Nick O / 21.09.12
When owners Karen and Dave Golding made the decision to close the cellar door at Red Hill earlier this year, there was a genuine outpouring of sadness within the local beer community. Yet, while it was undoubtedly a disappointment to hear that one of the finest settings in the country in which you could enjoy a beer was shutting its doors, by no means was it time to put the funeral dirges on repeat.
The reason they took the decision to close was to seek a better work/life balance; as in: actually having one. With the cellar door and café backing directly onto their house, it was always difficult to separate business and daily family life.
But if every cloudy beer has a silver lining, the cellar door closure brought the promise of new opportunities. First and foremost, with just a fraction more time on their hands, the team was able to start work on some new recipes. One of those, the Red Hill Pilsner, has just been unveiled as the fourth beer in their range of year round releases. In addition, the quantity of beer normally swallowed up by visitors to the cellar door was suddenly freed up for bottling and distribution – including to interstate venues. For a brewery that, in seven years of operation, rarely sent beer outside of the Melbourne area, that was pretty big news in itself.
So, as the Goldings mingled with guests at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst for their official Sydney launch, it was easy to empathise with their jovial nature. As Karen admitted: “It’s pretty exciting because we really don’t get to do this stuff often."
Having been starved of the Goldings' beers for so long seems to have generated a bit of a thirst within the Sydney market; already the brewery has been fielding calls from plenty of folks that had tried to get their beer over the years and have finally gotten wind that they’re within reach. With such interest being shown already, it looks like there will be plenty of opportunities for Sydney drinkers to get acquainted with Red Hill without having to make a trip to Melbourne; the night after their Ale Stars appearance Karen and Dave were across town in The Rocks pouring and talking beers with the punters at Harts Pub.
For those back in Victoria and within easy reach of the brewery, they’re staying true to their promise not to keep their doors closed permanently with the first Open Weekend being held on October 13 and 14. They’re throwing open the doors once more to celebrate Oktoberfest, of course, and will have five German brews available on tap – Kolsch, Wheat Beer, Weizenbock, Sticke Alt and the new Pilsner. There will be food from the team at Phat Brats and prizes for the best themed dress too.
(Photo at top is of Karen and Dave Golding at their last Secret Stash Weekend.)