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Staves Brewery

Australia’s fondness for supporting the underdog is well known. Put your humble hardworking person up against the might and power of the establishment and you know where the neutral’s heart is most likely to lie. That underlying attitude is one of the many reasons craft beer has found such a fast and firm footing across the country, with people everywhere being prepared to ditch what big corporations have been serving up for years in favour of whatever it is the little guy down the road is doing. And when it comes to little guys of the beer world, few are littler than Staves.

It was back in 2013 that Steve Drissell announced his intentions to turn a derelict site in a Glebe back street into a brewpub. He wasn’t to know it would take a further two and a half years before a single drop of beer would flow through the taps – and it certainly wouldn't be beer brewed on site.

Just getting the building to a stage where he could legally have people inside was almost a point by point battle with the Building Code of Australia; the main structure had to be ripped out and replaced; the staircase brought down and rebuilt; all the concrete broken up and re-poured; modern amenities installed. With the place having not had a fire certificate in over five years it was probably closer in classification to a death trap than it was a legitimate business. But Steve stepped up to the challenge and began very slowly chipping away, aided by a great deal of determination to retain total independence and resist all temptation to hasten the process by accepting outside investment.

Having worked tirelessly while holding down another full time job, by the end of 2015 he had satisfied the authorities and was given the all clear to operate Staves as a standalone bar, which it did for a year while serving up some of the best of the local craft beer world. But sat behind the bar and obvious for all to see were the requisite pieces to put together a brewery.

It was an odd-looking system, something with an almost homemade feel that Steve had purchased on eBay on a whim, with little more than the seller’s promise that it worked. And, almost remarkably, it did and Staves was on its way to becoming a bonafide brewpub. In September 2016, nearly three years after Steve had made his plan public, and a year after first opening the doors, Staves finally poured the first of its own beers.

At the beginning there was no real rhyme or reason behind the range, but that gradually formed into a core of five beers; a lager, pale ale, IPA, oatmeal stout and the Ardennes Table Beer. Those are supplemented by three taps pouring one-offs which could be anything from a kettle sour to a parti-gyle dark ale to a Weizenbock to a triple IPA. If you like what you’re trying (or perhaps even if you don’t) the feedback loop is a very short one – when drinking at the bar you're almost close enough to whisper your thoughts directly in the brewer's ear.

Despite being hemmed in by the incessantly busy Parramatta Road and sat in the shadow of the Broadway Shopping Centre, Staves features a secret oasis from the chaos. In the centre of everything is a tranquil beer garden which, given its location, is a genuine hidden gem that you'd have no idea existed from the street. Ironically, the space only exists because the shed that was once there, and in which Steve had originally planned would house the brewery, was in such bad shape it had to be pulled down.

In a way, that’s almost representative of Staves as a whole. In the beginning there was a grand plan, but almost every part of it got shelved or shifted in some way. It was mainly through sheer bloody-mindedness that Steve was able to turn what was effectively a crumbling pile of ruins into something quite unique and wonderful. With the amount of effort it’s taken and the quality on offer, Staves is one little guy that’s well worth your support.

Nick O

Name
Staves Brewery
Address

4-8 Grose Street
Glebe
NSW 2037

Phone
02 9280 4555
Website
Regular events

Thu: Open mic night
Fri: Comedy night
Sat: Live music

Hours

Thursday: 4pm to 10pm
Friday: 4pm to midnight
Saturday: 2pm to midnight
Sunday: 2pm to 10pm

Tours

By appointment

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Two for One Tasting Paddles at Staves

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On tap at Staves Brewery

Staves Brewery Regulars

Staves Lager

Tapped January 26th, 2017
Despite being a brewpub, there are plenty of people who go to Staves and aren't there for the beer. They’re there for events, for the garden and for the general convivial ambiance, so when they head to the bar all they want is a beer, not a lecture on Belgian yeast strains or the subtleties of different hop varieties. For those people, this lager is what they overwhelmingly end up choosing. It’s funny, then, to think that when the brewery first got going a lager wasn't part of the plan. That’s… Read more
Style
Lager
Strength
5.0%

Staves Ardennes Table Beer

Tapped September 1st, 2016
The ‘Ardennes’ part in this beer’s name refers to a yeast named for the Ardennes region of Belgium and is thus known for its suitability for a variety of Belgian style beers. The way they use it at Staves is by fermenting it at a reasonably warm temperature which has the effect of helping promoting the yeast’s esters and phenols (in other words, making it smell both fruity and a little spicy). Because it’s made with pale malt and a good dose of oats, all the aromatics sit on top of a base… Read more
Style
Blonde Ale
Strength
4.2%

