The Welder's Dog

Growing up in Armidale, there was much about the rural city and the surrounding New England region for Dan Emery and Tom Croft to love: the area’s natural beauty, the way country and city life came together, and the kinship so frequently attached to communities built on farming.

One thing they didn’t love so much, however, was how hard it was to get their hands on a good beer. Or, for that matter, their jobs, with Tom working as a town planner and Dan running his own bush regeneration business.

Spurred on by the success of Saint John Craft Beer in Launceston, which had been started by some of their uni mates, they decided to build the kind of bar in which they wanted to drink in Armidale. At the end of 2014, The Welder’s Dog opened its doors, bringing with it craft beer and a friendly, pokie-free vibe a far cry from that found in many of the region’s pubs.

But, while bringing better beer to the area was at the forefront of their minds – and locals were quick to embrace their vision – building a brewery hadn’t been a part of that plan. Instead, it was more of a solution to a problem that soon snowballed out of hand.

Though they kept the taps and fridges well stocked, Dan and Tom found there was a ginger beer-shaped hole in their tap list, with locals regularly asking for one but finding the options the owners would source to be too sweet. So, in 2016 they turned to regular patron Phil Stevens for help. He was combining study with working at a local coffee roasters, having previously worked at one in Sydney, and set about applying his practical knowhow to creating a ginger beer with a house culture that would add a little sourness to a dry and punchy drink.

It proved an inspired move, with the Farmhouse Ginger Beer becoming a favourite among other bars and pubs, then landing at 35 in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2018. The beer’s popularity led the Welder's team down the path of canning the ginger beer and investing in a 10 hectolitre brewery and six 2,000 litre fermenters.

And, with that, The Welder’s Dog became a brewery, with Phil as head brewer and with an Australian wheat ale, IPA and purple-pink-hued Pea Blossom Lemonade in the lineup. What's more, the team are on track to open a much anticipated tasting room at the brewery by the end of 2019.

Like the Welder’s bars (a second opened in Tamworth in 2017), the region’s beer drinkers quickly embraced the brewery as their own. Even those who’d been rusted on to the big players could find something to love in the story of local mates bringing brewing to the town.

Working with others has also been a big focus for the brewery ever since Dan, Tom and Phil picked up their first batch of fresh ginger from fifth generation ginger farmers on the Sunshine Coast. Among their collaborators is a grain farmer in Wee Waa (pictured in the slideshow above), with whom they've worked to make different batches of beer featuring slight tweaks to the malt bill to draw attention to the importance and impact of local agriculture on the beers they brew.

And why wouldn’t they want to celebrate the region and its produce? After all, being about to get their hands on good beer in their hometown was what got the ball rolling in the first place.

Name
The Welder's Dog
Address

4/3 Southern Cross Drive
Armidale
NSW 2350

Phone
0432 504 444
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The Welder's Dog Regulars

The Welder's Dog Extra Stout

While some breweries seem happy to offer little but a range of hop forward pale beers these days, presumably with the thinking that this is what the public wants, The Welder's Dog prefer to go for something rather more colourful, with this Extra Stout offering a slab of dense black at the end of their rainbow. That dense liquid comes topped with a brown head – an indicator of the roasted grains within – and delivers lots of rich, dark chocolate in tandem with those heavily roasted cereal characters.… Read more
Style
Extra Stout
ABV
6.1%
Bitterness
30 IBU

The Welder's Dog Australian Wheat

With a popular ginger beer and hard lemonade in their lineup, The Welder's Dog are hardly lacking in refreshing offers. If you prefer said refreshment in more "normal" beer fashion, their Australian Wheat is where you'll likely head. Hazy golden with a fluffy white head, it bursts with sweet citrus aromas – lively young oranges, passionfruit and a touch of lemon – and makes its way lightly across the palate. A sessionable quaffer with just a clip of bitterness.… Read more
Style
Australian Wheat Ale
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
21 IBU

The Welder's Dog IPA

As hop varieties get ever more diverse and punchily aromatic, and as brewers continue to load them into beers in every greater volumes, it's not uncommon to pour a glass and be reminded of aromas more associated with the plant's sibling, cannabis. Yet it's not often I've been hit with a bag-of-hydro aroma quite as intense as this. The Welder's Dog's biggest core beer is a West Coast style IPA brewed with all Aussie hops. As it settles in the glass, more fruity flavours and aromas come to the fore,… Read more
Style
IPA
ABV
6.5%
Bitterness
65 IBU

The Welder's Dog Pink Blossom Lemonade

If the world of Instagram hadn't come along, this beer would almost be demanding someone created it. The Welder's Dog's hard lemonade pours an eye-catching lilac, with the result that when we shared an image on the social platform it attracted one of the biggest reactions of any photo we've posted. The drink itself has been proving popular too, presumably beyond the moment the novelty of having such a beer in your glass wears off, given how well it sells for the Armidale crew. There's a hint of something… Read more
Style
Hard Lemonade
ABV
4.2%
Bitterness
4 IBU

The Welder's Dog Farmhouse Ginger Beer

The reason The Welder's Dog went from being the name of two beer venues to a brewery too is this ginger beer. The owners of the venues couldn't source a ginger beer to keep their punters happy so set about creating their own. It's a much deeper and more herbal affair than most such beers on the market, eschewing the fire and sweetness of many for something broader. Sure, your nose will still tingle and there is sweetness in there, but it's more akin to that of a ginger lolly you'd get in a tin at… Read more
Style
Farmhouse Ginger Beer
ABV
4.1%
Bitterness
4 IBU

The Welder's Dog Specials

The Welder's Dog Napoleon Complex

The Welder's Dog's summer seasonal is their sessionable entry into the hazy IPA world, pale gold in colour and with the fluffiest of white heads that emits punchy tropical fruits aplenty. It's just as potent to taste, akin to tropical fruit juice but with a bitterness that ensures it sits well in session IPA rather than pale territory and lingers after the fruits have taken their leave.… Read more
Style
Hazy Session IPA
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
12 IBU
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