“What do you like to drink?”
It’s such a simple question, but when it comes from a smiling bartender standing at the beer taps, it brings with it so much opportunity. It’s a world apart from the monolithic and monochromatic beer culture of decades ago, and more the vibe of farmers’ markets, where customers are invited to look over the diverse produce, to smell the aromas, to taste the flavours, and finally to choose what will bring them the most delight.
This is the vibe of Brouhaha.
It’s a brand that has so much going for it. A broad spectrum of beer styles and a reputation for exploring new flavours, particularly the way different fruits work together in sour beers. A colourful design that uses pastel tones on a clean white background to reveal the array of said flavours and connect to all kinds of people. Two welcoming venues with distinct personalities: a cozy and organic brewpub nestled in leafy Maleny, and a breezy and slick warehouse site in the burgeoning Aura community. A diversity of patrons, from the locals who warm the bar stools every Friday night to the beer pilgrims who travel to the Sunshine Coast from afar to sample Brouhaha’s wares fresh from the source.
This vibrant success is something Brouhaha’s founders could hardly have expected when they began in 2016. They were four Sunny Coast locals with an itch to start a brewpub in Maleny and a pipe dream of expanding someday, and were pleasantly surprised by how rapidly Brouhaha’s reputation grew. The brewery became known for the quality of its beers in general, and for the excellence of its fruited sours in particular; the award-winning Strawberry Rhubarb Sour, kettle soured with local Maleny Dairies yoghurt, went from being a small batch brew to joining the core range and going on to outsell the next most popular beer three-to-one.
As the clamour for Brouhaha beers grew to a crescendo, the brewery smashed their five year goals in two years. They produced an admirable amount of beer and did what they could to expand, but there was only so much brewing equipment they could squeeze in beside the kitchen at the brewpub. The brewers found themselves chasing their tails to keep up with demand for their core range beers, and not having the time to explore and experiment with flavours in a way they’d enjoyed doing in the early days.
The solution? A second site that can pump out more beer. A lot more beer.
The original site, Brouhaha Maleny, got to keep its charm as a hinterland wonderland: a warm, timber-toned brewpub perched among the trees. The chef continues to use local produce in the dishes, and the brewers use the brewhouse as a kind of playground where they can play with new fruits and flavours to their hearts’ content, making seasonals and limited releases and experimental batches.
The second location, Brouhaha Baringa, opened in late 2021. It’s a production brewery capable of pouring forth beer like a seemingly limitless underground spring. The brewhouse itself was custom built to handle Brouhaha’s high volume of souring: the presence of two separate kettles means there’s space to keep brewing while one dedicated double-sized kettle is full of sour beer patiently doing its thing. The back wall of the brewery is lined with fermenting tanks full of the brewery’s core range beers, and since the building takes up four warehouse lots, there’s plenty of space for more rows of tanks as Brouhaha continues to grow.
But Brouhaha Baringa isn’t all work, no play – a bar and taproom at one end of the space is where punters can enjoy the fruits of the brewers’ labour with a coastal vibe. Sixteen taps pour beers for all tastes, complemented by a collection of Queensland wines and Aussie spirits. There’s even a tidy cocktail list, with the beerific Strawbarb Gin Sour as the headliner. Sustenance comes from the food trucks driving right in through the huge roller doors, and entertainment from the live musicians on Friday and Saturday nights letting their tunes fill the building.
Locals arrive on pushbikes and scooters. Young families play giant Jenga. Seasoned tradies in hi-vis workwear lean on gold-bottomed bar tables. Those seeking elegance head upstairs to lounge on brown leather couches and blue velvet easy chairs, surrounded by oversize pot plants and looking out over the brewery floor.
More people are discovering Brouhaha all the time as the brewery’s footprint grows and the clean but striking tinnies make their way into fridges around the country. But for all the expansion and change and refreshed branding and the second venue and the ever-growing number of tanks… you can still walk up to the bar in Maleny or Baringa and have a smiling Brouhaha staff member ask: “What do you like to drink?"