Staves Pale Ale

Tapped September 1st, 2016
Staying true to its American inspiration, Staves pale ale stands up tall when compared with your average Aussie-brewed version. It’s built around a trio of American hops – Columbus, Cascade and Simcoe – but just as important is a deliberately light malt body, stripped of the caramel and crystal malts commonly found in many versions of the style. The consequence is that the hops are allowed that extra little bit of scope to shine, and that they do. Newcomers tend to find it’s quite a jump… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
5.2%

Staves IPA

Tapped September 1st, 2016
Where Staves pale ale is distinctively American in nature with its use of a Northern Hemisphere hop bill, their IPA, while technically and demonstrably hoppier, is not merely a bigger version of the pale. On the contrary, most everything about it is different. It makes use exclusively of Southern Hemisphere hops – Galaxy, Waimea and Cascade – and a more substantial malt bill (though one that is admittedly still relatively light in the grand scheme of IPAs) to balance everything out. Within that… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
6.2%

Staves Oatmeal Stout

Tapped September 1st, 2016
Before Staves opened, its founder Steve had designs on plenty of British style beers pouring through the venue’s taps, a homage of sorts to the beers and breweries of his homeland which had helped shaped him. And while they certainly dabble in beers form the Old Country – the cask ales a case in point – the everyday lineup represents much more of a colourful view of the wider beer world than it is wedded to one particular country. That said, the oatmeal stout is a permanent reminder of the… Read more
Style
Oatmeal Stout
Strength
5.6%

Staves Brewery Specials

Staves Brewery XXPA & Ruby Grapefruit Sour

Tapped February 9th, 2018
Glebe brewpub Staves has kicked off its limited release schedule for 2018 with a pair of warm weather beers sitting at different points on the spectrum. The first was brewed in 2017, albeit on the very last day of the year, and has been sitting around conditioning since. It’s been labelled an XXPA, a style you won’t find in any official beer judging guidelines but which could, for reference, be described as a slightly stronger pale ale or perhaps a slightly less aggressive IPA. Whatever you… Read more
Style
IPA & Fruit Sour
Strength
7.5% & 5.0%

Staves Brewery India Pale Kolsch

Tapped October 25th, 2017
When it comes to the sexy beers styles of the beer world, you’d have to say that Kölsch isn’t really one of them. Pale in colour, light in flavour, there’s little in this German variety for the average beer nerd to get excited about; it’s more often a beer chosen by those seeking something clean and refreshing or subtle and delicately balanced. But, as with many styles, pop the words ‘India Pale’ as a prefix and people will invariably pay a bit more attention. Now, it should be said… Read more
Style
India Pale Kolsch
Strength
6.9%

Staves Brewery / Harts Pub IPA

Tapped October 12th, 2017
Staves Brewery and Harts Pub have a kind of natural affinity. At heart, both are pretty traditional, English-style venues that don't seek to be too flamboyant, instead just focusing on serving up good beer and a cosy, convivial ambience; the rest is up to you. This kind of mutual thinking perhaps explains why Harts was the first – and so far only – place to have had a Staves showcase. And it’s probably part of the reason why the two ended up teaming up on a beer. It began, as these things… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
6.2%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

Staves & Shenanigans Hopfoolery IIIPA

Tapped August 3rd, 2017
Overblown beer listing warning! Ask people to name the beer style that's most difficult to make well and many will say lager. It’s an argument grounded in logic: with such subtle and dainty flavours, there’s simply less room to hide faults in lighter beers. But to brew a well balanced beer at the other end of the spectrum, where the flavours are so intense and the alcohol so strong, is just as much of a feat. In some cases, where the recipe suggests the flavours may be too overt, the brewer will… Read more
Style
Triple IPA
Strength
11.3%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

Staves Coconut Brown / Imperial Stout

Tapped July 11th, 2017
To celebrate the Winter Solstice, Staves put on an event designed to show off their dark side by way of turning all their taps over to dark beers, most of which were their own, a couple of which were brand new. The first new one was a coconut brown ale that was not strictly theirs, as much as they’d like to claim the credit upon tasting the result. It was the winner of a home brew competition run through the venue that saw the victorious entry scaled up (in as much as the tiny brewpub does scale)… Read more
Style
Various

Staves Brewery Hoppy Witbier

Tapped May 26th, 2017
Sometimes things don't go to plan. Things like this beer, for example. Upon conception it was destined to become a white IPA, a hybrid of sorts that typically uses the yeast (and sometimes coriander and orange peel) of a witbier before being lavished with a hop hit akin to that of an IPA. That was the plan here. Then the brewery’s digital thermometer broke. In a small and very manual brewery like Staves, there’s a fair chance there could be variance in any brew versus the original plan, but… Read more
Style
Hoppy Witbier
Strength
5.3%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

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