Grifter Brewing Company

The Grifter Brewing Company of today is immeasurably different to the one that Trent Evans, Matt King and Glenn Wignall launched in 2012. Back then they were simply three friends mixing up home brew recipes in the kitchen with little ambition to be brewers. But timing and circumstance saw them presented with a chance offer to make a commercial batch of their beer in the just-about-to-open Young Henrys brewery in Newtown. It was an opportunity that would ultimately alter the paths of their lives.

They fine-tuned a recipe for a pale ale and launched it with a friendly name, Edward. The first keg sold out in two hours. Six months later they had their own tank in the Young Henrys brewery. Within a year, their flagship ale made it into the top 100 of both critic and consumer-voted best Australian beer lists. Demand for the fledgling brewer outstripped supply and it became clear they would need their own brewery. But that would take time, and plenty of it, so the idea went into a gestational phase while they continued gypsy brewing, slowly growing both their range and reputation.

Early Grifter beers erred towards showcasing hops, from a pair of excellent American IPAs, Marnie’s Majority and Big Sur, to a New Zealand hopped pilsner, Tortoise & The Hop. What followed was a flexing of their brewing muscles as a gamut of styles came in a steady stream of one-off batches; scotch ale to stout, hopfenweizen to Berliner weisse. The pale ale remained their only permanent release.

The impetus for getting their own brewery came when the kit at Young Henrys, the one on which they’d brewed the first ever Grifter beer, came up for sale. They bought it but had nowhere to put it, so it sat in storage for more than a year.

During this time the craft beer world was blossoming around them and other new breweries were capturing attention. Yet the trio continued to keep their heads down and quietly went about their business. You never really saw Grifter at beer festivals. They rarely held events more ambitious than sponsoring the monthly pool competition at their local pub. If you knew the right bars you could get their beer, otherwise they weren’t to be seen.

But things were happening in the background. They had secured a site in a lint-covered warehouse of the former Fresh & Clean laundromat and the brewery equipment had been hauled out of storage. Their lovingly designed label artwork was becoming more refined and cohesive, then expanded to encompass the look of the brewery’s tasting bar. They took the leap away from the security of other employment to work on the brewery full time. It took two full years of planning and sacrifice, but the three former hobby brewers were well on their way to establishing a place with a central focus for the business, where people could be welcomed in to see for themselves what Grifter is all about.

At the very end of 2015, the Grifter Brewing Company finally opened a home of its own in Marrickville. And what a fine home it is.

The site is split roughly in two, with the brewery running the length of the site and acting as something of a moving backdrop. Here they’ve added a few larger tanks to the turnkey system they’d had in storage for so long, allowing them to expand their core range to four beers: pale ale, pilsner, IPA and oatmeal stout. Smaller tanks give flexibility to brew limited release beers and these revolve through the four remaining taps of the eight tap bar. As for the bar space, it’s slick enough to be a standalone parlour in Surry Hills, let alone one attached directly to a working brewery.

Beneath a neon sign the beer menu is presented in the timeless manner of an old movie theatre, its black letters subdued against a glowing orange background. What’s largely a minimalist and industrial grey and black interior is broken by flourishes of colour from bright tiles and coasters. The pool room, hidden around the corner from the bar, has the warmth of being in an old boozer – indeed, the carpet actually came from a local pub that had been stripped out. From comfortingly familiar artwork to branded packs of matches at the bar, the attention to detail across the space is impeccable.

It may have taken them a long time to reach this point, but travelling the longer, slower road has meant the Grifters have had time to develop their ideas and figure out who and what they are as a brewer. And it’s all been worth it as they’ve created something that will serve them for a long time to come.

