Illawarra Brewing Company

The Illawarra Brewing Company will always hold an important place in the hearts of beer lovers on the New South Wales south coast. Originally operating under the Five Islands name, the brewery and bar in which it was located, opposite Wollongong’s main beach, was for a long time the region’s lone voice when it came to producing and promoting locally brewed beer.

It was a rebrand to the Illawarra Brewing Company in 2011, combined with moving the brewery to a larger site in North Wollongong to increase capacity, that saw the brewery gain wider recognition at a national level, particularly when, with brewers Shaun Blissett and Ashur Hall at the helm, they began collecting a swag of medals at both local and international beer shows.

Their beer range, the core of which began as a crowd-pleasing selection including koelsch, pilsner, amber ale and porter, began to expand rapidly into a never-ending series of one-offs, from yeast-driven Belgian-inspired styles to the full force of American double IPAs. A barrel ageing program was initiated off too, meaning every visit to the brewery was almost certain to turn up something different and interesting.

Over recent years, visits to the brewery have become an increasingly comfortable experience as they moved away from being a production-only facility and opened a a six tap tasting bar overlooking the brewhouse. That comes complete with a counter-pressured growler filling station which means you can take a couple of litres of your favourite beer home with you. The hospitality side has continued to expand downwards and out, with the brewery floor now housing tables and chairs beneath a wall of barrels while sun umbrellas, deck chairs and a barbecue take pride of place outside the brewery on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

A further rebrand in 2016 saw Illawarra consolidate a core range they felt had become too broad, coinciding with a decision to focus more on the local Wollongong market, as opposed to sending more beer to the bigger beer cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and encouraging more people to visit and drink fresh beer from the source. That said, you’ll still see the occasion Illawarra brew around the traps, particularly when their caravan, complete with a four beer tap system, rolls into your local festival or farmers market.

While the history of the Illawarra brewery is very much still being written, when it is looked back upon it won't be measured only by the impact it has had on promoting local beer within its own region. The cast of brewers that have honed their skills here, both in Five Islands days and under the Illawarra name, has regularly gone on to found or head craft breweries elsewhere in the country and push the cause for better beer everywhere.

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Name
Illawarra Brewing Company
Address

4/83-85 Montague Street
North Wollongong
NSW 2500

Phone
(02) 4225 0317
Website
Hours

Tasting Bar:
Tues: Midday to 6pm
Fri and Sat: Midday to 6pm

Growler swap and go:
Any day except Monday and Sunday

Tours

By appointment

The Regulars

Illawarra Porter

The world is all about being efficient these days - getting what you need faster and with more bang for your buck. This Brown Porter is an exercise in efficiency, providing your Recommended Daily Intake of dark chocolate, espresso coffee and bitter cocoa in a single glass*. As a relatively dry and sessionable porter, this is definitely one for that friend who 'doesn't like beer'. A single glass may not actually provide your RDI of these ingredients. You may need two or more. ··· Read more
Style
Porter

Illawarra Rust Amber Ale

The Rust Amber Ale tiptoes the line between beauty and brawn without ever losing its balance. It is the colour of an industrial leather work boot, has the cleanest of roasted malts, a molten caramel flavour that oozes down the middle of your palate and a strong hop presence that never takes away from its floral finesse. Like leaving your car parked by the seaside, this rust will simply grow and grow on you. ··· Read more
Style
Amber Ale

Illawarra Pale Ale

Brewing is a certainly a global game these days. Inspired by America, sourced from New Zealand and the US and made in Australia, the Nelson Pale Ale was originally conceived as a seasonal release. With a solid malt body, a crisp, bitter finish and the all-important US/NZ hop hit, it picked up a gold medal at the Sydney Royal Beer competition and a bronze at the 2012 AIBA. That was plenty to convince the brewers that this was worth adding to the permanent range where it remained for several years, before being retired in 2016. ··· Read more
Style
US Pale Ale

Illawarra Wit

Pepper? Check. Clove? Check. Banana? Check. Your nose will let you know you're in Wit country. But, just to be sure, you'll need to taste it. Orange peel... citrus... coriander seeds... this classically-styled beer has more layers than a Belgian monk in winter and a lot more spiciness too. ··· Read more
Style
Witbier

The Specials

Illawarra Brewery Knights Watch Black IPA

Moving with the seasons means more than just the weather these days. There’s the small matter of TV series to keep up with and we're told there’s one called Game of Thrones, which is both rather popular and back on the small screen. To help you through the latest instalments of gore, furrowed brows, mist and boobies in Westeros and Essos, the Illawarra Brewing Company has released something suitably strong and dark. It’s called Knights Watch and it is (as best we can recall) the brewery's first black IPA. At 7.3 percent ABV it’s a substantial effort and one that show little in the way of restraint on the hop front, where they’ve dug deep into their stockpile of American hops – adding Mosaic, Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe and, of course, Warrior. Something appropriately aggressive, then, for your viewing pleasure. Nick O ··· Read more
Style
Black IPA
Strength
7.3%

