Balter Brewing

To balter is to dance artlessly without particular skill or grace, but usually with enjoyment. It’s also the name of the Gold Coast brewery opened by a quartet of Australian surfing legends and some mates, with a trophy-winning brewer at the helm to ensure that when it comes to the beers there’s style and grace as well as enjoyment.

Friends and co-founders Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr were surfing in Hawaii when discussions moved to Bede’s long held dream of setting up a brewery in their Gold Coast hometown. So they did, with the assistance of co-founders Stirling Howland, Ant Macdonald and Sean Ronan.

Soon former Stone & Wood and Byron Bay brewer Scotty Hargrave was brought on board to help them realise this dream; shortly afterwards, he discovered he had won two prestigious AIBA trophies for his final brews at Byron Bay, suggesting the founders had picked a winner. Initially sceptical, Scotty’s fears that Balter might be little more than a publicity stunt were soon assuaged, as they convinced him they were in it for the long haul and, says Scotty, proved to have “considerable will and drive to build a brewery” while also “hiring the right people in the right places”, including other senior staff well versed in the local beer world.

Within a year of making their plans public – initially with a joke at the media’s expense – they had opened their 750 square metre brewery in Currumbin, an up and coming suburb of the Gold Coast, and had released their first beers, leading off with an XPA.

Initially, the beer was supplied to a dozen carefully chosen venues; some ripped through their first keg in less than a day, suggesting the skills that brought Scotty his trophies are going to serve Balter well. It led to instant demand from further afield but the plan is to grow slowly and ensure support for their early customers is maintained.

“Our first batch of XPA was literally sucked out the door and sold in a weekend,” says Scotty. “This truly opened our eyes to the confidence local bars had in us and this close connection between brewery and venues is something that Balter wants to keep.”

As for the brewery itself, exposed brickwork and copper pipes are complemented by a floor to ceiling custom-made piece of artwork by local artists Frank and Mimi, who are responsible for the mural wrapped around Newstead Brewing’s home in Brisbane. There's a 12 tap tasting room directly in front of the brewhouse and a neat and narrow beer garden to the side. If you fancy a tour, there’s an overhead gangway that gives you unparalleled access throughout the entire brewery. Taken together, the end result is a stunning contemporary brewery.

The toys upon which the brewers play include a 35 hectolitre DME brewhouse, six 70 hectolitre tanks and a canning system from Cask Brewing Systems in Canada. There’s also a 500 litre pilot system from Melbourne-based Spark Brew Engineering upon which Scotty conceives experimental beers to be tested upon his business partners as well as the guests they welcome through the doors of the taphouse.

“Not only will Mick and the boys taste them, but locals will get to decide our lineup too,” he says. “At the end of the day, if I tell someone they won’t like this beer, I want them to tell me, ‘#$%^ off, don’t tell me what I don’t like!’

“I’m not here to dictate to people what beer people should be drinking like the big corporations do – I want to make beers that people want me to brew.”

With a range of burgeoning, small scale, artisan industries on the rise – in coffee, food and handcrafted products as well as beer – there’s a crafty vibe bubbling just beneath the surface in Currumbin. And, with four of the biggest names in Aussie surfing behind it, a knowledgeable team and an award-winning brewer with a talent for creating crowd-pleasing beers completing the picture, expect Balter to be among those ensuring more and more people around the country know all about it in time too.

