“What if we could ‘can’ this feeling?”
That’s where Otherside Brewing Co started out: surrounded by the noise, sunshine, energy and shared experience of the summer festival season, something upon which the brewery’s owners had built a very successful career.
Within two years of being hit with this lightning bolt of inspiration, the brewery had debuted its Festive Ale – geddit? – to thousands of music lovers as well as building a 20 hectolitre brewery in a Myaree light industrial unit not far from its Fremantle birthplace.
Given its origins, there will be little surprise there's an approachable and fun-loving ethos running through everything Otherside does, not least the beers they describe as “Beers that keep the conversation going, not become part of it.” As such, quality and sessionability remain front of mind for head brewer Rhys Lopez, whose industry experience has seen him work at some of the largest and most well-regarded breweries in Western Australia – with a little distilling and hospitality thrown in for good measure.
Rhys’ tight core range of beer is built upon a mainstage lineup of drinkability that runs from a classic Helles lager through to an anthemic IPA, with names that often riff on – pun intended – musical themes. This is ably supported by the Pilot series, designed to explore seasonality and the brewer’s creativity and occasionally delivering beers that become part of the core range.
At the niche end of the spectrum is the Experimental range. These are, as the name suggests, the most playful of the portfolio, and also come in the most limited of volumes. Often these beers start out as exclusive brewery bar-only releases, an incentive for beer lovers to stop by and pull up a pew more regularly.
The brewery bar is as colourful as the people behind the venture: walls are covered in large murals or plastered in posters from the music side of the wider operation; furniture is a mélange that runs from crates and benches to reclaimed metal chairs and trestles; at its centre is a unique circular bar set against the backdrop of the brewery around which are laid bricks bearing the names of "Beer Tycoons" who've invested in the venture.
It's open from Thursday to Sunday and features all the hits on tap, plus an apple cider. The Brewhouse has its very own food truck too, called Nomads, that offers a different menu inspired by a different part of the world every week – check the brewery website or Facebook to see what’s cooking what when – and the kids’ area is sure to keep the smallest Otherside enthusiasts entertained.
Takeaway cans and growlers fills are available, as are memberships to become an Otherside Tycoon so you can garner invites to exclusive beer events, have input into future Pilot or Experimental releases and more.
With a background in the music and film, the team behind the brewery is keen to give back to the arts community. Regular Tapped by Otherside grants have assisted filmmakers produce short films, with local up-and-comer Stella Donnelly sent to the prestigious SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. All of the Pilot series cans feature artwork from local artists too.
An Otherside microbrewery – The Brewshed – will feature within Freo.Social, a live music venue set to open in March 2019 in Freo's historic Artillery Drill Hall, while the main production brewery continues to grow. And, with new tanks arriving to meet demand just two years into the brewery's young life, the future of Otherside looks assured.