Nick O

Name
Grifter Brewing Company
Address

1/391 Enmore Road
Marrickville
NSW 2204

Website
Regular events

Food trucks every weekend

BYO food Wednesdays & Thursdays

Hours

Wednesday: 4pm-9pm
Thursday: 4pm-9pm
Friday: 12pm-10pm
Saturday: 12pm-10pm
Sunday: 12pm-8pm

Grifter Brewing Company Regulars

Grifter Brewing Co Pale Ale (cans)

Tapped July 27th, 2017
It’s been five years since the Grifter Brewing Company arrived on the Sydney scene with a beer they called Edward. Back then it was an unfiltered and fairly unassuming, yet unmistakably punchy, Australian pale ale. And, for a beer that had no publicity surrounding it other than word of mouth, it was almost unbelievably popular; the first keg that went on tap was drained within two hours. It became their flagship beer and, for a long while, their only year round release, which even then was a bit… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
5.0%

Grifter Brewing Co Bright Eye

Tapped October 8th, 2014
Even the most ardent beer geek would have to admit there are times when you couldn’t care less if a beer is barrel-aged, wild fermented, spice-infused or a collaboration with your local hairdresser. More hops? No thanks. Sometimes you just want a bloody beer, mate. No fuss, no extras. In truth, that’s probably what most people want most of the time – it seems to work pretty well for the multinational brewers. Now, given that context, should it surprise you to hear the boys at the Grifter Brewing… Read more
Style
Pilsner
Strength
4.4%

Grifter Brewing Co Big Sur IPA

Tapped October 30th, 2013
When you decide to launch a West Coast IPA, there's a prerequisite that you've gotta go big on the hops. For the Big Sur IPA, the guys at the Grifter Brewing Company met that expectation head on and then some with the inspiration apparently coming (and who can be sure how jokingly) from the desire to "experiment with how many hops we could add to the kettle before we blocked the heat exchange". That attempt to bust the brewhouse - courtesy of the Columbus, Citra and Simcoe hop varieties… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
Strength
6.7%

Grifter Brewing Co The Omen

Tapped August 5th, 2013
At times in the craft beer world, there seems to be a race on to brew the most out there beer. These are almost always unique and feature something done to the maximum degree, whether it be enamel-stripping amount of hops, spirit-like levels of alcohol or barrel-aged in a Trojan Horse - you name it, someone will be trying it. But running in parallel to this extreme movement, there also seems to be a growing call for 'sessionability'. It's basically the idea of beer that's jam-packed with interesting… Read more
Style
Oatmeal Stout
Strength
4.0%

Grifter Brewing Co Pale Ale

When the Grifter Brewing Company burst onto the Sydney scene in the middle of 2012, it was with a pale ale they'd named Edward. Unfiltered, using all-Australian hops and originally brewed because they thought it would be something their friends would like to drink, it wasn't necessarily your regular pale by design. But it proved popular. Very popular. So much so, in fact, that the first ever keg ran out within two hours and, in its debut year, Edward made it into both critic and consumer-rated top… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
Strength
5.0%

Grifter Brewing Company Specials

Grifter Brewing Co & Coffee Alchemy Ceremony

Tapped Yesterday
It’s a ceremonious end to 2017 for the Grifter Brewing Company as they see out the year with one last collaboration. It’s one carried out with their friends and near neighbours in Marrickville, Coffee Alchemy, yet it’s not exactly the kind of coffee beer many might expect – at least it’s not if what you’re expecting is a stout topped up with cold drip. Instead, this is a coffee and vanilla infused cream ale. Appearance wise, it’s far lighter than your regular cup of joe – a lighter… Read more
Style
Coffee Cream Ale
Strength
5.8%
Stockists

Grifter Brewery

And select Sydney bars

Grifter Brewing Co Medusa

Tapped October 11th, 2017
Last weekend, the team behind Brisbane’s most eclectic beer venue, Netherworld, held its first Monster Menagerie event, inviting sixteen local brewers to come up a with wild and/or weird beer to launch over one wild and/or weird weekend. With their invitation, the Grifter Brewing Company chose to make Medusa, a watermelon and mint IPA. Regulars at the Marrickville brewery will well know the brewers there are fully capable of successfully utilising watermelon in a beer, as evidenced by their Serpent’s… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
5.9%

