A suburban brewery can be different things to different people. To those who live in the ‘burbs nearby, it’s a welcome oasis that provides lazy drinks on a Friday afternoon and merry times on the weekend. To those who live closer to the city centre, it’s a puzzle to be solved – you want to go there, but it’s not near your usual haunts, and it’s one helluva taxi fare.
When you step into All Inn Brewing, it doesn’t take long to realise the patrons are split about 50/50 between regular locals and visitors from further afield. The Banyo brewery is all about gathering together different kinds of people, and it’s been around long enough – and built a strong enough reputation – to lure punters from all over. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s only a few hundred metres from Nudgee train station. Or that two other breweries have recently moved into the area, also on the train line.
With no investment and a tiny budget, owner Harley Goodacre turned an industrial warehouse into a brewery in 2012 using a bunch of repurposed equipment and bucketloads of elbow grease. But while the corrugated iron shell remains (earning the lovingly bestowed nickname The Shed by loyal regulars), almost everything else about All Inn has been upgraded over the intervening years.
As charming as they were, the wood-clad brewhouse and milk vat fermenters have been replaced with shining stainless steel; Harley has been working in stages to get 30kW of solar panels installed on the roof of The Shed which, once completed in 2020, is more or less enough to cover the brewery’s power usage; and All Inn installed a centrifuge to clarify the bright beers and evenly distribute haze in the hazy beers. It’s an expensive piece of equipment that few small breweries would shell out for, but since Harley’s dedicated to always improving the quality of his beer, he reckons it was worth it. His exact words were: “Worth its weight in gold.”
Harley describes the changes as slow and organic: “Nothing happens fast here. We always take our time.”
But while there’s truth to that statement, it belies the intentional and persistent attention to detail, the drive for growth, and the constantly improving quality of the beer itself. Because although all of the above changes have been critical to the evolution of All Inn, they would be nothing without the beer.
Each beer is depicted by a fantastical playing card character dressed in bright metallic colours. Some characters are medieval, some sci-fi, some steampunk, and some simply absurd, as though Rick and Morty have teamed up with Alice in Wonderland. From a high-flying chimp to a flaming-haired hipster to Bill F. Murray wearing a proton pack, the artwork is as playful and intricate as the beers themselves.
The core range is designed to appeal to everyone, straddling hops (a session ale, an American pale ale, and an American IPA) and malt (a malt liquor, an amber ale, and a robust porter) and including a pale lager for good measure. When it comes to seasonals, the All Inn brewers avoid gimmicks and instead look to a range of more familiar styles made with finesse – the IPAs come in white, black, red, rye, double and New England varieties, and the maltier styles include English pale ale, brown ale, milk stout and strong ale.
In a move uncommon in the Aussie craft beer scene, All Inn also make most of their beers available as fresh wort kits: 15 litres of unfermented beer that you can buy from homebrew shops to finish the brewing process yourself at home. You can follow the recipe exactly to make your favourite All Inn beer, or tinker with it to experiment with flavours.
A suburban brewery can be different things to different people. It can be a place to play pinball and trivia, to listen to live tunes and feast from food trucks, to work your way through sixteen beer taps and a hand pump (though maybe not in a single sitting). It can be the producer of the fresh wort kits you brew in your garage and share with your mates. It can be the source of the odd characters who invaded your home and now live in your fridge.
What’s All Inn to you?