Released Yesterday

Illawarra Brewery IIPA

There’s change in the air at the Illawarra Brewing Company. Most obvious to the casual observer will be that they’ve then given the brewery and the core range of beers a new, somewhat simpler, black and white look. Less immediately obvious to the regular drinker is that they’ve pegged the core range back slightly, even going so far as to retire the former trophy-winning Koelsch from the lineup altogether. The other significant change it that their head brewer for the past year or so, Chris Sewell, is now their former head brewer, having left the sunny NSW south coast and returned to his Melbourne home. As a parting gift he left one last new beer, a double IPA. In the realms of IIPAs Illawarra’s sits towards the lower end of the spectrum, clocking in at 7.5 percent ABV; hardened hop heads might just call it a straight IPA, but what’s an extra ‘I’ between friends? It’s certainly a busy beer on the hop front, utilising seven different varieties – Warrior, Columbus, Simcoe, ··· Read more
Strength
7.5%
Bitterness
80 IBU
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery

Other stockists TBC

Released Fri Feb 26 2016

Illawarra Brewing Raspberry Lambic

A few months ago, when the Illawarra Brewery released The Inheritance, their interpretation of a Belgian lambic that was nearly two years in the making, we thought that would be the last we heard of it. Not so, because when that original brew was put into barrel it was actually split across several barrels with the intention of one day blending them all. However, the barrel containing what would become The Inheritance was deemed so delicious as to warrant its own unblended release, leaving the remainder to be blended. After two years inside oak, what they had to work with was a handful of individual barrels showing very different characteristics, bookended at one end of the spectrum by a lot of oak and the other by extreme sourness. No single barrel, we’re assured, was sufficiently spectacular to release on its own so they got busy re-working the contents to create something greater than the sum of the parts. To help achieve this, they looked towards the fruit-driven interpretations ··· Read more
Style
Raspberry Lambic style ale
Strength
5.1%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery

Other venues TBC

Released Fri Nov 13 2015

Illawarra Brewing English Mild

At some point during recent months, Illawarra’s head brewer Chris Sewell pondered the brewery’s recent releases and – discounting a lambic which was newly released but brewed two years previous – noted that they consisted of an IPA, session IPA and a trio of golden ales. That range, he reckoned, leaned too far in favour of hops. So for this latest release he’s brought things way, way back the other way by brewing an English style mild ale. Milds aren’t too common around these parts (that is to say, Australia) which is reasonably understandable because there aren’t too many parts of the world where you’d say they are common. And that seems a bit of a shame because they can be such pleasant beers to drink. The style’s two most notable qualities are malt and low alcohol and that’s what you get with Illawarra’s version. A nutty malt character is predominant, followed by hints of caramel, a little roast and a slightly sweet finish. If the malt is a case of everything appearing ··· Read more
Style
Mild
Strength
3.5%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery

Others TBC

Released Mon Nov 9 2015

Illawarra Brewing Aussie Haka

A few weeks ago, the guys at the Illawarra Brewing Company landed on the idea of brewing a beer to release in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. It would be nice, they thought, to have a beer that could be used to both celebrate and commiserate, depending on which side you support and the side of the result you ended up on. Their problem was obviously that, more than three weeks out, they didn’t know who was going to be playing the final. So they sat down, did some analysis of the draw and came to the conclusion – whether through prescience or blind luck – that the deciding match would be between Australia and New Zealand. Lo and behold, that’s exactly how it turned out. The resulting beer is a golden ale ( trophy-coloured, of course) and it’s called Aussie Haka. Being a play on the hop name ‘Azacca’ it’s tempting to put the name down in the ‘Be Sharps’ category – witty at first, but that seems less funny each time you hear it – though it’s certainly more ··· Read more
Style
Golden Ale
Strength
5.0%

Released Sat Oct 31 2015

Illawarra Brewing Smashing Rumpkin 2015

Now a much-loved tradition at the Illawarra Brewery, 2015 represents the fifth year that a version of the Smashing Rumpkin pumpkin ale has been brewed there. Each year the beer is a little different to the last, whether it be a change to the spices used, the variety or quantity of pumpkin, or the way in which rum is used to impart its rumminess. This year it happens to be a little of all of those. To start with, the amount of Jap pumpkin was increased and, rather than roasting it, they threw it all into the brewery’s enormous new smoker and cooked it through that way. The spice mix is no longer the authentic, upstate New York punkin’ pie recipe of yesteryear but a somewhat bolder blend; nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon still feature prominently but out went the coriander and in came star anise and clove. Lastly, they deemed the bold character of the old rum barrels to have died off a bit so, in their place, opted to use rum-soaked oak chips (plus a few extra glugs of spiced rum for good ··· Read more
Style
American Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Strength
5.8%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Other good beer venues in NSW

