Matt Moore and wife Gemma Sampson had long thought about opening a brewery – four years to be exact. And, while pondering the possibilities surrounding their urban brewery’s location, serenity struck.
What had been an area for blue collar workers and migrant living had flourished into an orderly extension of the Perth CBD, where refurbished warehouses – some well over a hundred years old – now rubbed shoulders with modern apartment living and office spaces filled with consultancies and design agencies.
Prior to gentrification, those warehouses had been home to parties at which electronic music, hip hop and graffiti took centre stage. Although long gone, memories of youthful bacchanalia lived on in Matt's mind as he set about changing direction himself, with the appeal of a day job running a construction materials laboratory and later as a civil construction quality assessor beginning to wear thin as the brewing dream blossomed.
Thus, he completed a bridging chemical course at the University of Sydney before embarking on a postgraduate brewing qualification at the University of Ballarat, which bolstered years of homebrewing experience. Just to be sure, a Cicerone qualification was added to round out his formal learning and confirm that here was a curious mind fond of both art and science.
With those pieces in place, it was time to open Bright Tank Brewing Co, which saw a former fashion warehouse reincarnated as a 130-person venue featuring a level of design beyond that found in most breweries; hang a curtain across the brewing tanks and you’d think that you were in a cool restaurant.
While retaining the urban aesthetic of its surrounds, the use of aquamarine blue and vibrant yellow highlights throughout provides modernity and subtle cohesion, offset by the use of reclaimed bricks and new tiling. Referencing Matt’s love of graffiti – and the parties of the past – a large-scale stylised portrait of the father of fermentation, Louis Pasteur, oversees proceedings at the long, shared tables that sit alongside a three-vessel, 10 hectolitre Spark brewing system.
The bar area’s ten-tap tiled wall pours what Matt describes as a "flexible" amount of his core range of six beers. Depending what collaborations are current, punters may be faced with six collabs and two core range beers and, in a similar vein, fellow WA brewers Artisan and Rocky Ridge share a tap.
Showing a high level of care and respect for beer, filtered water is used to clean glassware prior to pouring, while glassware itself comes in a variety of sizes and styles to suit the beers (and are available to take home along with growlers and squealers). Also available for takeaway are four-packs and cubes of the latest offerings.
Matt and Gemma are keen foodies too – their honeymoon was essentially a tour of as many three Michelin star restaurants in France as one can possibly squeeze into a single trip – and the menu sits beyond a brewpub's typical burger and pizza offerings. It's designed to celebrate the Bright Tank beers in the same way many European cultures put beer on the dining table rather than treat the two sides of the business separately.
Indeed, such was their eagerness to create a holistic experience that their head chef's interview involved being presented with a clutch of beers that represented future Bright Tank offerings and being told the owners would be round to his for dinner the following Friday night.
Obviously, the "interview" went well as the food offering is rooted in beer pairings and modern, shared serves; an evolving menu might include native ingredients, house cured meats, desert lime chicken, barramundi wings and many more drool-worthy options, which come with beer pairing recommendations. Regular beergustation events, including vegetarian affairs, are designed to further showcase the kitchen’s flair.
However, despite all of the clever design, sharp modern food and respect for the urban environment, Matt is keen to remind punters that Bright Tank is first and foremost a brewery: a little pocket of urban Perth that welcomes everyone from hardened beer nerds to foodies to those wanting a few beers before the game at nearby Optus Stadium.