James Graham

Balter Brewing

14 Traders Way
QLD 4220

(07) 5525 6916

Friday: 3pm to 7pm
Sat & Sun: midday to 6pm

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First Schooner Free at Balter Brewers

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Balter Brewing Regulars

Balter Brewing Captain Sensible

Tapped September 7th, 2018
Short of banging out a 10 percent plus IIIPA, there was arguably only one place to head next for Balter when it comes to treating their army of fans with another pale and hoppy offering. And that was down. Down into the arms of Captain Sensible. He's a mid-strength the brewing team has been playing around with for a couple of years on its pilot system, often found on tap at the Gold Coast brewery and now given the green light (and pastel yellow, "go moderately fast" stripe) to head out… Read more

Balter Brewing Strong Pale Ale

Tapped April 4th, 2018
Good beer is for everybody. That’s Balter’s motto, and it’s not just empty words – they walk the talk. They realised there’s a fair ramp up from their crowd-pleasing XPA at 5 percent ABV to their IPA at 6.8 and, thus, room for another beer in their lineup. (Isn’t there always room for another beer?) Enter the Strong Pale Ale, sitting bang in the middle at 5.9 percent ABV. It’s there for when you’re after a bit more punch than the XPA, but you’re not yet looking to commit to a bruiser… Read more
Strong Pale Ale

Available nationwide

Balter Brewing IPA

Tapped June 13th, 2017
As beer launches go, Balter's unveiling of their IPA to the hordes in attendance at their Good Beer Week Tins of Glory event may take some beating. For said event, the Gold Coast based brewery team designed and built a large, glowing shuffleboard inspired table and invited guests to take part in a game en masse, using the tins of IPA they'd been handed on the way in rather than the usual discs, with the whole affair conducted in the manner of a wild game show. The beer has now transitioned from shuffleboard… Read more
72 IBU

Find the beer here

Balter Brewing Pilsner

Tapped January 25th, 2017
There are few experiences in the wide world of beer that can compete with the first mouthful of a good, traditional pilsner when it comes to refreshment and satisfaction. Sure, there's plenty to be said for being hit by a wave of tropical hop aromas as you raise a glass of IPA or for wallowing in the complexities of a well made Belgian ale. Yet, among the many reasons pale lagers and pilsners came to be the dominant beer choice of the planet, is that they can hit the spot marked "beer"… Read more
32 IBU

Find Balter beers here

Balter Brewing XPA

When Balter’s Gold Coast brewery opened in 2016, the founders claimed their plan was to grow slow and steady. Then they released their first beer, the XPA, and the general response was: “Good luck with that!” With a pedigree including time spent at Stone & Wood in its early days and two trophies for crowd-pleasing beers when at Byron Bay Brewery, head brewer Scotty Hargrave was always going to be the sort who would know how to craft a beer suited to the Gold Coast climate – and to quench… Read more
Pale Ale
30 IBU

Available on tap and in cans

Balter Brewing ALT Brown

For their second year round release, Balter opted to turn to the dark side with the ALT Brown. And while it shares little in common with its predecessor in terms of aroma, flavour or appearance, it does come with one thing that brewer Scotty promised would be at the heart of his beers: balance. There's nothing ostentatious about ALT. Instead, it's a well structured, medium-bodied beer that keeps its hop character in the background and instead delivers subtle layers of toasted, nutty, chocolatey goodness… Read more
Brown Ale

Balter Brewing Specials

Balter Brewing IIPA

Tapped March 8th, 2018
Given social media has undergone some sort of meltdown since Balter announced this beer was leaving the brewery, there's a danger there may not be a huge amount of IIPA left in fridges around the country by the time you read this, a mere 24 hours or so after said fridges welcomed the yellow striped tinnies. It's the Gold Coast brewery's second big can release, following last year's Black Metal Disco sweet stout, and sits at the top of a trio of hop dominated beers from Balter: the flagship XPA and… Read more

Available nationwide here

Balter Brewing Black Metal Disco

Tapped July 25th, 2017
It's called Black Metal Disco, comes with a lightning bolt, a reference to thrash being played on a jazz flute and is the first brew from Balter to be released in a 500ml tin. So, is the moment they throw caution to the wind and abandon their practice of turning out finely balanced beverages in favour of something wild and gnarly? First things first, Black Metal Disco is a stout and is a beer that some of you may have tried before. It appeared on tap at their Gold Coast brewery via their pilot system.… Read more
Sweet Stout
24 IBU

Find Black Metal Disco here

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