Released Mon Oct 12 2015

Illawarra Brewing Resin Dog

For the Illawarra Brewing Company’s latest release, brewer Chris Sewell has dipped into the back catalogue, pulled out an old dog and taught it some new tricks. Resin Dog was a session IPA originally brewed for GABS 2014 and it probably flew under the radar at that festival; a circa five percent ABV IPA is always going to struggle to keep a high profile amongst a range of more than a hundred new beers ranging from La Sirene’s Praline to Kaiju’s Where Strides The Behemoth. But on its own, the picture is different. At 5.3 percent ABV, it doesn’t immediately strike you as fitting the “I’ll have two pints with lunch and still be productive in the afternoon” definitions of sessionable. But it’s all relative. When lined up next to Illawarra’s other hoppy pale styles, it’s sandwiched between the Mo & Co. (6.3 percent ABV) and Apocalypso IPAs (5.7 percent ABV) and the regular pale ale (5.1 percent ABV) so in a way it fits its own billing. With plenty of pine, citrus and ··· Read more
Style
Session IPA
Strength
5.3%
Bitterness
35 IBU
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Released Wed Sep 30 2015

Illawarra Brewing The Inheritance

When it comes to inheriting something, most people’s ideal scenario would see them somehow coming into possession of an object whose value is huge in monetary terms and tiny in sentimentality. That or a fat wad of cash. If either failed to eventuate, being left with a barrel filled with several hundred litres of a lambic style beer probably isn’t that bad of a deal. That's what happened to Chris Sewell when he took over the reins as head brewer at the Illawarra Brewing Company. His predecessors, Ashur Hall and Shaun Blissett, had kickstarted and steadily expanded the brewery’s barrel-ageing program, launching beers like the Saison Rouge, Smashing Rumpkin, French Kiss and that beer’s deliberately sour spawn, Jerome. Then somewhere towards the end of 2013 they laid down a lambic-style beer in a French oak Chardonnay barrel, but both brewers departed separately for new roles in the year or so that followed, since when Chris has let the beer sit and bide its time, which has now come. ··· Read more
Style
Lambic-style sour
Strength
5.1%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery (including growler fills)

Released Mon Aug 10 2015

Illawarra Brewing Mo & Co IPA

Keeping with the theme of hop-based experimentation that saw the Illawarra Brewery release a trio of single hop golden ales showcasing varieties from three different countries, brewer Chris Sewell has now released a single beer featuring three different hop varieties. It’s an American IPA so all those hops are, naturally, also American: Mosaic, Simcoe and a new variety, Azzaca (named, apparently, for the Haitian god of agriculture). Mosaic has become increasingly popular in the past year or two thanks to the diverse fruity, earthy and herbal characters it can offer brewers while Simcoe has been a go-to hop in IPAs for more than a decade. Azzaca fits the bill as a third corroborator for an IPA-creating brewer as it offers up big tropical fruit characters and it’s that which Chris believes best describes the beer: “smacking of tropical fruits – pineapple and peach being the main characters people tend to find,” he says. He adds that it “also has slight pine notes from the Simcoe, ··· Read more
Style
American IPA
Strength
6.3%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Released Sat Jun 20 2015

Illawarra Single Hop Golden Ales: Battle of the Pacific

One of the many talents required of a brewer is the ability to turn a problem into an opportunity. New Illawarra brewer Chris Sewell found himself in such a bind when an idea for one beer was scuppered due to the unavailability of certain hop varieties. Instead of tinkering with the recipe, he had a rethink, looked at what hops actually were available and expanded on the idea. Now, instead of one beer, he’s made three which are identical in all but one respect: hops. It’s a single hop series whereby the exact same malt bill – that of a golden ale – and dry hopping regime have been used and the only difference is the variety of hop added. The intention is to showcase the unique characters of each hop, making them perfect for a side-by-side comparison. The series has been nicknamed the Battle of the Pacific, with Ella hops coming from Australia, Chinook from the USA and Japanese variety Sorachi. According to Chris, Ella is the easiest-drinking of the trio and you can expect subtle ··· Read more
Style
Golden Ale
Strength
4.8%
Bitterness
26 IBU
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery (Growlers)

