Black Hops Brewing

You’d be hard-picked finding an operation in Australian craft beer as transparent as the birth and building of Black Hops Brewing, a DIY beast of consistent consumer interaction and easily accessible, step-by-step documentation. A gypsy project for the better part of two years with a long history of commercial brewing before that, Black Hops has finally found a home on the Gold Coast and you, yes YOU, can visit it.

Founders Eddie Oldfield, Michael McGovern and Dan Norris form the core of a simple narrative: three mates who love beer decide to build a brewery together. If it were possible to build on said narrative, which it is, it could also read along the lines of "three delightful blokes who love beer brew a commercial batch of specialty stout, launch and sell it out at a Brisbane bar in under two and a half hours and don’t stop after that until their dream of a brewery is achieved".

There are minor plot twists, sure, but in 2016, almost two years after their first commercial release, Black Hops Brewing was opened to the public. Nestled two blocks back from the main beach of Burleigh Heads and sporting a cellar door that initially erred on the smaller side of tiny but in 2017 expanded significantly, there's a near-guarantee that one of the founders will always be pouring your beers, with their dedication to maintaining a direct relationship with their consumers one of the driving forces behind their early success.

With Michael (Govs) at the helm of their 20 hectolitre system, their beers reflect his years of experience in commercial brewing. Sticklers for recipe refinement and repeat pilot batches, the eight tap cellar door showcases the comfortable ratio the guys have created between solid core range additions and experimental small batch trials. With a tap solely dedicated to single keg batches, there is no time for their 400 litre pilot system (which lives full time next to the main tanks) to gather any dust.

Despite the rotation of cracking small batch releases, the core range stands strong beside them. The 30 Cal West Coast Pale Ale provides the essential cellar door mid-strength and paves the way for the likes of Pink Mist, a lightly hopped Belgian saison fermented with fresh raspberries. From there you can level up to beers such as a selection of IPAs or their acclaimed Eggnog Stout, the latter being the beer they launched with and such a reliable element of the Black Hops journey that it’s almost transcended fermentation and adopted a persona you can shoot the shit with.

Having initially embraced the slogan of "The Least Covert Operation In History" from Very Serious Beer Man Judd Owen of Brewed Crude & Bitter and this parish too (and more recently embracing "Made by 3 mates in Burleigh Heads" as their clarion call), the Black Hops team solidified the quip by releasing a book to coincide with the opening of the brewery (not to mention brewing the official beer for the Australian launch of Call of Duty III). As seemingly self indulgent as a book release sounds, Operation Brewery is anything but. Dan’s extensive marketing background shines through in their no-bullshit account of turning a love of beer into a career. It is honest and insightful; a view mirrored in the openness of the brewery and their seemingly endless patience to not only throw ideas and questions to the public but receive them in return.

They've proven pretty good at the beer side of things too, winning the 2018 Champion Small Brewery title at the Australian International Beer Awards, while the founders also won the Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in manufacturing in the same year.

Inside the cellar door, adjacent to a wall length mural and opposite the doorway, copies of the book sit in flush against the back bar alongside 14 taps that pour directly from the cold room. It’s a naturally lit, open space that doesn’t attempt to separate you from stacks of kegs, malt sacks, the three vessel brewhouse and five conical fermenters. It’s a welcome and unassuming environment, so pull a stool up to the bar and get tasting; they’re not open late and there’s plenty to try.

Georgie Levi

Name
Black Hops Brewing
Address

15 Gardenia Grove
Burleigh Heads
QLD 4220

Phone
0423 585 032
Website
Hours

Wed to Fri: midday to 7pm
Sat & Sun: midday to 6pm

Tours

As advertised on social media.

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Free Tasting Paddle At Black Hops

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On tap at Black Hops Brewing

Black Hops Brewing Regulars

Black Hops Send It Session Ale

Tapped October 7th, 2018
If you’re familiar with the viral Larry Enticer video from 2017, you’ll know that Send It is a call to be bold, confident and willing to take risks. And, with this addition to their core range, Black Hops has looked to capture that spirit in a can. The brewers describe it as a "Gold Coast inspired session ale" and its light colour certainly suits the pale golden beaches of Burleigh. Calypso and Citra hops bring a baseline of stonefruit and citrus to the aroma, while the addition of… Read more
Style
Session Ale
ABV
4.2%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Black Hops Lay Day Lager

Looks like a white wine; smells like a tropical pale ale; tastes like a flavoursome lager. The folk at Black Hops have merged the widespread love of tropical hops and the clean sessionability of a well made lager. It’s super clear, looking similar to clarified apple juice or a crisp white wine. The big, fruity aroma will have you thinking you’ve picked up a hoppy pale ale, but the first sip reveals a clean lager with a smooth body. It’s clean without short-changing you on the flavour: subtle… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.4%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Black Hops Pale Ale

Tapped April 3rd, 2017
The Black Hops crew of Dan Norris, Eddie Oldfield, and Michael "Govs" McGovern has previously applied the same level of creativity found in some of the brewery's beers – eggnog stout, anyone? – to the beer's names. In keeping with the operation's name and branding, they've co-opted military-inspired beer names, from past GABS beer Assault Trifle to Code Red and Pink Mist. Yet, with this beer being a pale ale designed to appeal to a broader range of drinkers – as Dan puts it, for “entry… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
4.8%
Stockists

Black Hops Brewery

Not Tonight

And good beer outlets in QLD & NSW

More stockists...

