At 88 Limestone Street in Ipswich, the Pumpyard Bar & Brewery resides. It’s the home of 4 Hearts Brewing Company and the first working brewery in Ipswich since the demise of the Booval Brewery in the early 1900s. Opened by local boy Wade Curtis, it takes its name from the natural spring that was located on the site back in 1862, back when residents of Ipswich were allowed to fill four buckets of water per day for free.
The 4 Hearts brand is no stranger to the area. Locals have enjoyed Wade's beers since his first commercial releases were made available in 2011, since when he has proven to be a vociferous advocate for craft beer and helped drive the Ipswich scene forward. Providing Queenslanders with consistent, light-in-strength yet full-bodied beer has turned out to be a stroke of genius with beer drinkers across the state looking for tastier alternatives to familiar household brands.
Now that Pumpyard is open, eager visitors can sit and enjoy a variety of beers and cider from 20 taps (pouring 10 different options) plus a large range of bottles too. Expect to see half a dozen 4 Hearts beers in draught form plus guest brews and a dedicated cider tap. Happy punters can relax in air-conditioned comfort with free Wi-Fi amongst four stainless steel fermenters with the 12hL brew house set up in full view too.
Having breathed new life into the 100-plus-years-old building, it means there's plenty to admire within the heritage interior, which has been redesigned in keeping with its past. This included a period when it was the plumbing and metal shop for the TAFE so look out for exposed brickwork against white gloss paint, lots of historic wooden beams, quirky door and window frames, rustic-looking brown leather sofas, soft industrial lighting (which bounces wonderfully off the mirrored stainless steel) and just the right amount of deep olive green to offset it all.
You’ll notice small oddities made from iron pipework around the brewery too, imported especially from the US. And, keeping things local, the wooden bar and bar top have been constructed using whole lengths of timber from a former bridge at Esk – just 65 kilometres north-west of Ipswich. Externally, the building is bursting with character: it’s not difficult to imagine the terracotta bricked facades of this huge corner block housing students and scholars of years gone by. The unique laneway feel to the complex seems like something that's been missing in Ipswich too.
The food menu is both simple and extravagant at the same time with dishes designed to match perfectly to good, fresh beer – some created with Wade's beers. Dishes such as a chicken burger with melted cheese, wasabi mayo, pickles and coleslaw and soft shell crab souvlaki with sticky soft shell crab, pickled radish, garlic yoghurt and shallots are likely to have patrons salivating. There's also a choice of pizzas and calzones as well as gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian offerings. A small menu just for children is also available. Tying the kitchen nicely to the brewery is the 4 Hearts Pale which will be included in a number of breads, doughnuts and pizza dough.
The venue can cater for 200 people across five dedicated spaces including a bar, dining and courtyard areas. There’s also a function room plus a semi-secret expanse alongside five bright beer tanks that has already been earmarked as the perfect room for a ‘Brewers Dinner’. The brewery’s courtyard – blessed with afternoon shade and giant fig trees – is a fully licensed area which will comfortably host forthcoming beer events and festivals.
Decades after brewing ended in Ipswich and a few years after Wade set his heart on leaving the corporate world behind, it's great to welcome fresh, local beer back to the city.