Boatrocker Brewery

Regular readers of The Crafty Pint will know all about Boatrocker already. Launched as a brewing company back in 2009, with its beers brewed at Southern Bay, its co-founder Matt Houghton has written a series of features about the trials, tribulations and excitement of starting a brewery (read them here). Today, he and wife Andrea are owners of their own brewery in Melbourne's south east.

The story started with the launch of Alpha Queen, a hoppy American inspired ale with an old world malt backbone, that set out Boatrocker's stall as a brewer of beers with character. When the brewery's second beer, Hoppbier - a New World pilsner inspired by Matt's time living in Northern Germany, promptly won a gold medal at the Australian International Beer Awards, it was clear it was a story worth following.

The Hoppbier is only an occasional release now (thanks to a shortage of the Riwaka hops that lent it much of its charm), but the Alpha Queen has now been joined by the Hop Bomb IPA and the Big Love Suburban Red and Suburban Pale (formerly Smash!), the last of these sessionable beers under a second banner launched following investment from Made by HAND, a business launched by the men who launched Little Creatures. Yet such beers hint more at the businessman in Matt than the brewer; they're beers designed to have widespread appeal in the beer world, whereas his true love is for Belgian styles.

Matt has made multiple visits to Belgium to visit breweries large and small in an attempt to learn the tricks of the trade. The intention is to release a wide range of Belgian styles, from Australian versions of lambics to bruins and beyond. As such, before he'd even put the first test brew through his brewery, he was already the proud owner of 60 wine barrels and, towards the end of 2015, opened the doors of a dedicated Barrel Room with its own bar in which he plans to have up to 70,000 litres of beer ageing in oak at any one time.

Even before the Barrel Room opened, all manner of barrel-aged beers have appeared, from the low ABV Chardonnay barrel-aged, trophy winning Berliner Weisse Mitte to the all-conquering whisky barrel-aged Ramjet imperial stout, Banshee barley wine, a brett saison and more as the Houghtons – aided by their new business partners – establish Boatrocker as one of the most exciting breweries to watch in Australia.

Name
Boatrocker Brewery
Address

51 Macbeth Street
Braeside
VIC 3195

Phone
(03) 9580 4339
Website
Tours

By appointment

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Pints For Pots At Boatrocker

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Boatrocker Brewery Regulars

Boatrocker Brewery Jungle Jive

Tapped April 28th, 2017
Having relegated the Hop Bomb IPA from its core packaged range, Boatrocker has wasted little time in adding a new IPA to said lineup. In keeping with the times and, indeed, with the brewery's ethos, it comes with a funky twist. Jungle Jive is a sour IPA, a beer that started out being soured in the kettle before being joined by hops down the line – late enough to impart their fruity aromas and flavours without adding bitterness that could clash with the acidity. The result is something of a wolf… Read more
Style
Sour IPA
Strength
5.8%
Bitterness
10 IBU
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Flight Bar Bendigo

And select craft beer stockists

More stockists...

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau

Tapped November 4th, 2015
Given their growing popularity with Australian brewers and drinkers – and Boatrocker's love of all things Belgian – it's perhaps a little surprising that, two and a half years after installing his brewery in Braeside, Matt Houghton and his team still hadn't released a saison. There had been some teasers along the way – we seem to recall a brettanomyces saison making an appearance at a Good Beer Week event – but nothing on any grand scale. So now they're rectifying things with two takes on… Read more
Style
Saison
Strength
6.4%

Boatrocker Brewery Miss Pinky

Tapped March 10th, 2015
The sour German beer style Berliner Weisse is proving rather popular with Aussie brewers these days. First released on a relatively wide scale by Feral in the guise of their Watermelon Warhead, it's been attempted with varying degrees of success by many brewers since. And it looks like Braeside's Boatrocker is making a stab at becoming something of a Berliner Weisse specialist with Miss Pinky becoming its third in March 2015 on the back of the pretty regularly released Mitte and the Orange Sherbet… Read more
Style
Raspberry Berliner Weisse
Strength
3.4%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Public Brewery

Cellar Door Ringwood

Brewhouse Brisbane

And select outlets around Victoria and Queensland

More stockists...

