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.

Over time, new beers have kept on coming – 8 percent ABV imperial sour, anyone? – while the core range has shifted and comedy and live music have pulled in crowds week in, week out. At the same time, as it's evolved organically, Steve's English roots have become more apparent, with an hour or two at the bar likely to conjure memories of pubs on the other side of the planet – not just due to the tall wooden handles on the bar or the tankards overhead, but the whole ambience.

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
Regular events

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

Open Hours

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

Tours

By appointment

On tap at Staves Brewery


This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Staves Brewery Regulars

Staves XPA

Tapped September 2, 2020
Staves Brewery may be a dim brewpub full of dark nooks, sitting in the shadow of Broadway Shopping Centre… but that doesn’t mean no brightness gets in. This XPA gleams with hop character, smelling of stone fruit and tangy orange and pineapple Fanta. That doesn’t mean the taste is sugary, though - the bright fruits are joined by bitter resin, which provides a nice punch for a 5 percent XPA. Mick Wust… Read more
Style
XPA
ABV
5.0%

Staves Crispy Boi Lager

Tapped January 26, 2017
First things first: I absolutely cannot drink a beer called Crispy Boi without this song coming to mind, but with "crispy" in the place of "sexy". With that out of the way, this Czech style lager is a beautiful little thing. The body is super clear with soothing carbonation (and now that you too have Sexy Boy stuck in your head, perhaps you’ll appreciate this scene from 10 Things I Hate About You, and imagine the slow-motion yellow flyers as bubbles rising hypnotically in your… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.7%

Staves Into The Black Oatmeal Stout

Tapped September 1, 2016
If you’re convinced that rock and roll can never die, then you’ll appreciate this stout - it shares its name with a Neil Young song that holds that exact message, and has since been quoted by so many rockers. Into The Black carries some of the heaviness of its eponymous song, with the oats giving it a fullness in the mouth. Dark chocolate and roasty bitterness sit front and centre, but there’s also a hint of coffee and a slightly earthy char around the edges, like a spent cigar butt in an open… Read more
Style
Oatmeal Stout
ABV
5.4%

Staves IPA

Tapped September 1, 2016
If you love your hops but you’re ready to take a break from the juice, Staves IPA is a cracking example of an IPA that brings in powerful malt character to carry its hops. Right away, the rich gold colour hints that it’s going to have a solid malt base, and it doesn’t lie. Caramel and honey sweetness lay the foundation for the southern hemisphere hop flavours to come - a bright citrus twang of lime and tangerine sherbet sit alongside gentle, sweet melon and a hint of pine. And just as any well-dressed… Read more
Style
IPA
ABV
6.6%

Staves Pale Ale

Tapped September 1, 2016
Bam!!! Kapow!!! This tinnie makes you want to wear your underwear on the outside and kick bad guys out of windows. (But then, a lot of things make me do that.) If the bright colours and exclamation marks on the label of Staves Brewery’s Pale Ale doesn’t make you feel like a comic book superhero, the beer inside might. Like moving from one panel to the next, this pale shifts from a fruity aroma to a piney taste to an earthy aftertaste, punctuated with a karate chop of bitterness. It took home… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
5.3%

Staves Charlie Ryder Session Ale

Charlie Ryder is the name of Staves owner Steve Drissell’s son; it then went on to be the name of one of the beers brewed for Steve’s wedding; and now, it’s the name of this bright and chirpy session ale that makes so many Staves regulars happy. This snappy little mid-strength is light and cloudy, and positively bouncing with Amarillo and Centennial hops. Citrus zing and berry sweetness give Charlie Ryder a sunny disposition, and put a shine on the face of anyone who drinks it. Mick Wust… Read more
Style
Session Ale
ABV
3.5%

Staves Brewery Specials

Staves Hole Molé Nitro Chocolate Milk Stout

Tapped September 3, 2020
The first time I tasted Mexican hot chocolate, it was a particularly intense experience - my tastebuds took a battering and my face didn’t know how to react. Since when does hot chocolate make my mouth hurt?? If you’re hesitant to try a chilli chocolate beer, rest assured: while Holy Molé contains some of the ingredients that give Mexican hot chocolate its complex flavours (bittersweet chocolate, Ancho chilli, vanilla pods and cinnamon), it isn’t a tastebud-battering experience. The main characters… Read more
Style
Nitro Stout
ABV
5.3%

Staves Biscuit Tin Coconut & Raspberry Biscuit Ale

Tapped September 3, 2020
In a world where dessert beers are often thicker and sweeter than the desserts they represent(!), it’s a nice change to have something that captures the essence of a sweet treat but doesn’t give you a heart attack. While there is some lactose for sweetness, it doesn’t grab your attention; Biscuit Tin is closer to an English Mild or a brown ale than a pastry stout. Staves aren’t subtle about what this beer is supposed to taste like. If the can design doesn’t tip you off, the description… Read more
Style
Dessert Brown Ale
ABV
4.5%

Staves Rauchbier

Tapped September 3, 2020
Many breweries present rauchbiers as sophisticated, Old World, something you’d drink while wearing a tweed suit and smoking a pipe. But Staves seems less inclined towards an 1880s Europe vibe and more interested in a 1980s Miami vibe; for their Rauchbier can design, they’ve gone all postmodernist paint splashes and neon lettering. This radness comes through in the brew - rather than being dominated by smoke alone, the rusty red pour carries sweet toffee malt along with its smoke to give a fun… Read more
Style
Rauchbier
ABV
5.4%

Staves Brewery Vienna Lager & Brut IPA

Tapped March 30, 2019
Staves installed a couple of double-sized fermenters in summer 2018/19, which doubled the brewpub's capacity. Since these bigger tanks can now take some of the pressure off the core range, the other fermenters have been freed up for more rotating of styles, old and new, across the taps. If you’re after a more traditional beer, the Vienna Lager is a fine example of the style. You can tell everything you need to know about it just by looking at it: when you see the dark gold brew shot through with… Read more
Style
Vienna Lager & Brut IPA
ABV
4.3% & 5.5%

Staves Brewery Winter Solstice II Collection

Tapped June 22, 2018
For the second edition of what is surely now a nailed on annual tradition, Staves celebrated Winter Solstice by turning their Glebe brewpub into a haven of dark beer that featured something for everyone with a dusky disposition. Getting Figgy With It is a near ten percent ABV Belgian Dubbel aged on bourbon soaked Hungarian oak, with dried figs and Medjool dates thrown into the mix for added effect. As you can likely guess from the name, it’s a beer that throws up plenty of complexity; rich and… Read more
Style
Dark Beers

Staves Brewery XXPA & Ruby Grapefruit Sour

Tapped February 9, 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
ABV
7.5% & 5.0%

Staves Brewery India Pale Kolsch

Tapped October 25, 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
ABV
6.9%

Staves Brewery / Harts Pub IPA

Tapped October 12, 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
ABV
6.2%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

Staves & Shenanigans Hopfoolery IIIPA

Tapped August 3, 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
ABV
11.3%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

Staves Coconut Brown / Imperial Stout

Tapped July 11, 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 26, 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
ABV
5.3%
Stockists

Staves Brewery

Staves Ardennes Table Beer

Tapped September 1, 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
ABV
4.2%
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