Proof that size doesn't matter. In a shed at the bottom of a driveway in Melbourne's outer suburbs, with tanks cooled by water from the backyard swimming pool, began the story of Kooinda – a tiny brewery producing a big, big beer.
In the middle of the last decade, a group of mates decided their home brewing skills were worthy of a wider audience and spent their spare time over several years amassing, designing and building a brewery with the help of friends and family. Finally – having produced six kids between them in the meantime – they secured a license and released the first batch of their full-bodied, richly malty and highly hopped Pale Ale in 2008.
Kooinda later moved its operation to an industrial unit in the north of Melbourne, since when the founders have left in stages and new owners have taken up the reins. The move allowed the brewery to convert part of its warehouse into a brewery bar, complete with occasional live music, a big screen TV often showing major sporting events, and plenty of seating, from comfy old sofas to tables covered in brewery paraphernalia.
Opening hours are limited due to licensing constraints, but head along when it is open – for example for the weekly Kooinda Sessions – and it's a great place to sample a wide range of their beers as fresh as can be.
In 2016, the new owners undertook a total brand refresh and, later, after a period in which they took the decision to outsource the brewing of its core beers to BrewPack, allowing the brewers in Heidelberg West to focus on creating new and experimental releases, they brought everything back in house in the second half of 2017, adding new beers to their core lineup and moving from bottles to cans.