Boatrocker Mitte

Tapped October 9th, 2013
One of the first and now most frequently appearing of the beers from the Boatrocker barrel beer program is this take on the Berliner Weisse style. The beer begins with a sour mash whereby the grains are left in the mash tun over a day or more to allow natural lactic acids to develop before the brewing process recommences. When it's then been through the kettle, the wort is put into former Chardonnay barrels where it is inoculated with more bugs so that more sour characteristics can develop. Once… Read more
Style
Berliner Weisse
Strength
3.5%

Boatrocker Hoppbier

Not Boatrocker's first beer, but one that first caught the eyes of many when it secured a gold medal at the Australian International Beer Awards soon after release. The Hoppbier is a New World Pilsner inspired by Matt's earlier backpacking days in northern Germany, one that takes the beer garden memories of his youth and brings them up to date with the use of Kiwi Riwaka hops. Enticing but delicate tropical fruit aromas sit atop a simple (as it should be) malt base, all wrapped up with a refreshing… Read more
Style
New World Pilsner
Strength
4.5%
Bitterness
33 IBU

Boatrocker Alpha Queen

The beer that set the boat rocking instantly set Boatrocker apart from the vast majority of brewing companies starting up around the time. No instructions to the brewers to create some standard, inoffensive beer here. Instead a full flavoured American inspired pale ale with rich toffee malts from the British Maris Otter backbone and plenty of US hops to entice you in then finish the beer nice and bitter. Now under control of the brewers themselves, expect it to become even more what Matt always… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
Strength
5.0%
Bitterness
35 IBU

Boatrocker Pale (previously SMASH & Big Love)

A beer that, in a different form, was Boatrocker's entry for the 2012 Great Australasian Beer SPecTAPular (when it stood for Single Malt And Single Hop) has since evolved. Many times, to the point that it became known as the Big Love Suburban Pale and, as of the middle of 2016 has ended up as, simply, Boatrocker Brewery Pale Ale. Tagged as a "New World hop ale", it makes full use of the brewery's custom built hopback to elicit as much stone fruit and tropical aroma as possible from Cascade,… Read more
Style
Summer Ale
Strength
4.4%
Bitterness
28 IBU

Boatrocker Brewery Specials

Boatrocker Barrel Aged Quintet

Tapped September 1st, 2017
Why release one barrel aged beer when you can release five at the same time? Given they've got more barrels filled with liquid to play with than any other brewery in Australia, it's a luxury Boatrocker can take – so it has, with all five featuring some quite lovely new look labels. As for the beers themselves, there's Squeezebox, a barrel aged saison that spent up to 12 months in French oak barriques with the addition of Brettanomyces and pediococcus cultures to develop funk and acidity. The barrel… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Beers
Strength
Various strengths
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

NB: Check ahead with venues to see which of the five they ordered

Boatrocker Brewery Roger Ramjet 2016

Tapped March 29th, 2017
"Get the blue cheese. NOW!" Up went the cry from The Boss as the first sniff and sip of the second vintage of Boatrocker's Roger Ramjet hit home. And with good reason too. While last year's debut of the bourbon barrel take on the brewery's flagship imperial stout (the original Ramjet is aged in whisky barrels) was a good beer – and highly fancied around the beer world – here at Crafty Towers we didn't feel it hit the heights of its sibling. But this time, well... Roger Ramjet Mk II… Read more
Style
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
11.2%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Boatrocker Brewery Orange Sherbet

Tapped March 1st, 2017
Berliner Weisse, not to mention a few other once barely heard of sour styles, are becoming commonplace in the craftier realms of the Aussie beer world these days. Yet it's not that long ago that they were rarer than hen's teeth: just five years ago, the world was yet to meet Watermelon Warhead, for example. Among those pioneering brewers sour fans can thank for their introduction is Matt Houghton of Boatroacker. Not long after commissioning his Braeside brewery he released Mitte, the Chardonnay… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Berliner Weisse
Strength
5.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Harvest Cellars

More stockists...

