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Stockade Brew Co

Stockade occupies a unique space in the Australian craft beer scene. To understand it you need to go back a few years to the time of Australian Independent Brewers (AIB).

AIB was based in Smeaton Grange, around 60 kilometres southwest of Sydney, and was a large contract brewer before it fell into receivership and was eventually purchased in 2012 by the Szpitalak family. They renamed the business BrewPack and it has gone on to become one of the country’s busiest contract brewing facilities; dozens of small Aussie brewers now call on BrewPack to produce beer on their behalf, whether to supplement demand they’re unable to meet at their own breweries or, in other cases, acting as the primary producer for a brand. Whether you know it or not, BrewPack produces a considerable number of the craft beer brands you see regularly in bottleshops and bars across the country.

But rather than simply brew beer for others, the Szpitalaks – at least, three of the four brothers who are active in daily life at the brewery – decided to add another string to their bow by launching their own range of beers. This was originally done under the Macarthur Grange Brewery name which, although not pushed too widely, claimed some significant successes with its pale ale and IPA both picking up gold medals at the Sydney Royal Beer Show. But in the latter stages of 2015 the Macarthur range was quietly retired to make way for what has become Stockade Brew Co.

It’s a more adventurous brand than Macarthur in just about every way. Out went more traditional labels, replaced with striking works of graphic art. The core range of beers sticks with the tried and true formula used by many breweries – namely a lager, mid strength, pale ale and IPA, plus the more recent addition of an XPA – but the limited releases sent them hurtling into the heart of beer geek country and has won them attention in all quarters.

Their very first seasonal was a peach, salt and coriander infused gose and things have only escalated from there, from smoked jalapeño porter to juniper infused witbier to two year old whisky barrel aged imperial stout. Along the way they’ve carved out some impressive accolades, racking up medals at many of Australia’s major beer shows, winning the title of “World’s Best Imperial Stout” at the UK-based World Beer Awards in 2015 and beating out more than a hundred other brewers to take out the coveted People’s Choice award at the 2017 GABS festival for The Mountie, their Maple Imperial Stout.

In 2018 both BrewPack and Stockade were shuffled under the umbrella of a new company, Tribe Breweries, which has been set up as part of an ambitious plan to develop a brewing and packaging facility in Goulburn to rival that of the largest independent breweries in the Southern Hemisphere. While that may well see the business branch out beyond beer, for the time being the Smeaton Grange brewery remains the main source of pack and keg products across the Stockade range.

And it's still a brewery where the beers benefit from things many small brewers would look upon with envy. Along with substantial capacity and a packaging line which was significantly upgraded after the Szpitalaks took over – including the addition of a monstrously large dry hopper to better meet the demands of modern tastes (read: more hops) – they also have the luxury of a dedicated lab tasked with constantly monitoring and testing the quality of the beer at each point in the brewing process. As calls for increased quality and consistency in craft beer become louder, Stockade is already well down the road.

Having a foot in several camps – the production capability of a large brewer, the ability to behave like a small brewer and working closely with a lot of other brewers and retailers – put Stockade in a unique position and gave it a sound platform to spread its name far and wide. And they certainly wasted no time doing that with an increasing amount of beer exported to southeast Asia, often including collaborations with brewers and bars in those countries.

As all the bits of the puzzle came together over the course of a few years, the one piece that was notably missing was a home that truly represented the brand. They always had the Smeaton Grange brewery, but being primarily a production facility it was never intended as a place where people could come to sit and enjoy a beer – not to mention its distance from the epicentre of Sydney’s beer scene, the Inner West. So you could argue that it was in 2018 that Stockade revealed its true face to the public when they rolled up the doors to a bar and brewery in Marrickville, the Stockade Barrel Room.

It’s a slick venue, as impressive for the indifferent beer drinker to walk into as it is for the enthusiast keen to sniff out whatever’s inside the towers of barrels piled up along the walls. They have a small brewery in here to keep those barrels filled while also ensuring the bar is always pouring something exclusive to the venue. The bar serves up the remainder of Stockade’s catalogue (not to mention keeping a well stocked fridge for takeaways) and makes a point of concocting beer-based cocktails; try a Galaxy & Tonic or Mosaic Sour for a different kind of hop hit.

Having begun brewing life as an entity that operated almost entirely behind the scenes, Stockade has undergone an almost total transformation, hurtling into the consciousness of drinkers and becoming one of the most multifaceted of the country’s new crop of brewers.

