander seeds used in the style. The resulting beer packs really good depth of flavour, yet retains the drinkability of the style. Honestly, I could quite happily have stayed there all day drinking this beer - it's an excellent first up offering!

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

RED BLUFF BREWERS

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Gippsland
  • Tasting Room:No
  • Food: N/A
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Websitehttps://www.redbluffbrewers.com/
Red Bluff Brewers is one of the breweries I learnt about for the first time through this project. They have been brewing commercially in, until recently, one of the biggest craft beer wastelands in the state since late-2017. Started by two mates Damian Witham & Wayne Burnett, with the idea of bringing craft beer to East Gippsland.

The brewery is in Lakes Entrance, a popular holiday town about 4 hours east of Melbourne in East Gippsland. It's population is almost 5,000, who are mostly employed in either the tourism or fishing industries. It's a beautiful part of the world that was screaming out for a brewery!

Currently Red Bluff Brewers don't have a tasting room. However you are able to visit the nursery, where the brewery is located, and buy their full range of beers. Recently they've got popular beer label designer, Clint Weaver, aka Pocketbeagles in to design some labels for a new range of beers. Around the same time, Damian stepped away from the brewery with Wayne's wife Donna joining the team.

It seems like all the Gippsland breweries end up with a lager, to try and convert their craft averse locals. With that in mind I decided to try their Barrier Lager. It's a genuinely nice beer. There's a little bit more malt than most lagers, which is accompanied by moderate dirty/grassy bitterness. It's crisp and refreshing & I can see why it sells.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

MOUNTAIN GOAT BEER

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 80 North St, Richmond
  • Food: Pizza
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://www.goatbeer.com.au/
Mountain Goat was launched in 1997 by two friends, Dave Bonighton & Cam Hines. The duo had spent time studying and working overseas, where they had discovered full flavoured beer independently. Upon returning to Australia they were disappointed with a market dominated by macro lager & set about trying to change that. They are the true pioneers of the craft brewing scene in Melbourne, which barely 20 years later is one of the most vibrant in the world.

A lot has changed about Mountain Goat in the 22 years since they brewed their first batch of Hightail Ale in the Scottish Chiefs Hotel in Geelong. After two years splitting their time between the aforementioned pub and the Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North (note: these are not close!), the duo had cobbled together enough money, with the help of family & friends, to start their own brewery.

They opened in Crown St, Richmond in 1999 & decided to open the brewery up for locals to drink in once a month. It was a decision that proved to be a masterstroke for cash flow, with people lining up out the door to get in. One of the strangest things about my long craft beer journey is that until last month, I'd never been to Mountain Goat! This Melbourne institution, in my area, and I can't explain why I'd never visited.

2004 saw them move to a larger warehouse on North St, one street over from their previous site. Something I didn't know until writing this piece is that it took them until 2005 to get an automatic bottling line, until then they'd hand capped & labelled over 2 million stubbies of beer! Mountain Goat was available nationwide & the Richmond brewery couldn't keep up with demand. First the William Bull Brewery in Griffith began contract brewing some Mountain Goat beers, before all Steam Ale production, as well as packaged products, was moved to the Asahi brewery in Laverton in 2011.

This was the start of a productive relationship between Mountain Goat & Asahi, which eventually saw them buy out Mountain Goat in 2015. Whilst there was the inevitable backlash from elements of the craft beer community, the majority was supportive of the move that allowed a group of family & friends to see a massive return on the money they put in almost 20 years ago.

Very little changed at the operation, the Richmond brewery still opens on Wednesdays & Fridays, limited releases are still brewed in Richmond, whilst Steam Ale is still brewed at Laverton. The beer is still excellent and Dave's still around (Cam left in late-2017 to focus on other opportunities).

The brewery is in a large brick warehouse, in a quiet street in industrial Richmond. It's directly across from another craft beer institution in Melbourne, The Royston Hotel. You wouldn't be able to pick the brewery from the other warehouses if not for the small, aging sign above the roller door, featuring the brewery's goat head insignia.

Inside you're greeted to a large, high ceiling space. To your left is a long bar serving up a variety of core, limited releases & brewery specific Mountain Goat beers. Above the bar is the offices where the admin staff work, famously adorned with Mountain Goat slab boxes. You have good views of masses of stainless steel from almost anywhere in the brewery tap room, where you can enjoy a wide array of pizzas that are reportedly excellent!

The beer was always going to be a limited release & I could think of nothing better than to select their re-brew of Gypsy & The Goat for their GBW event. I voted for this beer from 2012 to come back at the Gala & I'm so happy it did! It's a Black IPA, originally brewed with famous gypsy brewer Mikkeller, which had a heap of pepperberries added. It's roasty, slightly spicy, has generous bitterness & a fruitiness, assumably, from the pepperberries. 

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

SEVILLE RIDGE BREWERY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Yarra Valley
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Food: N/A
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://sevilleridgebrewery.com.au/
Seville Ridge Brewery is located in Seville East, approximately an hour East of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley. This is about all I've been able to confirm about them; and even that was based on Liquor Licence records! It's very difficult when there is next to no information about them online & they don't answer emails or Facebook messages. Hopefully this post spurs them into action & I can give you guys a little more info down the track! If anyone knows anyone at Seville Ridge, please ask them to drop me a line!

I'm going to make a couple of assumptions to avoid this being one of the shortest posts in The Year of Local! Based on Untappd data I think the brewery started producing their beer commercially in 2013, although it could be as far back as 2010! I believe that this is a very small commercial brewery located in someones garage, based on the liquor licence address. Their website is a kit website, which I've seen used by a couple of the smaller breweries in Victoria, & provides no information!


When a brewery only produces one beer, it makes the beer selection far easier! The Seville Ridge Pale Ale is a well made English Pale Ale.The malt bill provides mostly caramel malt flavours. There's a touch of honey & apple, whilst there is also moderate herbal & citrus hop aroma. The bitterness is above average, but not overpowering, for the style.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!