Boatrocker Brewery Blonde

Tapped February 1st, 2017
Oh, what fun it must be to be Boatrocker Brewery founder Matt Houghton or one of his brewers, making your way up and down aisles of barrels of varying sizes, sampling liquids of various origins and in various states of development, deciding which ones are ready for bottling, which need more time, which will need blending to make a marvellous final product, which would suit an addition of fruit or coffee. Certainly, there are worse ways to spend one's life. The latest wooden vessel to be emptied of… Read more
Style
Sour Blonde
Strength
6.1%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

And select craft beer venues

Boatrocker Brewery Coffee Ramjet 2016

Tapped September 10th, 2016
Earlier this year, at the first Ramjet Day at Boatrocker's Barrel Room, one of the treats served up to guests was a coffee version of the brewery's much-loved barrel-aged imperial stout. And now Coffee Ramjet is being made available to a wider audience. As with straight Ramjet, the beer spent time in Starward whisky barrels before the coffee was added; whole beans were infused into the beer directly – the equivalent of an espresso shot per 330ml bottle. That might sound a lot but, if you've been… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
10.6%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Brewhouse Brisbane

Mill on Constance

More stockists...

Boatrocker Brewery Dark Saison

Tapped September 7th, 2016
They're getting quite the collection of saison style beers under their belt at Boatrocker, from the now core range Saison Bateau to some sour varieties and now this end of Winter / start of Spring bridging release. It's something of a rarity for the Braeside experimentalists these days too: no barrel was harmed in the making of the Dark Saison. Instead, what we have here is a delicate saison yeast going to work with dark malts, topped off with the addition of some mystery spices. And it's the spices… Read more
Style
Spiced Dark Saison
Strength
7.3%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Boatrocker Brewery L.A.B.

Tapped August 13th, 2016
Even before he started brewing in Braeside, Matt Houghton had started amassing barrels. The intention was to develop the largest and most diverse barrel-ageing program in Australia, predominantly to create Belgian inspired ales. Thus, while the Starward barrel-aged Ramjet imperial stout has garnered most attention from beer lovers, it's the barrels containing all manner of strains of bacteria and Brettanomyces that are his real passion as he looks to create lambic style ales, funky saisons, Oud Bruins… Read more
Style
Flanders Red
Strength
7.2%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Some distribution into Brisbane via Calibre

Boatrocker Brewery Pacific Stout

Tapped July 27th, 2016
Now that Thunder Road has won its battle to call one of its beers Pacific Ale, can we expect to see a flood of beers of said nomenclature appearing on shelves? One has to assume so, although quite whether many will choose to use the word Pacific in conjunction with a hefty stout is doubtful. However, for this winter release, Boatrocker felt it was the best way to capture the essence of the beer, given it's a stout featuring Aussie hops Galaxy and Ella. Back before it had a name, it started out as… Read more
Style
Stout
Strength
7.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Bottles out early August 2016

More stockists...

Boatrocker Brewery Elderweisse

Tapped June 6th, 2016
As if it wasn't bad enough living in a house in which their attendance at the musical in Melbourne recently has brought with it relentless renditions of The Sound of Music from wife and daughter, now Boatrocker has gone and released a beer with a name that on first glance (and second and third given the current predicament) looks rather like Edelweiss. As a result, that bloomin' saccharine waltz keeps floating into the Crafty cranium. The beer best be good... What it is is another Berliner weisse… Read more
Style
Elderflower Berliner Weisse
Strength
4.0%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Boatrocker Brewery Yvonne

Tapped June 6th, 2016
He's an old romantic is Boatrocker main man Matt Houghton. Well, not that old, but certainly romantic. Not just in the sense of being keen to pay homage as respectfully as possible to the European brewers from whom he takes inspiration, but sometimes in the naming of his beers too*. Case in point is Gaston, the Chardonnay barrel aged, gently soured, 9 percent ABV saison that's become something of a sleeper hit for the brewery. The beer is named after one of Matt's late, great uncles, and now Gaston's… Read more
Style
Barrel Ages Saison
Strength
6.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

AIBA 2015 Champions Saison à Trois

Tapped May 27th, 2016
For the past few years, the organisers of the Australian International Beer Awards have invited their Australian Champion Brewers to collaborate on a beer to be debuted at the subsequent year's awards. In 2015, the three champs were 4 Pines (Large), Thunder Road (Medium) and Boatrocker (Small), so earlier this year their brewers gathered at Boatrocker to unite their brewing talents. The trio – Chris Willcock of 4 Pines, Marcus Cox of Thunder Road, and Matt Houghton of Boatrocker – decided to… Read more
Style
Amber Saison
Strength
6.5%

