4 Hearts Brewing

In 1891, at a town meeting in Ipswich, the citizens made a resolution: “The time has come for a Technical College to be formed in Ipswich.” More than a century later, the grand brick buildings of the Technical College still tower over Limestone St… but now they house something more important than “education” and “advancements in industry and technology”. Today, it’s the home of 4 Hearts Brewing.

When it launched, 4 Hearts became the first working brewery in Ipswich since the demise of the Booval Brewery in the early 1900s. While there was no town meeting to announce: “The time has come for a craft brewery to be formed in Ipswich” that was certainly the decision taken in 2011 when the first 4 Hearts beers appeared. The original owner and head brewer, Wade Curtis, saw that the region was ripe for good, locally brewed beer and, after a few years of growth, he moved 4 Hearts into its current home in the heritage listed former college in 2015.

The old brick building that contains the brewery was once the plumbing and metal shop for the TAFE and, when you step inside, you get a clear sense of both past and present. The artful restoration and redesign includes light shades made of beaten metal, lamps made of iron pipework and gauges, and rusted stencil-cut signs. But the stainless steel brewing tanks boast newness and freshness, with the shiny kit standing in stark contrast to the redbrick and iron decor. The 12hL brewhouse and fermentation tanks (4 x 24hL, 1 x 12hL) are on full display in the main area, with the bright beer tanks tucked away in a side room that’s available for private functions.

While the building is an enjoyable glimpse into the days of old, don’t just visit 4 Hearts Brewing for a taste of the past. The Pumpyard Bar shares the same space and old world feel of 4 Hearts Brewing, and is the perfect place to taste your way through 4 Hearts’ beers. Their 12 taps always include the 4 Hearts core range – Ipswich Challenger Light Ale, Sunshine Rice Lager, New World Pilsner, Pale Ale, Red IPA, and Coal Miners Stout – plus a few 4 Hearts small batch and seasonal brews.

The brew team has changed since 4 Hearts opened, but the current crew possesses the same love of beer and standards of excellence that have been central to 4 Hearts from the beginning. In 2017, Curtis passed the baton of head brewer to Ken Friend, who has done a stellar job of retaining the essence of the brewery while bringing a fresh vision. He brings precision and discipline from his time in the RAAF, experience of well made, approachable beers from his time at Stone & Wood and brewing knowledge direct from German brewmasters from his time at VLB in Berlin. He’s also a longtime resident of Ipswich, keen to provide good beer for the locals and see the community gather around 4 Hearts Brewing.

Ipswich has a few different aspects to its identity: it’s almost part of outer Brisbane, and almost part of regional Queensland. It’s both, and it’s neither. 4 Hearts adopts this dual identity too, taking part in Brisbane beer events such as BrewsVegas and Weekend of Darkness, and collaborating with Brisbane breweries, but also reaching out to Toowoomba and other regional areas.

In the end, though, 4 Hearts doesn’t belong to Brisbane or to the further regional areas. It belongs to Ipswich. 4 Hearts is embedded in the Ipswich community and anchored in its history, and is the beating heart of the city’s good beer scene.

Mick Wust

Name
4 Hearts Brewing
Address

88 Limestone Street
Building C
Ipswich
QLD 4305

Website
Hours

Mon & Tue: Closed
Wed to Sat: midday to late
Sunday: midday to 5pm

4 Hearts Brewing Regulars

4 Hearts Coal Miners Stout

Nowadays, "working in the coal mines" tends to mean operating enormous vehicles and complicated technology. But, back in the day, it meant wearing overalls, wielding a pickaxe and getting a sooty face, counting down the days until you were diagnosed with the black lung. (We all look to Zoolander for our knowledge of coal mining, right?) But if you want get a taste of the past without contracting a respiratory disease, get some Coal Miners Stout into you. Rauch malt brings big smokiness… Read more
Style
Smoked Stout
ABV
5.5%

4 Hearts Red IPA

Some red IPAs focus heavily on the malt, bringing toffee and caramel to the foreground, while others are more hop-driven, and could easily pass as a West Coast IPA if you drank them in the dark. This red IPA shoots right down the middle. Aromas of melon, mango and grapefruit give way to burnt toffee and caramel in the flavour, with a grapefruit sharpness that hangs around throughout. While it hits 70 IBU, the bitterness is largely offset by the malt sweetness, so rather than overwhelming the tastebuds,… Read more
Style
Red IPA
ABV
7.0%
Bitterness
70 IBU

4 Hearts Sunshine Lager

This rice lager was conceived by the winner of a homebrew competition, whose prize was to brew at 4 Hearts. It was such a hit that 4 Hearts decided to tweak the recipe and add it to their core range. Sunshine Lager is a pale straw colour, and gives off a hint of tropical fruit on the nose thanks to the Citra and Mosaic hops. The 20 percent rice in the mash doesn’t noticeably affect the flavour, but helps maintain the head, and gives a little more mouthfeel to the beer. A little lemon peel character… Read more
Style
Rice Lager
ABV
4.6%

4 Hearts New World Pilsner

German Pilsner malt? Check. Pilsner yeast? Check. Noble hops? Nope. 4 Hearts brings New World hops to bear on this clean-drinking pils – Hallertau Blanc from Germany, Citra from the USA and Motueka from New Zealand. Take a whiff and enjoy the sweet aromas of orange and lemon peel (but try not to stick your nose in the fluffy white head). That said, when you get to actually drinking it, you won’t be bombarded with hops. While a little of that Citra character comes through, you’ll mostly find… Read more
Style
New World Pilsner
ABV
5.0%
Bitterness
20 IBU