Grifter Brewing Co Crocodile Tears

Tapped August 2nd, 2017
They rarely allow themselves to be swayed by hype or popular opinion do the brewers at Grifter. That means a visit to their brewery isn't likely to end with you sipping on the latest trending beer style or something that’s sat brooding in a barrel. And it probably explains why, despite having now been around for five years in a market becoming increasingly attuned to bold beers – and despite having won plenty of praise for some of their American IPAs (Big Sur and Marnie’s Majority being front… Read more
Style
Double IPA
Strength
8.5%

Grifter Brewing Co Brainstorm

Tapped May 23rd, 2017
In a city where burgers have steadily become an obsession, it says something about Mary’s that they’ve managed to keep their effort at the top of Sydney’s list for a number of years. It probably helps that their Newtown home is dark, loud and full of great booze, creating the perfect environment for devouring a cracky stack of goodness between two worryingly deliciousness buns. In an effort to come up with the ideal accompaniment for their American style cheeseburger (or perhaps just because),… Read more
Style
Session IPA
Strength
4.8%

Grifter Brewing Co Banshee

Tapped May 22nd, 2017
Part of growing up is letting go. That’s something the Grifter brewers have been grappling with lately as their brewery becomes a busier place. For almost five years (yes, it’s been that long…) all the recipes for Grifter beers have been created with a fastidious eye by the founding brewers. But, with more balls to juggle, it was inevitable they would want to give themselves a little leeway every now and then by allowing one of the apprentices to else to take control of a beer, from recipe… Read more
Style
Dark Lager
Strength
4.9%

Grifter Brewing Helles Lager

Tapped October 26th, 2016
When the brewers at Grifter sat down with the folks from LP’s Quality Meats to nut out ideas for a beer to accompany a not-really-but-sort-of-Oktoberfest event at the Chippendale restaurant, the idea was simple: they wanted a simple beer that would be versatile enough to pair with all sorts of German sausage. And where they landed was Helles. Translated from its mother tongue, the traditional German style of Helles is some variation of ‘bright’, ’light’ or ‘pale’ and Grifter’s interpretation… Read more
Style
Munich Lager
Strength
5.1%

Grifter Brewing Co Horses Head

Tapped July 14th, 2016
For their winter 2016 release the Grifter Brewing Company hasn’t gone as dark as trends might dictate – it’s more like they saw black on the colour chart then took two steps forward, one across and landed on red ale. The Horses Head is absolutely full of fruity hop character, but more of the crisp, citrus kind rather than juicy like a melon. There is bitterness but it’s a bit-part player, simply doing its job without really being a concern. What is more noticeable is the crystal and dark… Read more
Style
Red Ale
Strength
4.9%

Grifter Brewing Co Super Mild

Tapped June 2nd, 2016
If there was one style of beer (well, one other than a lager) that’s not going to have Aussie beer geeks dropping everything to seek out a new release, mild ale would probably be up there. Low in alcohol and malt dominant, they’re just so old fashioned and, well, English when compared with the golden explosion of a thousand Aussie hop bombs. Which is a bit of a shame really because a well made mild truly is a beautiful piece of craft, its lightweight nature belying its depth of flavour. It’s… Read more
Style
English Mild
Strength
2.9%
Bitterness
20 IBU
Stockists

Grifter Brewery Bar

Grifter Brewing Co Cobra

Tapped May 18th, 2016
There are probably a fair few in the beer community – brewers, for example – whose liquid intake consists almost exclusively of beer and coffee. Here, then, is a brew for them. Not only because it’s extremely efficient, but because you can taste both in a glass. Golden Cobra, from which the beer takes its named, is a Marrickville coffee roaster which, like new neighbour Grifter, often deals on the down low and remains one for those in the know. They brewed up 40 litres of cold drip coffee… Read more
Style
Coffee Brown Ale
Strength
5.6%
Stockists