Boatrocker Brewery Ramjet 2016

Tapped April 13th, 2016
How far, how fast? It's not much more than a couple of years ago that Matt Houghton dropped off a sample of the first ever Ramjet at Crafty Towers. Later that evening, after a planning meeting with members of the Good Beer Week team, a bottle was cracked. Someone arriving late was handed a glass without knowing what it was. "Wow. What's that? That's amazing; I could put away a pint of that," she said. "It's a new imperial stout from Boatrocker. It's more than 10 percent." "You're… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
11.4%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Select other good beer stockists

Boatrocker Brewery Epice

Tapped April 4th, 2016
Anyone that called into the 2016 Good Beer Week Gala Showcase and stopped by the Boatrocker stall will be aware that they've got plenty of new beers on the go in various stages of readiness. The combo of in progress beers, ready now beers and been around a while beers saw the Braeside brewery take a fourth straight People's Choice title, with the Epice one of the beers that contributed. It's another beer that looks to Matt Houghton's beloved Belgium for inspiration: a blonde ale that, like many beers… Read more
Style
Spiced Belgian Blonde
Strength
5.8%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Boatrocker & Beer DeLuxe Summer in Bruges

Tapped February 29th, 2016
Following in the footsteps of last years' Splice of Heaven with Moon Dog and the tasty red IPA they conceived with Bridge Road, the staff at Beer DeLuxe continue to have the pick of Victoria's top breweries for their occasional collaborations, with their latest joint venture taking place at Boatrocker's Braeside home. The aim was to create a beer appropriate for the hotter months which led them to the Belgian witbier style popularised by Hoegaarden, a wise move given Boatrocker's love of all things… Read more
Style
Witbier
Strength
4.4%

Boatrocker Brewery Gaston

Tapped November 6th, 2015
The last of the flurry of new beers released by Boatrocker around the opening of its Barrel Room is another barrel-aged beer. Like the Brambic we wrote about last week – and, we understand, all future bottled Belgian-inspired, barrel-aged beers from the brewery – it comes with a rather refined looking label, not to mention the cork and cage that's appeared on a number of their beers recently; packaging days must be lots of fun... It's also, for now at least, only available direct from the Barrel… Read more
Style
Farmhouse Ale
Strength
9.0%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Boatrocker Brewery Brambic

Tapped October 30th, 2015
To mark the opening of the Barrel Room, Boatrocker has released the very first beer put through its brewery in 2013. The beer produced that day was transferred into French oak barriques from Yering Station winery since when various strains of Brettanomyces, Pediococcus, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces have been allowed to develop. The aim was to follow as closely as possible the techniques of the traditional lambic brewers of Belgium. Given the name lambic can only technically be given to beers from… Read more
Style
Lambic Style Ale
Strength
5.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Others TBC

Boatrocker Brewery Braeside Crown Cola

Tapped October 22nd, 2015
As the opening of the Boatrocker Barrel Room nears, the number of barrel aged beers from the Braeside brewery is increasing in frequency. Following closely on the heels of Adventus and Roger Ramjet comes Braeside Crown Cola, a beer that borrows its look and, to a degree, some of its flavour characteristics from Royal Crown (or RC) Cola. The brewers started out by making what they call "a classic Scotch ale" – a big, chewy, malty style – that used a yeast from a Scottish brewery. Those… Read more
Style
Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale
Strength
8.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room (coming soon)

Wine Republic Northcote

Hopheads

More stockists...

Boatrocker Brewery Roger Ramjet 2015

Tapped October 21st, 2015
Boatrocker's Ramjet is well on its way to becoming an Aussie cult classic. The Starward whisky barrel-aged imperial stout has a growing band of slavish devotees and has been named People's Choice Best Beer at three consecutive Good Beer Week Gala Showcases. The barrels that helped create the luscious 10 percent plus beer are back at Starward helping create a Ramjet whisky and we believe they will then return to the brewery to make a Ramjet squared (or whatever name they come up with) in the future. For… Read more
Style
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
10.5%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room (opening soon)

Wine Republic Northcote

Hopheads

More stockists...

