As origin stories go, there are few more colourful than that of how three mates who met while studying engineering at uni came to name their brewery. The three home brewers had been brewing away in a shed at the back of one of their parents' houses, plotting their impending move into the world of commercial brewing, knocking back the odd beer and wracking their brains for an inspired name. Darkness fell, the beer continued to flow, inspiration remained absent.
In the small hours, at a loss, they looked for distraction and found it in the form of an old, discarded sofa. As any sensible soul would, they torched it and continued their evening in the glow of its flames. The following morning, they surveyed the wreckage of the night before and there, among the charred ground and springs, were some long out of circulation coins: one and two cent pieces. They totalled seven cents.
Today, the charred ground has just about grown back and the commercial brewery that is 7 cent is well and truly up and running. If you need any idea of what they're about, two things should give you a clue. The first beer they ever poured for punters was their Belgian strong dark ale B4, weighing in at 9 percent, and it was served through a handpump. Then, when invited to supply a keg for one of the "New Aussie brewery" taps at the Good Beer Week Festival Hub in 2013, they chose to offer up a Japanese ale featuring brown and white rice, Jasmine green tea and a sake yeast. It was the first keg to blow at the opening party...
The threesome is Matthew "Bousa" Boustead, Doug "Dug" Bremner and Brendan "Bakes" Baker, all still working in various engineering jobs as they get 7 cent up to speed step by step. And it really is step by step. Using their own hands and some judicious purchasing on eBay, they built their brewery in the aforementioned shed for a total outlay of just $20,000, including cool room. And, initially at least, they've been saving up to expand it by brewing one six hectolitre batch of their core beers per month (as they only had one tank) and squirrelling away the profits from the keg sales. These beers are embellished with more-than-monthly single keg releases from the home brew kit where it all started.
Most 7 cent beers tend to begin as recognisable styles before being amped up a notch or three. These days, barrels sourced mostly from local winemakers – plus a couple that once contained the Bridge Road / Nogne O Aurora Borealis collaboration – are making ever more regular appearances, both for ageing beers such as imperial stouts and barley wines and for producing sours; on one visit we found them eagerly juggling tubes containing various strains of Brettanomyces and working out the right combo to throw into a particular beer.
Up until late 2014, all beers had been keg only before a limited run of their Big 'n' Beardy Russian imperial stout became the first of what will be occasional bottle releases. Slowly but surely, more stainless steel is being funded which means more batches can be produced so that, ultimately, they'll leave Bousa's parents alone and find their own home. In the meantime, if you're into the weird and wacky in your beers, keep an eye on them. And any old sofas you've got lying around.