Beer and pizza. It may be one of the greatest pairings of all time. Even if the pizza was average and the beer was mediocre, most of us would still find a way to enjoy it.
So what about when the pizza is a 72 hour ferment traditional Italian style like Nonno used to make, and the the delicious beer range is brewed just metres from where you’re sitting? It means you’re at Glass House Brewery smack bang in the middle of the Sunshine Coast, and you’re in for a treat.
Nestled within a precinct of businesses valuing holistic health and organic produce, Glass House is a brewpub with a classy feel, yet no hint of pretension. While we’ve all come to love our industrial warehouse breweries, there’s a delight in the distinction of this place: a touch of the rustic from the timber pallet-clad walls and the gabled ceiling frame; a hint of sophistication in the black pine bar front and the matte plates laid out neatly on the tables. Everything radiates with warmth, and it’s readily apparent this is far from a beer venue that sees food and genuine hospitality as an afterthought.
To the founders, food is a way of life: brewer Paul Sanders, whose family hails from southern Italy, grew up with his family running Italian restaurants; Simon Michelangeli, whose family is from Tuscany further north, has run food businesses in Melbourne and wanted to see top quality, affordable Italian food available on the Sunshine Coast. And that’s exactly what Glass House offers.
There aren’t many places you could get a sizeable La Porcona pizza with fior di latte, pancetta, red onion and chilli alongside a pizza smothered with roast zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and parsley, and walk away with change from $40. As well as the pizzas, the menu has a variety of appetisers from pizza fritta (strips of puffy fried pizza dough that will blow your mind) through to arancini balls, bruschetta, and antipasto platters; a few traditional salads and pasta dishes; and a fish-of-the-day, a char-grilled chicken, and a scotch fillet steak option for those who are saving their carbs for the beer.
This emphasis on good food in no way detracts from the brewing side of things. Paul is a qualified brewer and beer judge, so Glass House was never going to settle for second-rate beer. Then there's ex-Brisbane Brewing Co brewer Brendan Chan, who brings his own high standards and a wealth of experience in running the brewery on a day-to-day basis. (Try talking to him about the beer – while you’re enjoying the flavours you’re tasting, he’ll be musing on the ways he could improve it for next time.)
Unlike in many brewpubs, the brewhouse isn’t visible from the main dining area; a couple of fermenters bubbling silently in the corner remind you how close the beer is made, though. But, if you’re interested in seeing the 15hL Spark system, just head out into the beer garden, where you can look through the glass-walled shed at the glorious stainless steel brewing tanks.
While some local drinkers have dived headfirst into the Sunshine Coast’s flourishing craft beer scene, many others are simply after approachable, refreshing beers made for the climate. Glass House’s core range is designed to satisfy both: a mid-strength session ale with English bitter at its core; a hoppy Australian pale ale; an organic saison that’s as quaffable as saisons were always intended to be; and a smooth and flavourful black lager for all seasons.
Add to these a list of rotating special releases including IPAs and sours and you’ve got a lineup that’s equally ready for a sunny afternoon in the beer garden as it is for a slow evening with family and feasting. (There are also growler fills and takeaways available, as well as takeaway pizza, if it’s a Netflix kind of night.)
Anyone who’s driven north from Brisbane knows that the sight of the Glass House Mountains is as good as a signpost that says, “Welcome to the Sunshine Coast. You’ve arrived.”
When you step into this brewery restaurant, you’re greeted with the garden-fresh vibe of a glasshouse, and the knowledge that majestic nature of the Glass House Mountains are on your doorstep. There’s a cold beer in every hand, the savoury aroma of cooking pizza filling your nostrils, and the atmosphere of home.
Honest food, fresh beer, warm surroundings.
Welcome to Glass House Brewery. You’ve arrived.