Boatrocker Brewery Adventus

Tapped September 21st, 2015
All being well, Boatrocker will soon welcome the arrival of its Barrel Room and bar across the road from its Braeside brewery, which you can read all about here. The plan is to kickstart a massive barrel-ageing and sours program there while also opening the doors to the public so they can come and sample a wide range of trophy-winning Boatrocker beers at source. To mark said imminent arrival, the brewery has released a beer called "The Arrival" or, more specifically, Adventus. Originally… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Strong Belgian Ale
Strength
10.2%
Stockists

Boatrocker Barrel Room (when open)

Fox In The Corn

Coach House Ales

Nillumbik Cellars

Mr Beebe's

More stockists...

Boatrocker Big Love Suburban Red

Tapped June 5th, 2015
There's been much to celebrate in the world of Boatrocker in the first half of 2015. The Braeside brewery took out the Champion Small Australian Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards a few weeks after sweeping the People's Choice for the third time at the Good Beer Week Gala Showcase. Boatrocker also celebrated investment from Made By HAND, the business run by several of the men formerly involved in Little World Beverages (Little Creatures), which has been used to accelerate the development… Read more
Style
Amber Ale
Strength
4.5%

Boatrocker Brewery Ramjet 2014

Tapped April 1st, 2015
The all-conquering Ramjet is back! The first vintage of the barrel-aged imperial stout from Boatrocker wowed all beer lovers whose path it crossed, won over by its luscious blend of roast characters, chocolate, vanilla, oak and whisky. And now the 2014 vintage, which was offered to punters as a sneak peak at last month's Good Beer Week Gala Showcase where it promptly won People's Choice Best Beer, is out, initially in bottles and with a seriously limited number of kegs to follow between now and Good… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
10.4%
Stockists

Acland Cellars

More to follow...

Boatrocker Brewery Tripel

Tapped September 26th, 2014
Boatrocker’s love of all things Belgian continues with their latest short run release. The Tripel (or Trippel as it says on the tap decals) follows in the footsteps of the strong Belgian dark ale Sterk & Donker, being almost as strong but of the fairer tripel persuasion and pouring a bright, light golden colour. It also, like many beers of its ilk, seems to bring about a spot of synaesthesia at Crafty Towers in that this viscous liquid not only looks glistening but smells glistening: its combination… Read more
Style
Tripel
Strength
9.6%
Stockists

Keg:

The Terminus

Beer DeLuxe Hawthorn

Forester’s Hall

Carwyn Cellars

Bottles:

Blackhearts & Sparrows

McCoppins

More stockists...

Boatrocker Ramjet

Tapped September 24th, 2013
The third in Boatrocker's recent raft of limited releases is another beast of a beer - the second to tip the scales above 10 per cent, no less. Called Ramjet after the engines that used an extra fuel source to go further, it's an Imperial Stout that takes initial inspiration from the style's home by using all English ingredients. It then deviates a little from tradition in that it spent a couple of months inside former whisky barrels from the New World Distillery. The brewers reckon it adds "quite… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
10.2%

Boatrocker Misfit

Tapped September 24th, 2013
Why release one Belgian style beer into the world when you can release two at the same time? Regular readers of The Crafty Pint may recall a series of travel pieces Matt Houghton from Boatrocker wrote for the site on a trip to Belgium a couple of years ago. While there, he visited a number of breweries, large and small, sampling beers but also picking brains about brewing Belgian styles. Despite having a core range based around hoppy New World styles, he's always maintained that this is where his… Read more
Style
Hoppy Belgian Golden Ale
Strength
6.0%

Boatrocker Sterk & Donker

Tapped September 23rd, 2013
It might sound like a duo of techno producers who would have supported Sven Vath on his 17-hour marathon sessions in Frankfurt in the early 90s, but it turns out Sterk & Donker actually means merely Strong & Dark. One of the first raft of limited releases from Boatrocker's new brewery, it comes with a pretty involved production behind it. Before making the beer, the two Matts that brew Boatrocker beers created their own Belgian style candi syrup, using multiple heat treatments and quick temperature… Read more
Style
Belgian Quad/Abt
Strength
10.5%

Boatrocker Hop Bomb

Long before they finally opened their own brewery, Matt and Andrea Houghton planned to add an IPA to the Boatrocker lineup. They even bounced one name, "Blind Freddy", off us at one point, a name that even we thought might be a little risky for the powers-that-be. In the end, an IPA became one of the first new beers to be brewed at their Braeside home and earned the title Hop Bomb. It's a suitable moniker too for a beer that's packed with New World hops, many of them introduced to the beer… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
6.5%
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