The heritage-listed timber building that Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co call home is more than 90 years old, and the front wall still bears the sign of its original occupant: ALFREDSONS JOINERY. It’s almost as if setting up in a joinery has cast some kind of magic on the brewpub – magic that joins things, and people, together.
John and Cara Tynan opened Noosa Hinterland Brewing in early 2021 in the old timber town of Cooran, with the goal of creating a place where community would thrive. Rather than opening just another beer-guzzling country pub (Australia has no shortage of those), they designed NHBCo to capture the social aspect of pubs in the UK.
“We don’t really have any ‘stand up, get smashed’ areas,” John says. “It’s all sit down, community, spend a bit of time, take a load off, and interact with people. There’s a couple of big tables; when it’s a little bit busy, you’ll see groups sharing each end of it. Then you’ll see them start talking to each other.”
In fact, the connections that take place between strangers at the brewery are a source of pride for John and Cara.
“There’s a bit of a locals table that come in later in the day, and if they see someone sitting on their own, they’ll go, ‘Hey mate, come over here – sit down with us, have a chat.’”
The Tynans have set this culture themselves, greeting their regulars by name and welcoming newcomers with genuine smiles and warm hospitality. They love to run events – think paint & sip nights, book club, BYO vinyl sessions on Sundays arvos, and monthly trivia – to keep their community involved not just with the brewery, but with each other.
Of course, when you run a brewpub, food and drink are central to your hospitality.
The kitchen has a tidy menu of share plates (cheese platter or charcuterie) and nibbles (arancini balls, chips or wedges, Buffalo wings, ploughman’s plate), complemented by a specials board usually boasting something more substantial. Wherever they can, the team likes to share the love by using produce from the region: cheese from Woombye cheese, produce from Kenilworth farmers, meat from local butchers and produce from growers in the area.
When it comes to the beers, there’s a focus on approachability and sessionability. This is partly to hit the locals’ preference, and partly to suit the visitors who come from further afield.
“For the people who do travel, we’re a bit of a destination place. We can’t have a heap of massive alcohol beers!”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t variety, though. At any given time, Noosa Hinterland have nine of their beers pouring a variety of styles: far more options than the timber workers of yore ever had.
You’ll always find the Cooran Crusher on tap – it’s the easy-drinkin’, easy-sinkin’ beer that serves as the knock-off beer for many of their customers – as well as Pre-Cut Pale Ale, the assertive American pale that sells more than any of their other beers. The other taps are all constantly rotating: there’s a sesh tap, a lager tap, a mid tap, a hoppy tap, a dark tap, and a limited tap, and they all change what styles are pouring so there are new flavours to explore each time you come in. The locals are getting into the odd hazy, sour and saison, and there’s even a little whisky barrel that the team uses to age beers on occasion.
And as Cara says: “We don’t hold it against the people who don’t like beer!”
They source other drinks from the local vineyard (Dingo Creek Wine), local meadery (Amrita Park Meadery), local distillery (Pomona Distilling Co) and have cider on tap from Sunshine Cider.
The joinery building itself is a huge drawcard, and the perfect environment for helping people feel comfortable: the rustic timber, corrugated iron roof and covered verandah running the length of the building all scream “old world Australia”. (On a side note: Al, who owns the building, still has a joinery workshop underneath the brewery, and has robust old gear that he uses to handcraft all kinds of beautiful doors and windows.)
The Australiana and timber industry memorabilia scattered around the place do the same. Beaten wooden tables and a few fabric lounge chairs add to the feeling of home; NHBCo feels more like your favourite grandma’s house than a commercial brewery.
Cooran isn’t quite as “small town” as many other small towns; it has a diverse population that goes well beyond those who have lived in the area for decades, and attracts all kinds of visitors who recognise the beauty of the hinterland area. No matter who you are, it’s easy to feel a sense of belonging at Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co.
“Everyone’s a local when they come into our place.”