Capital Brewing Co

As the home of politicians and public servants, Canberra has often suffered from something of an image problem. Yet, despite many Australians’ distaste for the political class (not to mention the city’s many roundabouts), more recently a new image of the nation’s capital has begun to take shape.

It is one of a young population living in a region surrounded by wildlife and bushlands and with a relative proximity to the coast. That it also has a number of breweries, and a growing number of good bars, doesn’t hurt – and shows it’s also a city with a thirst for local beer.

Among those sating that thirst are the people at Capital Brewing Co, an operation that grew out of long bar side chats between Tom Hertel and Laurence Kain, who ran the bar Hippo Co, and the brothers behind Batlow Cider Co, Richard and Sam Coombes. Conversations often revolved around putting the city and its surrounds front and centre and, when it came to beer, a shared affinity for the kind of bold, hop forward styles of America’s West Coast.

Ultimately, this led them to form Capital Brewing Co – and to San Diego, where they found their head brewer, Wade Hurley, who at the time was busy brewing at Coronado Brewing, having learnt the trade at Green Flash. Since signing on, Wade has been given free range over the beers and, though he also has a love of hops, it doesn’t mean his lineup is solely the domain of big, bold and bitter, with Coast Ale, a Californian Common, and the brewery’s seasonal coffee stout indicative of a broader range.

From Coast Ale to Evil Eye Red IPA (named after an old tree stump the Coombes’ family car often passed on weekends away), the beers tell the story of Canberra and its surrounds on their labels. These days, they’re brewed in Canberra too. Initially in 2016, Capital was launched with beers gypsy brewed in Sydney before they moved into their own brewery in Fyshwick late in 2017.

Located on Canberra’s outskirts, Fyshwick has historically been an industrial area, but in recent years there’s been a concerted effort to regenerate the area into a retail and hospitality centre. Within this space, you’ll find the likes of local coffee roasting legends Barrio and a rock climbing gym.

A 25 hectolitre brewhouse sits towards the back of their expansive warehouse, with an open space for dining in front. It’s the kind of setup that’s equal parts production and hospitality, where the steady stream of beers brewed for the wider Canberra population and drinkers further afield doesn’t make the Fyshwick venue any less of an enjoyable place to settle in for a bevvy or two.

A long timber bar encases the brewery’s 12 taps, which feature a rotating lineup of Capital beers alongside one dedicated to Batlow’s cider. Large shared tables turn the production hub into a social one, meaning once you’re through the front doors, it’s easy to forget you’re in an industrial lot.

Food is the domain of Canberran phenomenon Brodburger, the city’s cult food truck, which started out slinging burgers in local parks before finding a few permanent homes across town. Maybe the burgers help, or maybe it’s the promise of a few beers to accompany them, but the brewery is particularly effective at bringing in a large lunchtime crowd. Yet it’s in the post work hours and on weekends where Capital truly shines as students, families and cyclists and taxi loads file into a brewery with the capacity to fit upwards of 500 people.

The main beer garden out the front is a sprawling space that fills quickly each afternoon, suggesting any government ministers looking for ways to reinvigorate industrial areas should make sure they stop in for a beer.

As both locals and visitors head to Capital for long afternoons in the sun, and local bars fill their fridges with cans brewed by the capital’s growing band of brewers, Canberra’s long derided reputation is disappearing. Capital’s tagline is one of Good Natured Brews and, sure enough, that good nature can be found across the rest of the city too.

Will Ziebell

Name
Capital Brewing Co
Address

Building 3/1 Dairy Rd
Fyshwick
ACT 2609

Phone
(02) 5104 0915
Website
Hours

Wed to Sun: 11.30am to midnight

Tours

Sat & Sun: 2pm & 4pm

Current Crafty Cabal offers

The Warmest of Welcomes at Capital Brewing

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Capital Brewing Co Regulars

Capital Brewing Summit Session XPA

Tapped October 9th, 2018
The Summit XPA from Capital Brewing has been around a fair while, at least relative to the brewery's still short existence. Initially a draught only pour, a short run was canned last summer exclusively for the Secret Garden Festival. Its popularity means it's now graduated to the brewery's core offering in time for summer 2018/19. While it may bear the name XPA, which as a category locally seems to be gravitating towards pale, light-bodied, hop forward pale ales around the 4.5 percent ABV mark, this… Read more
Style
Mid-Strength XPA
ABV
3.5%

Capital Brewing Co Coast Ale

The brewery’s flagship beer, Capital’s Coast Ale is designed with the beach, or perhaps drives towards it, in mind. Taking inspiration from the California Common style that originated in head brewer Wade Hurley’s homeland, Coast Ale is a sessionable and clean beer. Brewed with European noble hop varieties Saaz and Hallertau, as well as New Zealand’s Dr Rudi, the beer blends an underlying spiciness with light pine with some floral notes. There’s a hint of rich sweetness from the malt body… Read more
Style
California Common
ABV
4.3%

Capital Brewing Co Evil Eye Red IPA

Evil Eye is a red IPA which takes its named from an old tattooed tree stump just outside Canberra, which the Coombes brothers used to pass as children on their way to family outings. The beer also started out as Capital Brewing’s first seasonal but soon became a mainstay available throughout the year. Initially, designed with autumn in mind, this murky, rusty amber beer is loaded with a mixture of American and New Zealand hops, and pushes out fruity aromas of lychee, citrus, some spice and pine… Read more
Style
Red IPA
ABV
5.8%

Capital Brewing Co Trail Pale

Perhaps more than any other Capital beer, Trail Pale encompasses the brewery’s story to a T. The Capital founders, who all hail from Canberra, found head brewer Wade Hurley in San Diego and this beer is something of an America meets Australia pale ale. With Australia’s Ella and Galaxy hops matched with Simcoe and Cascade, it blends classic American hop aromas with those Australia is fast becoming known for. In both aroma and flavour, there’s clear tropical Aussie hop characteristics of citrus… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
4.7%

Capital Brewing Co Springboard Summer Ale

Tapped December 1st, 2017
For inspiration for Capital’s Springboard Summer Ale, head brewer Wade Hurley looked towards the American wheat ales of his homeland. Not to be confused with those of Europe, American wheat ales use a cleaner yeast – no clove and banana here, although he did add coriander seed to this one – and tend to be more hop forward, while retaining a lean body. Springboard pours a light golden with a substantial haze, with orange aromas first to leap from the beer, in part thanks to the orange peel in… Read more
Style
American Wheat
ABV
4.5%

Capital Brewing Co Specials

Capital Brewing Co Rock Hopper IPA

Tapped March 29th, 2018
If your head brewer is from San Diego, it’s surely only a matter of time before you brew a West Coast IPA. And so, while Capital Brewing didn’t launch with one in its range, it had always been the plan for head brewer Wade Hurley, who must have brewed such beers hundreds of times while at Green Flash and Coronado Brewing, to do just that. Thus Rock Hopper became one of the first beers brewed at Capital’s brewery in Fyshwick once they got it up and running – and its popularity at the taproom… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
ABV
6.1%
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