4 Hearts Pale Ale

When Ken Friend took over as head brewer in 2017, he modified the recipe of the 4 Hearts pale ale. As well as introducing Amarillo and Enigma hops to join the Cascade that was already there, he dialled back the malt profile to let these hops shine. The result is a pale ale with oomph, bringing punchy citrus and a slight berry character to stand centre stage, with English malts assisting. Perhaps surprisingly, even though the final product gives you more slap-in-the-face fruit flavours than its predecessor,… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
4.8%
Bitterness
40 IBU

4 Hearts Ipswich Challenger Light Ale

If you’ve been to Ipswich in the middle of summer, you’ll know it gets hot. Like, stupidly hot. Hot enough that the first beer you drink evaporates off your tongue, so you need you might need three or four sessionable beers before you start to cool down. Ipswich Challenger is the definition of sessionable. At only 2.9 percent ABV, this English mild has enough body and flavour to stand up well for a low alcohol beer. The pale and crystal malts provide a nice malt sweetness, and the wheat gives… Read more
Style
English Mild
ABV
2.9%

4 Hearts Brewing Specials

4 Hearts Mondlicht Schwarzbier

Tapped November 2nd, 2018
Mondlicht is German for moonlight, and this beauty shines in the darkness. Created for the Pumpyard Oktoberfest, Mondlicht is a traditional Schwarzbier made using the same yeast as the Augustiner brewery in Munich. If you ever find dark beers too heavy, don’t be put off by Mondlicht’s appearance – while it’s as dark as they come, it doesn’t have the heavy, hearty meal quality of many stouts and porters. It’s smooth, sweet and, at 5.2 percent ABV, still quite sessionable. Coffee and chocolate… Read more
Style
Schwarzbier
ABV
5.2%

4 Hearts Bavarian Helles

Tapped November 2nd, 2018
4 Hearts head brewer Ken Friend’s goal with this beer was to brew an authentic Bavarian style Helles (as the name of the beer might suggest). Ken studied under German brewmasters in Berlin so, when he aims for an authentic German beer style, he holds himself to a high standard. Using German pilsner malt and the same yeast used by Munich’s Augustiner Brewery (which brews the lager most Munich residents will recommend), he did a fine job of it. A fluffy white head sits atop the pale straw, slightly… Read more
Style
Helles
ABV
4.7%

4 Hearts Brewing Daily Bread

Tapped November 2nd, 2018
“Give us this beer, our Daily Bread…” While Belgian monks happily brew dubbels and tripels, they generally drink single ales themselves, a lower alcohol version to give them sustenance without sending them to sleep. As such, it’s rare for this kind of beer to ever leave the monastery walls. Inspired by this tradition, 4 Hearts brewed Daily Bread to bring sustenance to the people. They collaborated with the Waste Recycling Industry of Queensland and Oz Harvest, and took 80kg of local, Ipswich-sourced… Read more
Style
Belgian Ale
ABV
4.0%

4 Hearts De Honing Belgian Blonde

Tapped April 18th, 2018
This beer came about serendipitously. When the brewer found some leftover Belgian yeast in the fridge, he decided to make a Belgian Blonde. When he heard that there were beehives on top of Newstead Brewing (yes really), he decided to make a Belgian Blonde with honey. (No bonus points for guessing what "De Honing" means in Dutch.) Thus 18kg of Brisbane’s Hoodlum Honey was added halfway through the ferment, and the result was a super easy-drinking beer that smells exactly like those candy… Read more
Style
Belgian Blonde With Honey
ABV
6.4%

4 Hearts Bulldog ESB

Tapped May 1st, 2018
Like Kate Middleton, this beer is technically Australian, but is British for all intents and purposes. The hops and yeast are English, as are most of the malts – the light crystal, dark crystal and Maris Otter are from UK maltster Bairds, with the small amount of German Chocolate Wheat the only non-British ingredient. They come together to create Bulldog, a bold, dark copper coloured ESB. The predominant flavours are burnt toffee (from the dark crystal malt) and dark fruit (from the Bramling Cross… Read more
Style
ESB
ABV
5.0%

4 Hearts Pith Off Citrus IPA

Tapped April 10th, 2018
Crowd-brewed as part of a Brewsvegas event, this punk-themed IPA has attitude. In addition to to the citrus character from the hops, it brings 600g of navel orange peel and 500g of ruby grapefruit peel to the party, adding a zesty zing to the mix. It was intentionally given a low IBU to begin with to account for the bitterness from the grapefruit, so while there’s a lovely citrus burn in the back of the throat, it’s not overpowering. Nor does it linger – this beer is pretty dry compared to… Read more
Style
Citrus IPA

4 Hearts Brewing / Black Hops I Heart Lager

Tapped August 27th, 2015
We're always keen to know the stories behind beers, particularly when there's a collaboration. Just what was it that inspired two breweries to work together: an occasion, a joint passion, a drunken bet. Of all the origin stories we've heard for collabs, the one behind I Heart Lager is one of our favourites. According to Eddie from Black Hops: "I'm not sure to be honest. [4 Hearts founder] Wade's my cousin in law (I think that's what he is – he married my cousin) so maybe he was just being… Read more
Style
India Black Lager
ABV
5.7%
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