Nick Oscilowski

Name
Stockade Brew Co
Address

Unit 2
41 Topham Rd
Smeaton Grange
NSW 2567

Phone
(02) 4606 1016
Website
Hours

Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

Stockade Brew Co Regulars

Stockade Brew Co Hop Splicer XPA

Tapped October 24th, 2017
When it comes to considering hop forward beers, particularly of the New World pale ale and IPA variety, there’s a small handful of descriptors that tend to pop up often: tropical fruit, citrus, pineapple, passionfruit - essentially anything that would go well in a fruit salad. These are all naturally occurring and abundant characters derived from the hops, but brewers on a quest for ever-punchier flavours have taken to adding the fruits themselves, whether juice, zest or whole, to enhance whatever… Read more
Style
XPA
Strength
4.4%

Stockade Brew Co Duel

The duel for which this beer takes its name is an Old World versus New World clash whereby they’ve essentially taken a classic European lager and thrown loads more hops of a modern variety at it. The name is also slightly misleading for it suggests these two worlds are battling when in fact they’re doing a pretty good job of working in harmony. The pilsner and Vienna malts give the beer a nice bready character while the dry hopping with Summer and Ella hop varieties lift the aroma and work alongside… Read more
Style
Lager
Strength
4.7%
Bitterness
30 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Chop Shop

The image of a mechanic welding a muscle car on this beer’s label gives you the sense of something tough, a little dirty and no-nonsense. And that’s about right for this beer, though not in a bad way. This is an assertive American pale ale that serves up plenty in the hop department. Four varieties – Cascade, Columbus, Simcoe and Fuggles – are used in combination to create a beer bursting with herbal, floral and slightly spicy aromas. They also contribute to a bold and lengthy, albeit pleasant,… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
Strength
4.7%
Bitterness
30 IBU

Stockade Brew Co 8 Bit

Many children of the 80s will take a fond look at the 8 BIT name of this beer and smile appreciatively at the countless hours lost in the pixellated void of Atari, Nintendo and their ilk. Somewhat like the stripped back, fun first nature of those early games consoles, this West Coast IPA isn’t beer that’s necessarily built for deep thinking, just good drinking. And that it offers in spades with huge hop aromas of lemon and pine sitting atop a big and refreshing bitterness and a lean malt base.… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
Strength
6.5%
Bitterness
60 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Specials

Stockade Brew Co Bella Rossa

Tapped March 2nd, 2018
What has Stockade been smoking lately? Technically, nothing, but a smokey sensation was certainly swirling around the brewery as they brewed their first limited release of 2018: a woodfired red lager. The concept behind the beer seems to have been driven primarily by food, specifically trying to capture the smokey essence of a woodfired pizza and create a beer that pairs with, well, woodfired pizza. To do this in liquid form they came up with a lager recipe, added some specialty malt to give it… Read more
Style
Smoked Red Lager
Strength
5.7%

Stockade Brew Co Old Money 2017

Tapped January 19th, 2018
Sometime around Christmas 2016, Stockade released what was quite possibly the most special beer to have come from their MacArthur Grange brewery, whether under their own name or the many brands for whom they’ve brewed beers over the years. It was called Old Money and it was a small portion of their World Beer Cup trophy winning Russian Imperial Stout that had been kept aside in whisky barrels for two years to become a 15 percent ABV monster and a magnet for those chasing rare beers. Around a year… Read more
Style
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
12.5%

Stockade Brew Co Reef Sun Tan Ale

Tapped December 15th, 2017
You couldn’t ever accuse the team at Stockade of having limited horizons when it comes to adjuncts. In 2017, they’ve released beers with various additions such as maple syrup, juniper, passionfruit, plum, lemongrass and kaffir lime – all the while picking up competition medals and a People’s Choice award in the process. With all of that and a summer release in mind, they were evidently struck by the notion of a coconut lotion. Reef has been tagged a Sun Tan Ale and it channels a kind of… Read more
Style
Coconut Golden Ale
Strength
4.6%

Stockade Brew Co & Cervejaria Dádiva Two Bridges

Tapped October 24th, 2017
For their latest limited release, Stockade has been doing some bridge building with the Brazilian brewery Dádiva. It stems from a friend-of-a-friend type introduction between the two breweries’ founders, where commonality extended right through to the nature of the way each brewery operates; both started as specialist contract brewers, making beer for others, before branching out and finding success with their own labels. Thus, a collaboration was almost inevitable. They opted to build their… Read more
Style
Passionfruit Session IPA
Strength
4.9%

