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Bruny Island Beer Co

Bruny Island, in Tasmania's south, is a place famed for fine produce celebrating the region's natural bounty. Among those who have helped build its reputation is Nick Haddow, the founder of Bruny Island Cheese.

Evan Hunter is a Tasmanian who has worked with a number of the state's leading booze producers, including Lark Distillery, Moo Brew and Seven Sheds, and who has long had a vision for creating beers that not only celebrate local produce but do so in a unique manner that reflects beer and brewing's long history.

Since 2014, the two have been working together in a partnership that seems as ideal a match as the pairings they now suggest between the former's cheeses and the latter's beers. Bruny Island Beer Co released its first beer in February 2016, brewed in a small building that occupies the same farmland as its dairy-based sibling and has rapidly built a reputation as the progenitor of some of the most fascinating beers to come out of Tasmania's rapidly swollen brewing scene.

While the core range of beers may appear to tick many staples – a pale ale of sessionable strength, an IPA, a stout, a mid-strength, for example – the ingredients within and the methods by which they're made are frequently a little – or a lot – different from the norm. And they're joined many times a year by short run and experimental releases, such as a series of diverse saisons, some huge stouts and the occasional, sometimes extreme, sour.

In keeping with the location, Evan and partner Stephanie Schrodka sourced most of the equipment that makes up the brewery from dairy farms. The collection of decommissioned vats was repurposed into a 15 hectolitre brewhouse with three open fermenters, a collection that had already hit capacity within two years.

The team there believes the unique setup of the brewery contributes to the rustic, farmhouse nature of the beers, adding character in keeping with Evan's idiosyncratic methods. He enjoys using raw ingredients in his beers and, for bottle conditioning, adds a portion of a particular beer's unfermented wort instead of kickstarting the process with a dose of sugar as is more usual practice; it's a choice he believes is better for the end product and also in keeping with his passion for keeping archaic practices alive – even if it can lead to some ridiculously long brew days and challenges along the way.

This fascination with atypical local ingredients and the process of fermentation is one that's shared with the cheese side of the business and also with customers: pick up any bottle of Bruny Island beer and the label details not only every single ingredient that's gone into it but also a beer and cheese pairing. With the cheesery releasing seasonal products alongside its permanent range, the scope for matching is great.

While you can find Bruny Island's beers across Tasmania and in a handful of outlets on the mainland, the majority of the beer is still sold via the cellar door and tasting room attached to Bruny Island Cheese. It's worth crossing the water to make your own visit, as the buildings offer views over Great Bay and you can walk through scrub to the nearest beach in a couple of minutes.

As for how Evan and Nick came to work together, it goes back to a project called Brew Nouveau. Evan launched a crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 with the aim of starting a small brewery making beers "inspired by the Tasmanian environment.” Nick was sent the crowdfunding pitch, liked what he saw and got in touch. Realising they shared many of the same passions and goals, they decided to work together, with Evan returning the money to those who'd backed his Pozible campaign once Bruny Island Beer Co was ready to roll.

Where their shared journey will lead should be worth watching for anyone with an interest in authentic regional produce. Already, they've embarked on multiple collaborations and started celebrating Tasmanian artists on beer labels too. That said, it's likely to be a meandering journey with the Bruny Island Beer crew describing what they do as "slow beer" – a pleasant change in a beer world that's moving ever faster.

Bruny Island Beer Co

1807 Bruny Island Main Rd
Great Bay
TAS 7150

0499 170 375

9.30am to 5pm

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Free Beer Or Paddle At Bruny Island

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Bruny Island Beer Co Regulars

Bruny Island Beer Co Cloudy Bay IPA

Cloudy Bay was conceived as a tribute to the state's biggest hop grower, the Hop Products Australia operation at Bushy Park. It doffs its cap by featuring six of the proprietary hop varieties developed by the grower (which means the beer will be changing over time given HPA's decision to discontinue some to focus on its most popular crops). While they're all still available, that means you can tuck into a mix of Galaxy, Ella, Enigma, Helga, HPA-035 and Summer added at seven stages in the brewing… Read more
Tasmanian IPA

Bruny Island Beer Co Whey Stout

One of many beers in the Bruny Island lineup that highlights Evan Hunter's desire to do things not only his own way but often the hard way. There are plenty of milk stouts around that use lactose (milk sugar), which is left undigested by the beer's yeast to add a creaminess both to the texture and flavour. Rather than buy in the lactose for this beer, they make use of the local bounty and carry nearly 400 litres of cow's milk whey left over from making Raw Milk C2 to the brew kettle, 50 metres from… Read more
Milk Stout

Bruny Island Beer Co Lighthouse Ale

The beer that takes its name from the Cape Bruny Lighthouse was designed with a couple of things in mind. With many visitors to the cellar door driving, they needed a light beer on their roster. What's more, brewer Evan fancied something full of flavour but low in alcohol he could sit on for festival sessions when not at work. What that turned into is this sub-3 percent ABV red/amber ale. It's a good looking beer, nailing the colour and sending up a big, fluffy head that leaves pretty lacing on your… Read more
Light Beer

Bruny Island Beer Co Oxymoron

Why Oxymoron? Because this core range beer from Bruny Island is designed to come across like a hoppy pale ale while looking like a dark ale – like a black IPA but not as dark or an American brown ale with less malt character. On the nose, you'll find spicy, herbal aromas backed up by choc orange and pineapple; flavour wise there's plenty of piney, resinous hop action there too. Where the malt does make an appearance, it's of a dusty, dry roast and cocoa nature, with a touch of caramel in there… Read more
Hoppy Brown Ale

