Thunder Road

Of all the breweries to appear across Australia in recent years, it's fair to say none has arrived quite like Thunder Road. From its lavishly hi-tech brewery to the bold green livery adorning its refurbished 1940s delivery trucks - not to mention the decision to launch with a lager and go after the 98 per cent of Aussies not drinking craft beer - its approach has been unique.

The long term project of beer loving business man Philip Withers, for whom the Brunswick-based brewery is a return to his family roots, Thunder Road launched its first beer, the Full Steam Pale Lager, in June 2011. The first release in its declared mission to create "brilliant, beautiful, clean, bright beers", the goal wasn't just to create a high quality European style lager, but also a beer that drinkers wedded to mainstream beers would find approachable and - if the plan works - worth making the switch to. An ale made with all Victorian ingredients, the Brunswick Bitter, followed, while a 400l pilot brewery that's an exact replica of the main brewhouse is designed to let brewers Harvey Kenney and Marcus Cox let their imaginations run wild.

The brewery itself is based in a factory fronted by an historic bluestone cottage just off Lygon Street, in Brunswick, with a striking wooden bar lined with 30 taps in the shadow of the brewhouse as the centre piece. The aim is to pour 30 different Thunder Road beers through the taps one day, although ongoing licensing issues mean the venue is yet to open to the public. When it does, the intention is to offer food they're calling "modern Brunswick".

As for the cottage, it's set up to offer private tastings, but also contains a veritable treasure trove of beer literature and memorabilia amassed over the years by Withers. His research into the history of beer and breweries in Australia before setting out on the road to create Thunder Road was nothing if not exhaustive and it appears that much of what he read has made it into this small, private library-cum-museum that promises to become a great resource for keen beer lovers.

Name
Thunder Road
Address

130 Barkly Street
Brunswick
VIC 3056

Website
Website

The Regulars

Thunder Road Brunswick Bitter

The second permanent member of the Thunder Road range has now been rolled out in full, after a few teasers appeared across Melbourne. Formally launched at a family day at the brewery, it looks like being one of a number of beers from the brewery to feature a name and label that tips its hat to Australia's brewing heritage, this time with the "From 1876" a reference, we assume, to the Brunswick Brewery that opened in that year. Like the Full Steam, it's a beer designed with broad appeal, with some light lifted fruity hop notes, some light caramel malt character and a hop bitterness reminiscent of classic Aussie draughts. Featuring all Victorian ingredients, it's a refreshing quaffer with the impending warmer weather very much in its sights. ··· Read more
Style
Sparkling Ale
Strength
4.9%
Bitterness
33 IBU

Thunder Road Full Steam Pale Lager

The first beer from Thunder Road as they set out on their "quest for the perfect beer", the Full Steam is a beer that fits in with their aim of trying to win over as many of the 98% of Aussies drinking mainstream brands. A clean, refreshing lager with delicate citrus and honey aromas, a lengthy malt-led flavour and gentle bitterness, it wouldn't be out of place in a Munich beer garden. ··· Read more
Style
Pale Lager
Strength
4.6%
Bitterness
25 IBU

The Specials

Thunder Road Montgomeries Pale III

The third iteration of Thunder Road's Montgomerie's Pale Ale (named in tribute to Robert King Montgomerie who brewed out of West Melbourne in the late 19th century) is out and about. This time it comes armed with "more hops and more malt" yet remains - deliberately so - a take that's not big on overt hop aromas and, indeed, is rather malt-driven in the flavour department too. According to its designer, it's something of a "savoury" pale ale and certainly displays a complex malt character as well as a firm, yet contained, bitterness. It's full-flavoured yet subtle to the point that you're unlikely to have any idea it tips the scales above six per cent until it's too late. ··· Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
6.1%
Bitterness
37 IBU
Stockists

Thunder Road

Venues around metro Melbourne

Released August 1 2012

Thunder Road Montgomeries Pale

A trial release from the Brunswick newcomers, this is a pale ale that might not have hit the hoppily aromatic heights for which they were aiming, but achieved the side effect of hiding its potency rather well. A pale golden ale with a nod to one of Australia's long lost former breweries, it comes with a honeyed aroma and the slightest hint of the New World hops that were added late on, backed up by a solid resiny, citrusy hop character on the mid-palate and an equally solid bitterness rounding things off. We believe this will be tweaked if it's brewed again so don't dally if you're after some of batch number one. ··· Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
5.9%
Bitterness
31 IBU
Stockists

Beer DeLuxe

Great Northern

Hotel Lincoln

Cherry Tree

Josie Bones

Cookie

[The Local Taphouse St Kilda](/

Released October 30 2011

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