Atomic is a name that will be familiar to many in the local beer world – and with good reason. An American style pale ale bearing that name was debuted by Gage Roads so long ago in craft beer years it predates almost the entire modern day industry in Australia. And, like the Australian beer world that surrounds it, it’s come a long way since.
In fact, it’s fair to say Atomic had already come further than most as its tenth anniversary approached. Sure, there had been a reworking of the recipe as part of a wider evolution of the Gage Roads lineup in late 2014, but it’s the middle of 2019 that will be regarded as ground zero as it evolves from a single beer into a whole new brewing company, Atomic Beer Project.
Starting with the beer – sorry, beers – first. The Pale Ale remains but has been given a bold new look and is now the starting point from which the Atomic team have been given license to take its DNA – hop forward yet balanced – and expand upon it to create an entire range.
The first stablemate to appear as a permanent fixture was an IPA in cans and on tap, picking up an AIBA gold straight off the bat. The launch of the new brand was also celebrated with a limited release IIPA in tallboy tinnies. Looking ahead, expect more beers in which brewers explore the ever-diversifying world of hops, both up and down the alcohol scale and in various styles too.
In essence, by creating Atomic Beer Project as a standalone brand, it frees the team to create beers that wouldn’t sit right within the broad appeal parameters under which Gage Roads operates. That said, just as Gage brands like Single Fin are there to ease drinkers into craftier realms of the beer world, the intention with the offshoot is to demystify hoppier beers for the vast majority of drinkers yet to encounter their first IPA – something that will become a whole lot easier once the most exciting part of the project comes to life.
In arguably the biggest East Coast move yet by the Palmyra-based operation, they’ve taken warehouse space in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Redfern and will be opening a brewery there in the early part of 2020.
Not only will this give Atomic Beer Project a home for people to visit and understand the underlying ethos – as well as tapping into drinkers’ growing love affair with tap rooms – but it will open up the possibilities for greater experimentation. Given the size of Gage Roads’ Palmyra HQ, short run limited releases aren’t feasible; here, a brewpub size system will give the head brewer plenty of room for manoeuvre.
From beer to brand to brewery, it’s been quite the opening decade for Atomic. And it feels like the story is really only just beginning.