Stockade Brew Co HBA

Tapped August 24th, 2017
If there was an award for unfashionable beer styles, brown ales would be in with a shout for a podium spot. In a world gone mad for hops, there just doesn't seem to be much space right now for the classically malty beers of their ilk. As such, hardly anyone makes them – at least, not in Australia. Yet, as the few that do have proven, when they're good they can be really damn good. It’s into this territory that Stockade wades with its late winter release, the Hoppy Brown Ale. But, as the name… Read more
Style
American Brown Ale
Strength
6.8%

Stockade Brew Co The Mountie

Tapped May 25th, 2017
Browse the lists of top beers in the People’s Choice competition at the GABS festival in recent years and there’s a common thread: sweet stouts. That’s understandable. In a lineup of more than a hundred often unusual beers, it tends to be those high in alcohol or sweetness that linger in the memory a little longer – especially when sampling via 85ml tasters. With that in mind, in preparation for the 2017 festival it’s easy to imagine the Stockade team sitting down to come up with a recipe,… Read more
Style
Maple Imperial Stout
Strength
12.0%
Stockists

In Victorian bottleshops from May 22 and hitting NSW and Brisbane stores post GABS Sydney

Stockade Brew Co Odin's Raven

Tapped May 8th, 2017
Having teamed up with a bar for its previous limited release, it’s pretty clear Stockade enjoyed the experience as the brewery has gone and done it again for the follow up. The venue this time is Mjølner, a new joint in Redfern that channels the ancient art of the Viking feast – think whole animals on a spit roast and you're in the right longboat. And what Viking feast is complete without beer? None, presumably, which is where Odin’s Raven comes in. It’s based on a Belgian witbier, so it’s… Read more
Style
Juniper Witbier
Strength
4.6%

Stockade Brew Co Puppet Master

Tapped April 5th, 2017
When a collaboration includes a brewery from Thailand, an Aussie bar with a Thai-focused menu, a local brewery prepared to play it loose with written English and the beer is a hoppy one, there was really no way this beer wasn't going to be styled as a ThaIPA, was there? Officially named Puppet Master, the beer is something of a companion piece to a collab released late last year between Sydney’s Stockade and Phuket’s Full Moon Brewworks, only this one adds a third collaborator to the mix in… Read more
Style
Spiced IPA
Strength
5.5%

Stockade Brew Co Le Brat

Tapped February 27th, 2017
In the hierarchy of beer, few styles are viewed with such apathy by hardened craft beer drinkers as blonde ales; when a beer is low in hops, light in bitterness and economical in aroma, even the quirk of having the lowest possible level of carbohydrates can't mask the fact it pretty much represents pure boredom. But not all blondes are boring. As a counterpoint to ultra low carb blonde beers there are the highly aromatic Belgian style blonde ales and it’s the latter where Stockade’s new beer… Read more
Style
Blonde Ale
Strength
7.0%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Plum Perfect

Tapped February 6th, 2017
Eating a plum is all about timing. When you get it right, just when the skin gives in a little to a light touch, it is one of nature’s sweet and simple pleasures. But there are times when your optimism coaxes you into biting down too soon, before the fruit has ripened, and instead of being met with luscious sweetness you’re hit with a hard bite and astringent flavour. By virtue of positive reinforcement, when considering plum flavours in anything it is more than likely to be the former, sweeter… Read more
Style
Berliner Weisse
Strength
3.1%

Stockade Brew Co Old Money

Tapped January 3rd, 2017
Prior to 2016, it’s fair to say that if anyone knew about Stockade it was probably though an association with the contract brewing done out of their BrewPack home in MacArthur Grange, or perhaps for the seldom seen MacArthur label with which they’d had some success at competitions. In 2016, that all changed with the major unveiling of the Stockade brand, pushed first by way of a set of four reasonably safe core beers but boosted by a range of colourful limited releases that was often surprising… Read more
Style
Russian Imperial Stout
Strength
15%