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Released Wed May 27 2015

Illawarra Brewing Smashing Rumpkin 2014

With many people’s fondness for sweets diminishing with age, along with it goes much of the excitement surrounding Halloween. But a spooky season trend that can get adults excited again is the growing number of pumpkin beers released towards the end of October. One of the finest annual examples in Australia comes from the Illawarra Brewing Company in the form of the Smashing Rumpkin. Theirs is a recipe that’s been developing over the past four years, during which time it’s experienced both major and minor tweaks. The most significant was in 2012 when they began aging the beer in rum barrels then in 2013 when they played with a different spice mix - a genuine upstate New York family recipe belonging to one of the brewers’ mothers. For the 2014 version, the barrel and spices still feature front and centre but, as usual, there’s been some more fine-tuning. The spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger was apparently “bastardised” while the amount of pumpkin was increased ··· Read more
Style
Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Strength
6.0%

Released Sat Oct 18 2014

Illawarra Brewing IPL

Just when you thought you had a grasp of what an IPA was, along comes the IPL... The India Pale Lager style (which isn’t really a real style at all if you ask many purists) is pitched as a cross between lagers and highly hopped New World IPAs. The thinking, as the brewers from the Illawarra Brewing Company tell us, is that cold lager yeast fermentations present a neutral yeast flavour which not only highlights the hops but gives you a platform to show off how good your hops really are. It's pretty much what Moon Dog's biggest seller, Love Tap, is and there have been the odd ones here and there around Australia recently too. Joining the small but growing clan is a mighty fine (and mighty hoppy) turn from Illawarra. It's one that uses hops all from West Coast USA, so are naturally born to perform in an IP kind of manner. With an assertive bitterness of 75 IBUs, this is no easy-drinking four percent quaffer. It is rather refreshing though, with citrus, lychee and stone fruit characters featuring ··· Read more
Style
India Pale Lager
Strength
6.4%
Bitterness
75 IBU

Released Fri Oct 17 2014

Illawarra Brewing Penny Pincher

Fairly or unfairly, Scotland has a reputation for - amongst other things - miserable weather, a heavy drinking culture and its people's fondness for thriftiness. Here then, is a beer which takes a certain self-deprecating view of all those things. The Penny Pincher from the Illawarra Brewing Company is a Scottish Export Ale (not to be confused with the country's other favoured styles: Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, Wee Heavy and Tennents Lager). Released at the tail end of winter, it was brewed specifically as a cool weather tipple and, as such, it's a dark ale that's absolutely packed to the gunwales with aromatic and caramel malts, layer upon layer of them. This is a beer that will warm you through (and will benefit from warming in the glass) but manages to do so without big alcohol; at 5.5 percent ABV, it's surprisingly light considering how much flavour fits in your mouth. At the risk of fuelling the stereotypes further by suggesting they've squeezed every last drop of flavour out of this ··· Read more
Style
Scottish Export Ale
Strength
5.5%

Released Thu Sep 11 2014

Illawarra Brewery Love Bug

Never let it be said that the guys at the Illawarra Brewing Company don't love you. This Valentine's Day gone, instead of spending the day buying romantic gifts for their partners, they were tinkering away at the brewery with beer, barrels and bacterial fermentation to produce the fittingly named Love Bug. It's a Berliner Weiss that started life as 50/50 blend of barley and wheat malts, brewed with the Illawarra house yeast, before being transferred to Hungarian oak barrels and infected with Lactobacillus. It spend some time there brooding before, a few weeks prior to being released, raspberries were blended into the barrels to produce a beer that's simultaneously tart, sweet and fruity. At just 6 IBUs the bitterness is practically nonexistent and at 4 per cent abv it's eminently quaffable. NO ··· Read more
Style
Berliner Weisse
Strength
4.0%

Released Mon Jun 2 2014

Illawarra Brewing Company Voracious Herbaceous

While consumption itself is generally the ultimate reward for a drinker, there is often - and certainly now more than ever - something innately pleasurable about simply ordering a beer. That's because as the creativity has flowed from the brewers into the brews, so has what goes onto a label. As a result some wonderful beer names abound, replete with luscious words like 'Imperious', 'Pernicious' and 'Girthsome', to mention but a few. That such delicious language so often suits the beer beneath the label is no coincidence, and so it is with the latest release from Wollongong's Illawarra Brewing Company; a Golden Ale named Voracious Herbaceous. As the title suggests, this brew has been rather busy devouring great quantities of hops. The brewers have added plenty of Australian and American varieties to leave a beer abound with tropical flavours like passionfruit and citrus. While there's a good dose of hop oil and resin in this one, at 4.8 percent ABV the Voracious Herbaceous still manages ··· Read more
Style
Golden Ale
Strength
4.8%

