Odyssey Craft Brewing

If you’re into good beer and you’ve spent any time around the Surf Coast of Victoria in recent years, there’s a good chance you would have called into the Odyssey Tavern and Brewery. It opened in 2012 as one of very few venues offering craft beer in any serious way in the region, helping light the way for others that are starting to follow.

When it opened, a small space behind the bar was earmarked for a brewery that would have needed to be nano more than micro in scale. But, before they got around to installing a system a beer bearing the Odyssey name appeared. It was the Calypso Pale Ale, a tropical fruit bomb brewed under license for Odyssey.

The beer instantly proved a hit, winning People’s Choice at the first Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong at which it was showcased and landing in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll three years running. The proposed brewery, on the other hand, didn’t come to fruition – no bad thing as however much steel they tried to jam into the venue, it wasn’t going to be enough to meet demand locally for the Calypso.

Thus, plans for the beer side of the Odyssey business were reworked and focus instead turned towards building a successful brand with beer brewed offsite. And, having brewed beer at a few places in the first couple of years, today that means just the one site: the one belonging to Barabool Brewing Company, the brewer behind Cockies Beers, winner of the Australian International Beer Awards Best New Exhibitor in 2016.

Barabool was launched by Jamie Roydhouse, a homebrewer of nearly five decades, in his 60s as a means, as he puts it, of having some fun before it was too late. He had spare capacity, all of which is now taken up by Odyssey.

Like their host, the ethos behind Odyssey’s beers is to create a range that is full of character yet with sessionability in mind; most of the range sits between mid 4 and mid 5 percent ABV and looks to squeeze as much into these pocket rockets as possible, be that the fruity hops that dominate the Calypso and Beach Ale, the layers of malt in the ESR (Extra Special Red ale) or the rich Coffee Stout. Like Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, Grant is the conductor when it comes to beer concepts but brings in others, mainly homebrewing mate Heath Bourke, to turn those concepts into reality; as Grant puts it, Heath has "embraced every challenge thrown at him and has nailed beer after beer through numerous trial batches until its exactly how it should be."

Completing the picture is brother-in-law Callum Nicholls, who joined the team to help take the brewing company to a bigger audience and has taken on multiple roles – coordinating brews, distribution, marketing and events – and graphic designer Andrew Ferrie of Gruff Design. He took original drawings by Gavin Mouldrey of Dittybox Design and the space odyssey idea behind the brand to create a story shot through with humour that demands you spend time peering closely at the labels on Odyssey’s bottles. With equally eye-catching tap handles from Rain Gidley completing the picture, one assumes the lack of a brewery isn’t something that’s troubling the crew as they continue on their craft beer odyssey.

Odyssey Craft Brewing
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Odyssey Craft Brewing Regulars

Odyssey Craft Brewing Calypso Pale Ale

The Calypso is where it all started for Odyssey Craft Brewing. This pale ale was the first beer created by owner Grant Byrne and then brewer Matt Cuthbert and was soon winning fans, taking out the People's Choice at the Great Australian Beer Festival and charting year in, year out in the annual Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers poll – no mean feat for a small brewing company still building its distribution network. It's easy to see why it quickly found favour in today's beer climate: a highly aromatic… Read more
Pale Ale

Odyssey Craft Brewing Beach Ale

When you're situated just a short drive from some of the most iconic beaches and ocean drives in the country – not to mention based on a road going by the name Surfcoast Highway – it makes sense to pay homage. And that's what Odyssey Craft Brewing has done with its Beach Ale, in name, character and design, with bottles featuring astronauts shuttling between spaceships on interstellar versions of ice cream hawkers' bikes. The beer itself isn't a million miles from the Calypso Pale Ale in that… Read more
Summer Ale

Odyssey Craft Brewing Polyphemus ESR

Polyphemus was the most famous of the giant Cyclops in Homer's Odyssey, here reinvented as the third beer in the Odyssey core range. It's an ESR – no, not a typo, but their melding of Irish red ales and English Extra Special Bitters that was originally brewed for the GABS festival in 2015. It's a counterpoint to the first two Odyssey beers: there, the role of the malts was to do little more than support the fruity hops; here, it's all about the malt, layers of toffee, chocolate and nuts. Aussie… Read more
Red Ale

Odyssey Craft Brewing Specials

Odyssey Craft Brewing Jersey Caramel Porter

Tapped June 12th, 2017
In I Wanna Go To Marz, off his debut album Queen of Denmark, John Grant builds a song around lyrics listing the very many sweet treats that, in his youth, he would enjoy from the candy store of the same name. Give it a couple more years and he could do the same based on the desserts and lollies recreated in beer form at GABS. Joining the growing list of lolly-inspired festival beers in 2017 was the Jersey Caramel Porter from Odyssey Craft Brewing. According to the team at the brewing company (and… Read more
Caramel Porter

More stockists TBC

Odyssey Craft Brewing Apocalypso DIPA

Tapped February 18th, 2017
Apocalypso is a beer that followed in the footsteps of its baby brother, Calypso, and took out the People's Choice title at the Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong shortly after being released. Easily the biggest beer to come out of Odyssey Craft Brewing, it's a double IPA that ramps up the characteristics that made the Calypso so popular – essentially, heaps of New World hop character. Even if you weren't aware what beer you'd been handed, you'd have an idea it was big just from looking… Read more
Double IPA

Odyssey Craft Brewing Coffee Stout

For the most part, the aim at Odyssey Craft Brewing seems to be to create what we termed elsewhere "pocket rockets" – beers that are full of character without registering too high on the booze scale. And that's certainly the case with the Coffee Stout, which comes in bold green livery and astronauts harvesting ingredients from what we're pretty sure is a coffee plantation floating in a galaxy far, far away. Tagged an American stout, you could easily take it to be a milk stout too, given… Read more
Coffee Stout
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