Black Hops Brewing Beach House

Once they were settled into their brewery home just a couple of blocks back from the Burleigh Heads beach, the first beer to appear in a bottle was this saison. One of two in their range, it's a beer that belongs in the New World saison category because while there are familiar spicy elements in there, it's the beer's tropical character that takes centre stage. It's light in colour and on the palate, awash with tropical and juicy citrus aromas and flavours and fared well in the saison Blind Tasting… Read more
Style
New World Saison
ABV
4.8%

Black Hops Brewing 30 Cal

If you're brewing beer commercially in Queensland, it pays to have a mid-strength in your lineup. Enter 30 Cal, a beer that, as the name suggests is inspired by the California Common style and also registers an almost light beer-esque 3 percent ABV. It features Northern Brewer hops, a Californian lager yeast and Victory biscuit style malt, and it's the last of these that's perhaps the dominant player, creating tight, toasted malt flavours, backed up by a drying bitterness.… Read more
Style
California Common
ABV
3.0%

Black Hops Brewing Eggnog Stout

The beer where it all started for Black Hops Brewing, back when they were gypsy brewers. And, right from the start, they dropped hints at what was to come in terms of getting their message out to the world with the brew day documented at length online. The beer also hinted that they weren't going to be a brewing company hindered by a lack of imagination or fearful of trying something new. While the stout didn't contain actual eggnog, it did contain a fair amount of ingredients not usually found… Read more
Style
Spiced Stout
ABV
5.3%

Black Hops Brewing Pink Mist

Why have one saison in your core range when you can have two? Especially when you live in a climate that's designed for such tart and refreshing beers as this raspberry saison. No surprises for guessing that it's brewed with fresh raspberries, which are complemented by New Zealand and Australian hops. The result, say the Black Hops boys is a beer with "a beautiful pink colour with tart berry flavour and a dry, crisp finish."… Read more
Style
Raspberry Saison
ABV
4.7%

Black Hops Brewing Bitter Fun

They may have chosen to make the tropical, New World saison Beach House their flagship beer, but the Black Hops trio made sure they had a pale ale in the lineup to satisfy the hop hungry hordes too. The pun-tastic Bitter Fun uses all Aussie hops but adds them in the sort of quantities that send the beer into American pale ale territory. What that translates to is a beer in which the malt character us kept in the background to allow the apricot and stone fruit characters to shine. And, as the name… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
5.0%

Black Hops Brewing Specials

Black Hops Super Hornet DIPA

Tapped Yesterday
As 2018 draws to a close, the double IPA that's the bigger sibling to Black Hops' core range Hornet, has been given a run in cans. And, for all the attention that's been garnered by NEIPAs and Brut IPAs (and, to a lesser yet still considerable degree, milkshake IPAs) this past year, the arrival of Super Hornet is the latest in a pretty steady stream of such beers to have come our way, suggesting that, for all the fascination with outrageous fruit salads and low bitterness, there's still an appetite… Read more
Style
Double IPA
ABV
8.7%
Stockists

Use Black Hops' beer finder to assist your search

Black Hops Flash Bang

Tapped October 6th, 2018
White IPAs are, more often than not, a cross between an American IPA and a Belgian witbier. As a style, they’re pretty young – the first one to appear is widely accepted to be the 2010 collaboration between the brewmasters of Deschutes Brewing (known for its hoppy beers) and Boulevard Brewing (known for its wheat beers). It wasn’t until 2015 that White IPA then made it into the BJCP style guidelines. Unlike some other newer styles, white IPAs haven’t been popping up left, right and centre.… Read more
Style
White IPA
ABV
6.5%
Bitterness
68 IBU

Black Hops Code Red

Tapped May 7th, 2018
Black Hops release far more beers than anyone living outside their part of the world might be aware. From returning seasonals to one-offs and now small batch brews from their pilot system, there's always a steady stream hitting taps at their brewery home as well as venues around South East Queensland. But it's only every now and then a beer outside the core range makes an appearance in cans. Times like now, when they've given into popular demand for their autumn seasonal, Code Red. It's a red IPA… Read more
Style
Red IPA
ABV
6.2%
Stockists

Black Hops Brewery

And good beer retailers in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Northern NSW

Black Hops Recon Series: Negroni IPA

Tapped March 20th, 2018
The Negroni is not a new drink – it was invented almost a century ago; James Bond drinks it in the 1960 short story, Risico, and Italian restaurants have been serving it as an aperitif for years. But the past decade has seen it burst into the public consciousness (perhaps its impressive red colour helped made it Insta-famous too), and we’re all the better off for it. It’s equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, and equal parts refreshing, surprising and impressive – not to mention a… Read more
Style
Flavoured IPA
ABV
6.8%
Bitterness
60 IBU

Black Hops Brewing Hornet IPA

Tapped November 14th, 2016
Each season, Black Hops releases an IPA or variant thereof. For Summer 2016/7, that takes the form of the Hornet, which is the brewery's first "regular" IPA in the two-and-a-half years since they started out. According to the trio it features a mix of Aussie, American & New Zealand hops, which combine to create "a dry, angry bitter beer with some serious sting." Look out for it on tap and in bottles around South East Queensland including, if course, from their brewery cellar… Read more
Style
American IPA
ABV
6.0%
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