Released Thu Apr 3 2014

El Illawarra Brewing Compano Coffee Porter

Having decided to create a Coffee Porter for their latest limited release, the brewing team at Illawarra searched far and wide for the perfect coffee. Shaun and Ashur set off on a global jaunt to find the perfect beans, trekking high and low through the mountains of Central and South America to find the the plants that will deliver just what they needed for the beer. Okay, so that's not strictly true. But they did leave the brewery. And the creation of said Coffee Porter has been a pretty involved process. Using locally roasted Delano coffee (from right outside their Brewhouse), they spent they after day conducting eight hour cold presses in their coolroom, figuring it was the most efficient and purest way to obtain the true flavour of coffee. We're told the resultant beer is "rich and robust, with striking coffee and chocolate notes under a beautiful creamy tan head." As one might expect, hopping has been kept to a minimum to showcase the malt and coffee, and we are also told ··· Read more
Style
Coffee Porter
Strength
6.0%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewing Company

Little Prince

Royal Albert Hotel

Frankie's Pizza

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Released Wed Mar 5 2014

Illawarra Brewing Jerome O.G.

You know that feeling when there's something different about someone but you just can't quite place it? They're still familiar, but somehow altogether different. Maybe they've just had a haircut or shaved their beard. Or maybe they've had a life-changing experience, like being locked up inside a dark place for the past six months. Well, the last of these is exactly the fate that befell Jerome. It all harks back to the 2013 GABS festival when the Illawarra Brewing boys released their oak-aged Shiraz barrel saison, French Kiss. This beer, Jerome, was an original experimental trial batch for that beer. Having since been tortured - sorry, inoculated - with a lambic culture, it's been sitting, waiting, brooding in one of those old Shiraz barrels for more than half a year. And now it's been released, in all its mutant Lambic Saison glory. Dark, malty, dry, tart, funky and fascinating, Jerome is just the sort of wild companion you'd want on these warm summer days. ··· Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Saison
Strength
6.5%

Released Wed Dec 4 2013

Illawarra Smashing Rumpkin

When you read through list of ingredients that went into the Illawarra Brewing Company's Smashing Rumpkin, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd mixed it up with the shopping list for your mother's kitchen pantry; nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, ginger. But there's no mistake - although you'd actually be half right too. That's because, for their annual pumpkin ale, the boys from Illawarra once again turned to brewer Ashur Hall's mother's pumpkin pie spice mix (being from upstate New York, she evidently has some pumpkin pie pedigree) to give the necessary authenticity to the brew. With 2013 being the third year in which they've brewed the beer - and the second time they've aged it in old Rum barrels - they've had a chance to ponder feedback from previous efforts and make some refinements. Much of that has to do with more focus having been put on the cinnamon and nutmeg - those apparently being the things that really make a pumpkin pie taste like a pumpkin pie. The other obvious thing required ··· Read more
Style
American Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Strength
5.0%
Stockists

The Local Taphouse St Kilda

Illawarra Brewing Company

The Albion Hotel

[The Local Taphouse Darlo](/beer/bar/the-local-taphouse-darli

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Released Thu Oct 31 2013

It's hard to say exactly where the genesis for this beer came from, but we have it on good authority that it had a great deal to do with one of the staff members of Darlinghurst's Local Taphouse starring in this video. Beyond that, it's really anyone's guess. But what we know for certain is that this is the second collaboration between Wollongong's Illawarra Brewing Company and the staff from one of Sydney's finest beer bars. Following on from the very well received Chuck Norris Red Ale, the Taphouse crew again headed south for an interactive brew day. Who knows if it was the unusually hot Spring weather or the fresh and fruity smell of the hops drifting through the air that gave them inspiration, but a tropical theme was settled on and the beer style the collaborators chose was a Golden Ale. The resulting brew has been described to us as 'a tropical buffetâ?, which we inference as having much to do with the four varieties of hops that were used; Wai-iti, Amarillo, Citra and Galaxy. ··· Read more
Style
Golden Ale

Released Thu Oct 17 2013

Illawarra Brewing Hefe

They're becoming the sort of thing you can set your watch by at Illawarra, such is the regularity with which new beers make their merry way from the minds of Shaun and Ashur into tank, keg, schooner and grateful gullet. Hot on the heels of their Double IPA comes this Hefe, a style that, as sure as the 26C days in Melbourne, is a sign that winter is passed and warmer days are coming. Being Illawarra, there's a bit of a New World twist on this Old World Bavarian style, with relatively new Kiwi hop Wai-iti adding "touches of kiwifruit and citrus" to the more traditional yeast-driven qualities you'd expect, such as bubblegum, banana and clove. It's a beer that pays homage to the 11th century and modern day brewing too, they tell us. It's also out and about around NSW now. ··· Read more
Style
Hefeweizen
Strength
5.4%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewing Company

