Perched on the cusp of Woolloongabba and South Bank, on the corner of Stanley Street and Annerley Road, Brewhouse Brisbane represents everything a pub should be. There’s no defined or predictable demographic, there are brews to comfort the lager lovers and excite the beer geeks, they show all of the sports (if you’re into that sort of thing) and their food menu stacks up neatly next to both diners and fine dining restaurants alike.
Want to sit indoors? Suit yourself. Outside? Hell yeah, dog! Want to smoke and drink simultaneously and pretend you don’t live in (arguably) the most conservative state in the country? BLEND THOSE DREAMS, BABY.
When hoteliers Michelle and Grant Clark moved Brewhouse Brisbane – at the time already five years of age – from the CBD and took over the Clarence Corner in 2010, the building was already more than one hundred years old. It had a rough aesthetic and (so much, oh God, so much) room for improvement. So, in a city where so many beautiful corner pubs have been destroyed and replaced with, essentially, big modern garbage bins, it’s a real treat to watch small businesses restore, renovate and happily work within the walls of such structures – and the Clarks have done just that.
The latest round of renovations has resulted in the Brewhouse that sits there today, and some very clever design has made the most of the large venue. Industrial copper piping streaks through a space housing an array of plant life and furniture – of both the dining and reclining persuasions. The transition between the indoor and outdoor is seamless, there’s plenty of functional spaces and much more natural light than is normally enjoyed in a Queensland pub.
A “fresh is best” mentality powered their former brewery in Albion and fuelled the decision to move the 10 hectolitre setup to West End in 2015 – a huge operation that provided a more comfortable and accessible home for Brisbane Brewing Co. Whilst a success in its own right, the brewery, now mere minutes away from the Woolloongabba site, remains to be the provider of the majority of the beers available on tap at the Brewhouse.
Sixteen taps sure seems like a lot, but once you tap BBCo’s core range, their seasonal and small batch releases, a couple of ciders and a few guest taps, there’s quickly no room left. The guest taps rotate regularly and brewers Brendan Chan and Simeon Bonetti have crafted a consistent core range (led by their award-winning Walker IPA) and are always coming up with new, often borderline insane, ideas for small batch brews. It is no secret amongst those in the Brisbane beer scene that some (a lot) of them are inspired almost exclusively by puns, which the lads have a phenomenal knack for conjuring.
The array becomes more expansive still when you step into the Brewhouse Bottle O. Open seven days a week right through to midnight, it’s stacked high and wide with a selection of beers, wines and spirits. And, should you have found a favourite on one of those 16 taps, they’ll fill growlers or PET riggers with draught beer for you to take home too.
Beers aside, Brewhouse is still a pub, and pubs need food. Of course, with state legislation stipulating that “pub meals have, at the very least, gotta be served in the same financial year they’re cooked”, the desire to create a fine dining experience in a casual environment is one that is entirely self-motivated. Brewhouse Brisbane has such motivation. With a solid list of local suppliers and a full kitchen handy, they’ve assembled an extensive food menu that takes all dietary requirements into consideration without a loss of creativity. We’re talking jus, reductions, slow roasting and the use of butterfly as a verb which is, objectively, incredibly cool. Snacks, sides, share plates, entrees, mains, desserts, matchings; it’s a schmick selection that complements both the beer list and venue itself, so get involved.
Brewhouse Brisbane has also undeniably been one of the driving forces behind the coupling of craft beer and good food in Brisbane. Their long-standing Sniff & Sip event showcases a different brewery each month by matching their brews to multiple courses designed by the Brewhouse chefs. No brewery is off limits, and anything goes as far as what’s on the plate is concerned. It’s the Coen Brothers film of craft beer events: heartwarmingly strange with a cult following of odd bedfellows and a repeat cast of wet whistles and dry jokes (but you know, that’s just, like, one opinion, man).
In what is evidently the next phase of the craft beer industry in Brisbane, it is important to acknowledge the venues that have been, are, and hopefully will continue to be, a staple in the consumption of good beer. Brewhouse Brisbane is one such place, the “local’s local”, and its unwavering devotion to the craft community and the entire industry behind it is worth celebrating. Over a beer there, of course.