Craft beer can bring with it a whole lot of good. It can give you the chance to push yourself out of your comfort zone on the way to exploring new flavours, or lead you to discover a drink or place you’ll return to again and again. Better yet, it can be a whole lot of fun, has the power to bring people together, and the breweries that create it and the venues that promote it are often the perfect environment in which to build a community.
Fox Friday’s beers and their home in Hobart encapsulate all of that and more, and manage to capture it rather succinctly in the mantra: “Live Everyday Like It’s Friday.” After all, who doesn’t love a Friday? They’re a little more vibrant than the rest of the working week, charged with energy and the promise of the weekend ahead, whether that’s a time for relaxing or partying – if not both at once.
When it comes to Fox Friday, things tend towards the latter, particularly since the change of ownership in 2019. The Tasmanian brewery first appeared back in 2016 before being taken over by Benn and Sarah Hooper. The couple was immediately embraced by Hobart’s tightknit beer community, not least thanks to their passion, approach to brewing and, more than anything, their beers as they became the first in the state to really push into the world of highly hopped, hazy, higher ABV IPAs. It took no time for whispers to start spreading throughout Hobart that this little brewery in the northern suburb of Moonah was one to watch.
These days, those whispers better resemble applause and the brewery in Moonah isn’t so little either. They’ve replaced the small kit they inherited with an impressive 15 hectolitre brewhouse designed to ensure they’re able to release beers – on a Friday of course – at a speed that would have terrified Australia’s early craft brewers and dazzled its drinkers.
Indeed, under the Hoopers, Fox Friday is a modern brewery built on fun that likes to explore what makes craft beer so exciting, whether that’s new hops, new brewing techniques, or just the simple pleasure of cracking a classically-minded pils. Sure, their reputation might be built on hazy IPAs, (not to mention IIPAs and IIIPAs) but such beers are just part of their oeuvre: lagers, big stouts and much in between are becoming part of the brewery’s story too. Indeed, once that new brewhouse fired up midway through 2022, little time was wasted putting beer into barrels.
The core range is about as dialled-in a journey through hoppy styles as you can take; Pale Ale, Hazy Pale, Hazy IPA and West Coast are the sort of beers you’d want to hand to a mate who asks you what there is to like about craft beer.
Following a rebrand in 2022, those beers appear in strikingly sleek cans which, like the pared-back logo, are instantly recognisable. And while the can design is clean, each one comes packed with the kind of info any discerning drinker might be looking for: the hops, malt, yeast and anything else that’s been added to the beer are all listed. Fox Friday’s world might be focused first and foremost on fun, but they take their beer seriously and want to make sure drinkers know what they’re getting and, hopefully, discover something new to love along the way.
Since the production brewery fired up, their beers have become far easier to find in other parts of Australia, although if you’re in Hobart and don’t include a visit to their taproom on your agenda, it’s safe to say you’re missing out. Located in the city’s CBD, it’s an expansive space with high ceilings and tall, street-facing windows that make it feel like this old building was always destined to become a place in which you’d enjoy tasty beer.
At the very least, it’s the perfect place to work your way through the dozen taps that pour Fox Friday’s ever-changing lineup of beers, with a fireplace keeping things convivial even when the Tassie weather takes a turn. Meanwhile, the large wooden tables and many items on the menu – wings, burgers, and hot dogs inspired by the American south – make it clear that sharing beer and good times, no matter the day of the week, is this venue’s reason for being.
Given the speed with which Fox Friday’s new releases tend to appear, it should come as no surprise that it’s a brewery on the move. At the time of writing, work is underway on a second brewery in Melbourne; their Richmond home set to open in the second half of 2023 will feature a taproom and brewery similar to the one in Moonah to ensure consistency is maintained across the sites.
Once it’s open, with two venues and two breweries in two states at their disposal, their mission to encourage people to live everyday like it’s Friday should be easier than ever.