Grifter Brewery

Good bars around Sydney

Grifter Brewing Co Marnie's Majority

Tapped May 12th, 2016
Back in 2013, the Grifter Brewing Company released Marnie’s Majority, a beer named and brewed in celebration of the birth of brewer Glenn Wignall’s first child. And a belter of a beer it was too, gaining quiet but high praise from some of Australia’s foremost brewers of hop driven beers. As was always the plan, the beer was brewed again at the same time in 2014 but last year Marnie didn’t get a birthday beer – what with things in fast motion at the business, culminating in the opening of… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
6.4%
Stockists

Grifter Brewing Co

Good beer venues around Sydney

Grifter Brewing Co Fresh & Clean IPL

Tapped February 29th, 2016
If you pay attention next time you head into the Grifter’s Marrickville brewery, you might see a sign above the entrance that reads "Fresh & Clean". It’s the name of the old industrial dry cleaning business that occupied the site for 25 years and was responsible for the approximately three inches of lint caking the roof of the building when Grifter moved in, which took them three full weeks to scrape off. Yet, despite this somewhat dusty start to the relationship, they decided not… Read more
Style
India Pale Lager
Strength
5.8%
Stockists

Grifter Brewery Bar

Select venues in NSW

Grifter Brewing Co Serpent's Kiss

Tapped February 5th, 2016
Serpent’s Kiss began life as a one-off beer, brewed for Sydney Craft Beer Week with the team at Frankies Pizza. But it clearly struck a chord with drinkers because when the Grifter brewery in Marrickville opened to the public a couple of months later, people were still asking for it. Being obliging hosts, they brought it back and it swiftly became the most popular beer pouring at the brewery. The success of an intended one-off beer isn’t altogether unusual, but what is here is the style of beer:… Read more
Style
Watermelon Pilsner
Strength
4.4%
Stockists

Grifter Brewery Bar

Grifter Brewing Co Southern Lord

Tapped December 18th, 2014
Back in the summer of 2014/15 when the Grifter Brewing Company was still a gypsy brewing company, their range was bookended by the Big Sur IPA at the hoppiest end of the spectrum and, at the other, by the crisper and leaner Bright Eye pilsner. They figured they needed something (other than their flagship pale ale, that is) to split the difference and it was a case of X marking the sweet spot as they opted for an XPA. In most cases that would stand for Extra Pale Ale, a style closer to an American… Read more
Style
XPA
Strength
6.0%
Stockists

Grifter Brewery

Gasoline Pony

Cricketer's Arms

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co Swill of the Gods II

Tapped October 20th, 2014
Things tend to be a bit easier the first time around. Come up with a good idea, do it well and people will more than likely respond favourably. Not so with sequels. The preconception, expectation and anticipation can be the fast route to a road to ruin, littered with failed follow-ups and haunted by the cast of Teen Wolf Too. So it takes a certain gumption to not just dwell on past success but take the original idea and improve on it. Which brings us to the Swill of the Gods II. Last year the Grifter… Read more
Style
Wee Heavy
Strength
7.0%
Stockists

Frankie's, Sydney

Baxter's, Sydney

More TBC

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co Coven

Tapped August 29th, 2014
It might just be us, but there seems to be a bit of a sinister air surrounding the Grifter Brewing Company these days. Following on from their winter oatmeal stout release, The Omen, comes Coven, an amber ale firmly encased within some striking coffin-shaped imagery. The word 'Coven' represents a gathering of witches and it's true you can almost imagine the three Grifter boys huddled around a vigorously overflowing boil, giant paddles held aloft, chanting, 'Double double, toil and trouble!â?.… Read more
Style
Amber Ale
Strength
5.7%
Stockists

NSW:

Bank Hotel

Baxter Inn

Dove & Olive

Foxtrot

Frankies Pizza

Gasoline Pony

Harts Pub

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co Omen II

Tapped June 6th, 2014
The chaps at Grifter have provided plenty of information about their latest release (which is a reworking of a beer first released in 2013). This beefed up oatmeal stout is "silky", they say. It is "all about rich malt character" too. It has a "complexity which comes from the use of six different varieties is layered to give notes of chocolate, coffee and general roasted goodness" they continue. On and on. And on. There's "a healthy addition of oatmeal" that… Read more
Style
American Oatmeal Stout
Strength
5.5%
Stockists