Stockade Brew Co Wanderer

Tapped October 5th, 2016
The traditional German beer style Märzen takes its name from the month of March when, in pre-refrigeration days, there would be a final flurry of brewing activity before the onset of the warmer months that rendered brewing a much trickier prospect. They’re a chunky part of the lager legend, where beers were stored away in caves for several months to ferment in readiness for consumption on other side of summer. Although refrigeration has rendered the old technical limitations obsolete, the beer… Read more
Style
Märzen
Strength
6.0%
Bitterness
20 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Roly

Tapped October 5th, 2016
The increasingly diverse range of beers keeps rolling off the line at Stockade Brew Co, with rolling being the operative word here as their latest release has been named Roly. It’s a smoked jalapeño porter and the label, with its graffitied train (they went so far as to get a real train painted this way) and quasi drug imagery, suggests a beer packing a measure of grit and menace. But Roly is something of an undercover dealer and the evocative label is its front. A better representation of the… Read more
Style
Smoked Jalapeno Porter
Strength
6.6%
Bitterness
25 IBU
Stockists

On tap and in bottles around Australia

Stockade Brew Co Rare Ink

Tapped July 19th, 2016
The last time Stockade brewed a stout, the brewers were clearly working off some heavily edited beer style guidelines as they came out with Fallen Angel: a coffee’d, chilli’d, stout that was incredibly, well… pale. It was an unusual prospect that might have confused more than a few drinkers, but in the end it all came together. Timed for a 2016 winter release, they’ve since returned to the world of stouts but this time with an eye on pleasing the purists. Rare Ink is a straight up and down… Read more
Style
Stout
Strength
4.4%

Stockade Brew Co Red Light Robot

Tapped July 19th, 2016
With their 8 Bit IPA having won over plenty of admirers, Stockade has pursued a darker, or perhaps – if the pair of fornicating robots on the label is any guide – racier streak with its latest IPA. Red Light Robot is a red IPA, and a wee ripper of a RIPA at that. Built on four American hop varieties – Citra and Centennial in the whirlpool plus Columbus and Simcoe in the brewery’s enormous dry hopper – it’s got spicy elements and plenty of resinous character. While the hopping regime… Read more
Style
Red IPA
Strength
6.2%

Stockade Brew Co Fallen Angel

Tapped June 2nd, 2016
As part of their increasingly experimental limited release range – not to mention one that doubled up as their GABS festival entry – the brewers at Stockade have released Fallen Angel, a chilli mocha pale stout. If that sounds a tad confusing, it sort of is. It’s probably best to start off by addressing the obvious: can a stout be pale? Must it not be Guinness black? Well, rules and style guides are bound to be broken, as this one has been plenty of times in the past by brewers who take a… Read more
Style
Chilli Mocha Pale Stout
Strength
6.8%
Bitterness
80 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Hopzilla

Tapped April 14th, 2016
The striking comic artwork on Hopzilla features an angry hop cone chested Godzilla-type creature in a rather large disagreement with a giant rabbit that appears to have escaped from a lab experiment gone badly wrong. These two beasts at odds with each other but bound together is a fitting visual descriptor for the two contrasting styles this beer is built on: a hefeweizen laced with the hoppy elements of an IPA. Based on those starting points, this is a beer likely to polarise drinkers. There will… Read more
Style
Hoppy Hefeweizen
Strength
6.0%
Bitterness
45 IBU

Stockade Brew Co Peachy Keen

Tapped February 2nd, 2016
For a brewery that spends most of its production hours brewing pale and golden ales for other labels, you’d have been very brave to wager that the first of Stockade’s limited releases would come well down the opposite end of the style spectrum in the form of a peach, salt and coriander infused gose. Yet that’s exactly what is was, and a fine one at that. Peachy Keen is a wheat beer at heart, with the corresponding haze and a colour of lemon juice. On the nose, thanks to a generous mash addition… Read more
Style
Peach Gose
Strength
4.2%
Bitterness
20 IBU

Stockade Brew Co The Sesh

As is typical of the core Stockade beers, the brewers have taken an approachable style and thrown a heap more at it. In this case it’s a golden ale that’s been loaded with hops. More specifically it’s the dry hopping which is key, creating a very aromatic beer that’s bursting with pine and citrus aromas. The body is built on some biscuity and caramel malts which give way to a tropical fruit characters, a slightly dry finish and sharp and resinous bitterness. For a fairly lightweight beer… Read more
Style
Golden Ale
Strength
4.1%
Bitterness
30 IBU
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