Bruny Island Beer Co Farm Ale

Were someone to pass you a glass of fresh Bruny Island Farm Ale, you'd likely recognise it as the sort of beer many Australian brewers have been doing well in recent years: a fruity, tropical twist on pale English summer ales. After all, it pours a hazy, pale golden colour, has a soft, wheat-enhanced body and offers up rounded aromas and flavours encompassing peach, nectarine, mango and a touch of lemony citrus. Yet the route by which brewer Evan Hunter reached that point is rather circuitous and… Read more
Tasmanian Session Ale

Bruny Island Beer Co Specials

Bruny Island Metric Stout 2018

Tapped July 16th, 2018
Bruny Island Beer Co seems to be less a brewery focused on a beer for each season than one that switches up its offering entirely as the seasons change in Tassie. Through the warmer months, brewer Evan Hunter focused almost exclusively on brewing various saisons to augment the core range (four different ones, by our reckoning) and, since things have turned rather cooler, it's back to stouts and hearty, malt led affairs. Sadly, the insane length of time and number of processes that went into creating… Read more
"Post-Imperial" Stout

Bruny Island & Seven Sheds Rambling Red

Tapped July 11th, 2018
It's been a few years since Evan Hunter worked alongside Willie Simpson at Seven Sheds but, since taking up the reins at Bruny Island Beer Co he's taken plenty of opportunities to collaborate with his old tutor. And they've been at it again for winter 2018, creating the Rambling Red, a red ale with ingredients sourced from across Tasmania – including Willie's homegrown Cascade and Fuggles hops – but with its heart and head just as much in the UK. It pours a lovely chestnut colour, reminiscent… Read more
Red Ale

Bruny Island Beer Co 2018 Hop Harvest Ale

Tapped May 11th, 2018
If you've not been to the Fresh Hop Festival in Launceston, firstly, you should. There's scores of festivals around the country now at all times of the year, yet this one still manages to stand out from the crowd as it brings together close to 30 Aussie brewers to launch beers made with wet hops. Secondly, if you do go, you'll find plenty of beers you might not have expected. Think "wet hop beer" and you're likely to imagine something pale in which malt and yeast are there just to let the… Read more
Wet Hop Belgian Golden Ale

Bruny Island Beer Co Second Breakfast

Tapped March 16th, 2018
Breakfast must be a great time on Bruny Island, at least if you're hanging out with the team at Bruny Island Cheese and Beer. Last year, the brewery's Stoutfast – a beyond hearty stout loaded up with fruits, oats, honey and coffee sourced from across Tasmania plus whey from the dairy – made it into our Best New Tasmanian Beers of the year. And now there's Second Breakfast, not a sequel to that beer but another that features ingredients more typically found on the table at the start of the day. In… Read more
Brett Honey Saison

Bruny Island Beer Co Broadacre Saison

Tapped March 6th, 2018
Last time we chatted to someone at Bruny Island Beer Co, they said they were currently on something of a saison tip. And it looks like they weren't kidding, with the fiercely Brettanomyces'd-to-the-hilt Saison D'Entrecasteaux followed by the delightful Brettanomyces'd Beautiful Ugly and now Broadacre, a beer that reins in the overt funk of its predecessors and instead introduces another new ingredient to the young brewery's already diverse palette: organic quinoa. Given our experience of quinoa saisons… Read more
Quinoa Saison

Bruny Island Beer Co Beautiful Ugly

Tapped January 16th, 2018
Bruny Island Beer Co is on something of a saison tip at the minute, as they have every right to be given the brewery is located on a farm and it's the time of year when a refreshing, tart beer can be just what the doctor ordered. Beautiful Ugly isn't just another saison, however, it's the launch of what will be an annual series celebrating Tasmanian artists. First to get a guernsey (well, an excerpt from her painting "Me and My Beautiful Ugly Cakes" on the label) is Junko Go, with her… Read more
Brett Saison

Bruny Island Beer Co Stoutfast

Tapped June 10th, 2017
Stoutfast was brewed to herald the arrival of winter and the brewery team termed it everything from a breakfast stout to the beer equivalent of an espresso martini and a breakfast smoothie. As is often brewer Evan Hunter's wont, it was one hell of an involved brew – unsurprising, perhaps, when you consider the ingredient bill includes organic Tasmanian oat porridge, Derwent Valley raspberries and blueberries, Bruny Island Cheese's own fresh cow’s milk whey, Wellington Apiary leatherwood honey… Read more
Breakfast Stout

Bruny Island Beer Co & Bucket Boys 99 Oysters

Tapped November 1st, 2017
When making their rare appearances in beer, oysters tend to crop up in stouts more often than any other beer style. Yet, given their salty, briny nature, you can understand their appeal to brewers of the salty, sour gose style. That's where the brewers from Bruny Island and Sydney's Bucket Boys decided to head for their first collaboration, enlisting Get Shucked to supply 99 oysters pulled fresh from the ocean just 500m from the brewery. The bivalves came late to the piece, following a spot of kettle… Read more
Oyster Gose

Bruny Island Beer Co Saison D'Entrecasteaux

Tapped November 1st, 2017
When you're a farm based brewery that loves to showcase your home state's farming produce, it makes sense to brew farmhouse style ales like saisons. This one takes its name from French explorer Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, whose expedition charted the Bruny Island area in 1792. As with many Bruny Island beers, it uses raw barley and wheat grown in fields overlooking the D'Entrecasteaux Channel on North Bruny, as well as Tasmanian grown Helga, Willamette and HPA-035 hops. Completing the picture… Read more
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