Forest Lodget Hotel

The Local Taphouse Darlo

Others TBC

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Released Mon Sep 2 2013

Illawarra Brewing Apocalypso's Big Brother Double IPA

With the Apocalypso IPA a runaway hit down at the Illawarra Brewery since its release earlier this year, the brewers have decided to step things up and release a Double IPA, informally known as 'Apocalypso's Big Brother' or, as we like to think of it at Crafty Towers 'Megapocalypso'. Yet these beers are brothers more by name than nature. Sure, they're both IPAs, but where the Apocalypso is a toned athlete that's been raised on a diet of careful moderation, the Double IPA has spent a lot more time in the gym and might've even gotten into the 'roids at some point. You know there's plenty of sweetness underneath that muscular frame, but there's a level of aggression that needs negotiation first. So, while they're brothers, you wouldn't pick them as such from a lineup. For starters, the Double is 8.5 per cent ABV and has a rather lip-puckering bitterness of 84 IBUs. And, with the exception of the Calypso hop, the hop regime in the DIPA is entirely different to Apocalypso as El Dorado, Tomahawk ··· Read more
Style
Double IPA
Strength
8.5%
Bitterness
84IBU

Released Thu Aug 15 2013

Illawarra Brewing Oatmeal Stout

By most accounts, the winter of 2013 has been unseasonably pleasant for the folks in Wollongong. With daytime temperatures consistently hitting the low twenties, it's the kind of weather that'd have you reaching for the beach towel rather than a thick coat. Nonetheless, it is still, technically, winter. And the guys at Illawarra Brewing figured they should do doing their part to ensure that Wollongongers don't miss out on one of the most enjoyable aspects of the cool season, namely cosying up with a nice glass of stout. An oatmeal stout, to be specific. Pretty much everything about this beer is dark, with the malts giving you notes of chocolate, toffee and coffee. And as you'd expect from the brewers having dropping a whole bunch of oats into the brew, it's a very smooth and creamy beer - especially so when served on nitrogen. At 5.9 per cent abv, it's got just a little heat and a little sweet for those cold days. NO ··· Read more
Style
Oatmeal Stout
Strength
5.9%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewing Company

Others TBC

Released Fri Aug 2 2013

Illawarra Wilkinson's Curse

Do you remember where you were when he took that kick? Were you moments away from crying into a schooner somewhere Down Under, or about to dance with joy somewhere on the other side of the world? While all rugby fans will remember Johnny Wilkinson's extra time drop goal to claim the World Cup for England in 2003, many probably don't remember what happened afterwards. Having reached the top of the world, poor old Wilko started to fall apart: broken shoulder, haematoma in the arm, medial ligament damage, another shoulder injury, appendix removal, groin problem, torn adductor muscle, knee ligament (again), kidney damage, twisted ankle, more shoulder surgery, knee ligament (again!), shoulder again and a dislocated knee. Bloody hell. With that sort of run, you'd say he's pretty unlucky. Then again, could it be a curse? Could it be some sort of comeuppance for having ripped the heart out of so many Australians in their own home? It seems the guys at Illawarra Brewing think so because, to mark ··· Read more
Style
Pilsner
Strength
4.5%

Released Tue Jun 18 2013

Illawarra French Kiss

As it sits there with you at the bar, you'll dwell for a moment as you gaze longingly unto it, taking in its beauty. Then you'll make your move; smooth and slow, but determined. Anticipation turns to excitement as you lean in, then you smell it, that hint of fresh spice, not Old Spice. It's the kind of enchanting aroma you'd expect from those French origins, sweet with a slightly yeasty tinge. Eyes closed, eyes open - it doesn't matter. There's a fumbled excitement as it touches your tongue. The world opens. Taken aback in the first instant, you go with the motion and things start to change. Your mouth is full. It's smooth, malty, a little oaky and strangely drying. Maybe not quite what you expected, but that's ok because you're up for trying new things. You'll be intoxicated - a little by passion, a little by alcohol - but you'll enjoy having that gentle warmth to wrap your lips around. After a while you'll find yourself loosening up a little, enjoying it more as you discover all the ··· Read more
Style
French Saison
Strength
6.6%

Released Wed Jun 5 2013

Illawarra Brownish Bomber

It's a brown ale. Or is it? As Shaun Blissett from Illawarra Brewing tells us, apparently in US beer competitions there are certain characters a brown ale must have in order to be classified a 'true' brown ale. Everything else claiming brown-ness but not fitting the technical definition gets reclassified to a separate category: Texas Brown Ale. It's a nice way of saying that it doesn't quite fit in and that's probably what you could say about Milo Kerrigan. The former (and, it should be said, fictional) boxer nicknamed 'The Brownish Bomberâ? was as famed for his 27 knockouts - two of which he inflicted on opponents - as he was for his 'expert' television punditry on all manner of subjects. As a tribute to this Aussie cult figure, the boys from Illawarra have brewed a Texas Brown Ale and named it The Brownish Bomber. The beer itself is indeed brown and uses all US hops, including the new El Dorado variety which gives a fruity, citrus punch. It's got a classic malt base that should keep ··· Read more
Style
Texas Brown Ale
Strength
5.9%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewing Company (growler fills)