Sydney

The Cricketers Arms

Frankies Pizza

Union Hotel Newtown

Harts Pub

The Local Taphouse Darlo

The Blind Bear

Forest

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co & Baxter's Swill of the Gods

Tapped May 16th, 2014
Collaboration is very much the name of the game in the Sydney craft beer scene these days, it seems. There are the more typical brewer on brewer affairs ' Darren from Doctor's Orders has been hunkering down with Shane from Sixpoint this week to create something monstrously hoppy and high in alcohol ' but also plenty that look outside the beer world. Young Henrys has mixed with the music, food, coffee and various other worlds and now the brewing company that shares their brewery has hooked up with… Read more
Style
Scotch Ale
Strength
5.0%
Stockists

Sydney:

Baxter Inn

Frankie's

Union Hotel Newtown

Petersham Bowls Club

Cricketers Arms

Old Fitzroy Hotel

Harts Pub

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co Marnie's Majority Ale

Tapped April 16th, 2014
Having any beer brewed to mark your arrival in the world is a pretty special thing. But having a beer as good as Marnie's Majority Ale brewed for the occasion is pretty damn special (apart from the fact you technically have to wait 18 years to drink it). First created in 2013 as a celebration of Grifter's head brewer's transition to fatherhood, this beer found its way into the Hop Bomb section of our list of 50 top Australian beers in the 2013 end-of-year James Halliday's Wine Companion Magazine.… Read more
Style
American IPA
Strength
6.5%
Stockists

Dove & Olive

Harts Pub

Hartsyard, Sydney

Lord Raglan, Sydney

Petersham Bowls, Sydney

Welcome Hotel, Sydney

Union Hotel Newtown

The Burrow, Brisba

More stockists...

Grifter Brewing Co Acid Drop

Tapped February 24th, 2014
What do dynamite, Post-Its and penicillin have in common with this beer from the Grifter Brewing Company? The answer is they all came about by accident. When the boys were brewing up a recipe for a Steam Ale, they experienced a bit of misfortune in the form of a dead burner, meaning they were stuck with 1400 litres of wort they were unable to boil. Because they hadn't yet mashed out the spent grain, they kept their wits about them and did what anyone should in that situation: call for The Doctor.… Read more
Style
Berliner-Weisse
Strength
4.2%

Grifter Brewing Co Cold War

Tapped February 7th, 2014
There's a war going on in the beer world. It's one of attrition between two fundamentally different attitudes. At the extreme of the Old World thinking is the immovable pillar of the Reinheitsgebot - the German purity law decreeing thou shalt only brew using water, barley and hops. At the opposite extreme is the 'anything goes' policy of the New World, where the blending of styles and use of new ingredients is not only welcomed but encouraged. And somewhere amidst all of this is an invisible line… Read more
Style
Hopfenweizen
Strength
5.3%

Grifter Brewing Co / Two Birds Kokonatsu

Tapped November 1st, 2013
In 2012, for Sydney Craft Beer Week, Jayne Lewis from Two Birds headed to Sydney to brew a collaboration with the crew at the recently opened Young Henrys brewery. The resulting beer was Otaku, a Japanese-inspired green tea and seaweed altbier. Ahead of the same event in 2013, brewer Jayne made the same trip to the same brewery, only this time it was to collaborate with the other brewing company that calls Young Henrys home; Grifter Brewing. Clearly not wanting to mess with a winning formula, the… Read more
Style
American Brown Ale
Strength
6.0%

Grifter Brewing Co Tortoise & The Hop

Tapped September 2nd, 2013
The Tortoise & The Hop pilsner is a beer the Grifter Brewing Company couldn't have made when they first started on their brewing adventure. That's not to say they couldn't have done it technically, but physically. You see, lagers (of which pilsner is, of course, one) need to spend considerably longer fermenting when compared to their ale counterparts. And when you're brewing in someone elses brewery, as the Grifters do out of the very busy and predominantly ale-focused Young Henrys, it's not… Read more
Style
Pilsner
Strength
6.2%
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