Bankstown Sports Club is reminiscent of a small city. The huge complex is served by a major train station and is home to ten restaurants, eight bars and 65,000 members. Of course, any respectable city needs its own brand of beer – and that’s exactly what the club got in late 2016.
The Basement Brewhouse isn’t technically a brewery, as it’s only responsible for the fermentation part of the brewing process that happens here. The club has installed a SmartBrew system, which consists of four self-cleaning conical fermenters. Fresh wort kits, produced externally, are delivered to the site, where they are pitched and dry hopped by the Brewhouse staff. This avoids filling the venue with the heat and aroma associated with the mashing process, something that could cause discomfort to the club’s other patrons given the fermenters lie in the middle of the complex.
Nevertheless, there is still a degree of control over the wort kits and dry hopping, which allows the venue staff to produce beers that cater to the changing tastes of the locals. Starting off simple to test the waters, the first four beers to launch included a European-style Pilsner, Pale Ale, American Pale Ale and Sparking Ale, hopped with Galaxy.
The four beers pouring fresh from tank to tap are joined by 26 others from craft brewers all around Australia. Eschewing the traditional tap decals, beers are indicated by digital menu boards hanging at either side of the bar. Direct integration with Untappd means punters can check what’s available before they go.
Basement Brewhouse is also able to offer some exciting features not available to venues closer to the CBD. For instance, any of the 30 beers on tap are available to takeaway in 1.89 litre growlers. There are also no lockout restrictions in place here, with the venue open from 11.30am to late every day.
That means there's plenty of time to sit and soak up the atmosphere, whether that’s in a private, barrel-shaped booth complete with television, or in an open plan dining area with a view of the club’s keg-filled cool room. When hunger strikes, there’s a carefully curated menu of upmarket pub food, including meat and cheese boards, burgers, hotdogs and the Brewhouse’s soon-to-be-famous Reuben sandwich.
It was long time coming for the Western Suburbs, but the Basement Brewhouse finally gives locals a craft beer venue to call their own. With their patience rewarded by a bottleshop, bar and quasi-brewery rolled in to one, the standard has been set high for future venues to come.