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Harts Pub

The Local Taphouse Darlo

[The Albion Hotel](/be

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Released Mon May 6 2013

Illawarra / Local Taphouse Chuck Norris

A beer made in 2013 but born in 1940, for that is the year that Chuck Norris was created. And this beer, surely, wouldn't be the same without Him. It's a beer created between the Illawarra Brewing Company and the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst when a bus load of staff from the latter took a trip down to the former's Wollongong brewery. Why the Chuck Norris obsession? We're not exactly sure, but when it comes to all things Norris we know enough to know that questioning Him will only result in trouble. Instead, let's just be content that we've got a brand new single hop American red ale on our hands, and one He could be well proud of. The bitterness is crisp like His uppercut, the malt body is serious and well defined and the hops hit like a kick to the solar plexus - or more accurately like a seven hit combo representing the seven different additions of Mosaic hops through the brewing process. But far from flooring you immediately, which it so easily could - this is, after all, named for ··· Read more
Style
American Red Ale
Strength
5.9%

Released Wed Apr 3 2013

Illawarra Apocalypso

The boys at Illawarra Brewing have released what they're tentatively referring to as a 'Summer IPA'. It's an interesting moniker considering it was released only three days before summer officially ended, but let's not get bogged down in the small details. The point we think they're making is that this is an IPA with something different. Perhaps reasoning that we've become like a pack of Pavlov's dogs when it comes to IPAs - where 'IPA' is mentioned our palates automatically go into some sort of anticipatory hop overdrive - they've released something ever so slightly gentler. It's made from all pale malt and hop varieties from the east and west coast of the USA; Mosaic, Belma and Calypso. It's the latter which perhaps shows through the most (and gives rise to the beer's name) by dominating with tropical fruits - the likes of tangerines, citrus, grapefruit and lychee. While Shaun Blissett (one half of the brewing duo) says 'we weren't really keen on it being too bitterâ?, hops were added ··· Read more
Style
American IPA
Strength
5.7%
Bitterness
51 IBU

Released Thu Feb 28 2013

Illawarra Belgian Pale Ale

How do you travel to the forests in Belgium, back in time to ancient Egypt then to the West Coast of the USA without ever leaving Wollongong? The answer is in every glass of the new Belgian Pale Ale from the Illawarra Brewing Company. The BPA could perhaps be considered a little cousin to some big and burly Belgian pale styles; full for sure, but not too challenging. On the nose you'll catch a whiff of the fruity esters that come from the Ardennes yeast; imagine yourself skipping carefree through Belgium's Ardennes forest in full bloom with ribbons in your hair and a wicker basket full of cloves and bananas and you'll be on the right track. Also classically Belgian is the malt billing which provides a foundation for the yeast and hop balance, hops which add plenty to this beer's (new) worldly charm. The recently-developed USA-grown variety Zythos - the ancient Greek word for the ancient Egyptian word for beer - have been used to give tangerine, pine and grapefruit flavours and make for ··· Read more
Style
Belgian Pale Ale
Strength
6.0%

Released Tue Feb 19 2013

Illawarra Saison du Soleil

The last time the boys at Illawarra played with saison yeast, for the 2012 GABS festival, we ended up with the rip-roaring Saison Rouge. Well, they've been at it again and have a little something to help ease your thirst as summer 2013 heats up to record levels. Called Saison du Soleil, or 'Season of the Sun', it's very much an Australian interpretation of the old continental saison style. Firstly there's the all-Australian malts, flaked wheat and spelt, then there's the Aussie and Kiwi hops which bring out the fruity characters; think along the lines of pine, orange and citrus. Here, those hops add quite a pronounced whack of bitterness and contribute to a bit more fullness than might be expected from a traditional saison. Not that there's no tradition; the brewers' favourite French saison yeast was used, but fermented at a relatively low temperature which contributes to a lingering, dry finish. With enough lightness to be a quencher but a big enough body to make sure it's noticed, Illawarra's ··· Read more
Style
French Farmhouse Ale
Strength
5.5%

Released Tue Jan 22 2013

Illawarra "Slasher" McKay P.A.

