Pete Walsh and the team behind Bodriggy Brewing Co aren’t phased by big projects. Standing in their future 1500 square metre brewpub in early 2017 – at the time filled with cars from neighbouring businesses using it as parking space – Pete rattles off the plans for the Abbotsford building. Brewhouse over here, beer garden here, rooftop garden bar up there.
They’re staring down the barrel of a two-year project, but taking it in their stride. For Pete, it’s not the first time. As one of the founders of the Dr Morse bar and eatery across the road, he is all too familiar with long building phases and keeping oneself busy in the meantime. It took 15 months for the doors of Dr Morse to open, so Bodriggy just ain’t no big thing.
Much like the way in which the name of Dr Morse was influenced by a mural discovered on a wall of their new venue while it was under construction, Bodriggy draws its name from the building it inhabits too. While the lettering above the entrance offers up its former life as an auto service centre, it once served as a stonemasons villa, known as Bodriggy Villa, and that name can still be found on the roof of the building. It seemed fitting to follow the approach taken before them and name their new brewery after a piece of history too.
By the middle through 2018, after more than two years of gypsy brewing across Melbourne, the brewhouse was installed in the warehouse and Bodriggy brought all brewing in house. Pete and his team were also quick to offer their extra capacity for other brewers to use, just as Bodriggy had operated in its early days.
It also saw all of the brewery’s beers make the switch to cans and allowed the brewery to focus on producing a wider lineup of beers. Core range beers like the pale ale Highbinder and the Chuckaboo white IPA remain, now joined by a growing band of limited releases. That includes Speccie Juice, a session IPA brewed with inner north neighbours The Old Bar and its football team The Unicorns.
It’s the kind of collaboration that fits with Pete’s priority that Bodriggy needs to be first and foremost an authentic Abbotsford space where anyone is welcome, one that just so happens to make its own beer. To fit that vision, plans for the venue when it opens towards the start of 2019 are detailed and immense.
A unique leafy beer garden directly underneath the train station will combine with the main bar area opening up onto the brewery, while the main bar itself will also sit underneath retractable roofs to let the sun fill the old warehouse. All beer that has been made on site will be available for takeaway in tins from a bottleshop/tasting room located directly under the rooftop garden bar.
In a city with so many emerging breweries, having a strong connection to the community around you seems to be evermore important. That's clearly the case for Bodriggy, even if they still have to wait a little while longer for the final stages of the project to take shape.