Proof that size doesn't matter. In a shed at the bottom of a driveway in Melbourne's outer suburbs, with tanks cooled by water from the backyard swimming pool, began the story of Kooinda - a tiny brewery producing a big, big beer.
In the middle of the last decade, four mates decided their home brewing skills were worthy of a wider audience and spent their spare time over several years amassing, designing and building a brewery with the help of friends and family. Finally - having produced six kids between them in the meantime - they secured a license and released the first batch of their full-bodied, richly malty and highly hopped Pale Ale in 2008.
They've since moved their operation to an industrial unit in the north of Melbourne, where they still fit much of their work around family life, pulling in mates to help with bottling and delivery runs. The move allowed them to expand – and then expand. some more What's more, the Pale has become one of a wider range of regular releases, including a hugely popular and huge Black IPA, their delicious Milk Porter and sessional Golden Ale. On top of that are occasional seasonal releases, such as the karakaberry witbier.
The move has also allowed them to convert part of the warehouse into a brewery bar, complete with occasional live music, a big screen TV often showing major sporting events and plenty of seating, from comfy old sofas to tables covered in brewery paraphernalia. Opening hours are few due to licensing constraints, but it's a great place - when open - to sample a wide range of their beers as fresh as can be.
By the start of 2015, only one of the original gang of five remained, with Mick Opie head brewer under new owners with the guys he'd launched the brewery with following new pursuits both inside and outside the beer world. The new team has reworked and streamlined the core range while wasting little time adding a selection of new and colourful limited release beers to the Kooinda lineup too.