Summer 1960/61, Fourth Test Match, Adelaide Oval. Australia down to their last wicket against a rampaging West Indies pace attack. With the series locked, Australia need to hang on to take the series to a deciding Fifth Test. At the batting crease were Lindsay Kline and Ken "Slasher" McKay - an ironic nickname for a man known for his staying power rather than attacking verve. For over 100 minutes the pair held firm and, on the final delivery, McKay elected to take the ball on his ribcage rather than chance an edge or LBW. The test was drawn and Australia went on to win the series. In homage to these late Australian heroics, Illawarra Brewing Co have created the 'Slasherâ? McKay.P.A, with a local malt backbone and full batting line-up of Australia's best finishing hops; Summer, Stella, and Galaxy. That Aussie stayer of bittering hops, Super Pride, was also integral in the design and naming of the beer. In fact, this beer is so focused on Aussie hops that they were added at every ··· Read more
Style
Aussie IPA
Strength
6.6%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewing Company

Bitter & Twisted Festival

The Albion Hotel

More to follow...

More stockists...

Released Tue Oct 30 2012

Illawarra Smashing Rumpkin

In the early 90's, a bunch of American Bourbon Whiskey oak barrels turned up in Australia. Seizing the opportunity for a slight career change they found their way to Queensland where, like a heaven-sent pirate, they spent the next 20 years filled with rum. After a well-lived life in the the spirit game, they moved south to Wollongong where the guys from Illawarra Brewing Company found them a new gig in their brewery, working closely with their 2012 Pumpkin Ale... Brewing a Pumpkin Ale is something of an annual tradition for IBC and the oak barrels gave them a chance to play with the recipe more than usual. Brewer Ashur Hall's mum's special spice mix (think allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and coriander seeds) was kept on, but they doubled the amount of pumpkin from the 2011 version and let the oak ageing 'go nutsâ?. The charred interior of the barrels gives off a smoky character on the nose but drinkers will likely be more concerned with the vanilla, coconut, sweet spice and cinnamon ··· Read more
Style
American Spiced Pumpkin Ale
Strength
5.5%

Released Thu Oct 18 2012

Illawarra Koelsch (retired)

There’s one in every family – the overachiever. Good looking, sophisticated, always winning awards. That’s the Koelsch alright. It picked up the trophy for Best in Class at the 2012 AIBA, a gold medal at the AIBA and gold at the Sydney Royal Beer competition. Medium bodied, golden straw coloured, unfiltered, citrus, pear and a hint of malt – this is everything it needs to be. After forming part of the core range for several years, it was retired in 2016 and will only return on special occasions. ··· Read more
Style
Kolsch

Illawarra Saison Rouge

What to do when someone asks you to brew something you've never been made before and release it to thousands upon thousands of people at a beer festival? Saison Rouge is the answer. Illawarra Brewing Company's entry for the 2012 GABS Festival was a Belgian-inspired saison that leaned heavily on stewed, dried fruit and specialty Belgian malts. Scoffing in the face of the winter event and any natural inclination towards dark, heavy beers, the Saison Rouge is clean, fruity, crisp and utterly drinkable despite a 7 per cent-plus ABV. Unsurprisingly, it is entirely unique and proved a big hit with punters. ··· Read more
Style
Fruit-infused Saison
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Released Fri May 11 2012

Illawarra Abbey Brune

It seems the boys from Illawarra have a bit of a thing for Belgians. Hot on the heels of their Saison Rouge comes another Belgian-style brew, though this one is at a very different point in the spectrum. Called Abbey Brune, it's the IBC version of a Dubbel. Keeping things neatly within the 'double' theme, two yeasts were thrown at it as well as hops from two distinct origins, US and Continental. These all meet in the middle to provide the necessary balance and a pleasing herbal aroma. The dark colour of the brew comes not from dark candy sugar but - in another 'double' reference - from two types of malt; Belgian Special B and German Caramunich. You could never claim this beer to be lacking in character. At 7.6 per cent, it'll give you double the trouble the next morning, but it's deceptive sessionability means you're also twice as likely to want another one. ··· Read more
Style
Abbey Dubbel
Strength
7.6%
Stockists

Illawarra Brewery Bar

Released Wed Jul 4 2012

Illawarra Draught Ale (retired)

The recommended first port of call on a trip through the Illawarra beers, this Aussie Pale Ale is a crisp, clean, easy drinker. It has the lighter characters you might expect from this style: citrus, lemon, melon and a dash of pepper or hint of spice. The subtlety of these elements allows the flavours of the wheat malt to shine through. Picture yourself during summertime at the brewery bar, looking out over the beach and the ocean, with one hand clutching a pint of Draught Ale - that about says it all. With the addition of a summer ale to the range, the draught ale went out of regular production in 2015. ··· Read more
Style
Australian Pale Ale

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