Sanctus Brewing Company

There’s a quote attributed to Ben Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. As it turns out, Ben Franklin never said that; the real quote was sort of about wine, but mostly about rain on vineyards.

However, many of us can agree with the cheeky sentiment behind the misquote. That’s certainly true of the team behind Sanctus Brewing Company - they see beer as a beverage with a transcendent quality, a gift from the gods, a holy drink that stands apart from all other drinks.

They also see the area they’re situated in as having a sense of the divine - hence their slogan, “Crafted in God’s Country” - and it’s hard to argue with that. Sanctus find themselves in the Clarence Valley, halfway between Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour. It’s a gorgeous region that stretches from the coast to the hills, with sprawling fields in between.

People really appreciate the outdoors in this part of the world - and why wouldn’t they? Endless rows of sugarcane shine green or gold in the sunshine, depending on the season; the silvery Clarence invites you to spend the day kayaking or fishing; and there’s always the option of escaping real life for a time and heading out to the deep blue.

The only thing that could make such an area better? Fresh, locally made beer. That’s where Sanctus Brewing comes in.

Owned by a couple who live and breathe the local area, with a brewer who also brings the skills of a winemaker to bear on his product, Sanctus make beers that make sense for the Clarence Valley. A rural area known for humid days and hard work means that a solid lager was always going to be key; the Pacific Coast Lager is described as “the beer you’d introduce to your Uncle Gazza”. In regards to accessibility, the Valley Pale Ale follows close on its tail.

The Big River XPA is packed full of hops that bring all the flavours of orchard fruits grown in the region, while the crowd-pleasing Blueberry Crush actually uses local fruit for a slightly sour and hugely sessionable drop. The biggest surprise is perhaps the imperial stout, a brave choice for a core range beer in a regional brewery. But, with the Big Prawn to the north and the Big Banana to the south, perhaps this big beer is exactly the kind of attraction to draw people from far and wide.

Sanctus didn’t waste any time becoming a sanctuary of hospitality. While the brewery is located in a former industrial bus shelter, it still manages to feel like a rural escape. Between the rustic timber barn doors, the green wall just inside the entrance, and a tree growing in the middle of the space, Sanctus succeeds in bringing the outdoors inside.

It doesn’t take long to see this is a venue that appeals to all kinds of people, too. The taphouse (when open) pulses with regulars who have lived in the area their whole life and travellers who took a short detour from the highway to enjoy the bounty of the region; it’s a place for farmers and tradies, families and foodies. Some look to the woodfired pizza oven, matching their Pacific Coast Lager with the likes of the house smoked brisket and pulled pork pizza, or letting the Big River cut through the mushroom and brie. Others sit outside on a picnic rug, eating locally sourced seafood washed down with Blueberry Crush or their pick of the wine list. And there’s always that one person keen for a more formidable feed - a rack of low and slow pork ribs with a side of imperial stout.

A single visit makes a lasting memory, but one can never be too certain - best to take a four-pack home to be sure. Those who do will get to enjoy the trippy label design of the Holy Grail that’s also a Rubin’s Vase - or in this case, Rubin’s beer goblet - with two faces looking on in reverent awe. And, on the back of the cans, a series of little icons that represent the Clarence Valley: rippling water and majestic mountains, a pair of thongs and a couple of surfboards, a compass and a crayfish, a pelican sitting on the water and a woman diving off a cliff.

Ever keen to bring people into the fold, Sanctus have taken extra measures to help people enjoy their beer, from offering a courtesy bus to bring people to the brewery, to starting their own beer club called Pathfinders, and sending a mobile bar in the form of a caravan around to festivals.

As beautiful as the Clarence Valley is, the good folk at Sanctus know it might not be easy for everyone to make it to this heavenly part of the world. So they’ve taken it upon themselves to bless anyone who drinks their beer - wherever they may be - with a little taste of God’s Country.

Mick Wust

Sanctus Brewing Company

5 Re Road
NSW 2463

(02) 6645 1530
Open Hours

Thurs to Sun: 11am to 9pm

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Sanctus Brewing Company Regulars

Sanctus Brewing Sweet Disposition IPA

Published April 21, 2021
This is a beer that rewards slow, considered drinking. If you’ve ever spent hours staring into the orange flames of a lively brazier and let your thoughts drift away with the sparks, then you know what it's like to stare into the heart of this beer. Once you’re ready to move to the next stage - assuming that time comes - indulge your nose in the sticky gluttony of an iced caramel bun. But here, too, you must persuade yourself to keep moving forward to the main event. Because when this drink finally… Read more

Sanctus Brewing Empty Head Pilsner

Published January 16, 2021
Empty Head sounds like an insult. But what is there to insult? No one’s casting aspersions on a beer this refreshing in the Clarence River region. There are plenty of other beers with New World hops, next to no bitterness, haze, lactose, and fruit additions. But this isn’t one of them. This is a pilsner. Crisp and clean, just like the evening breeze off the Clarence River. Smooth malt sweetness to do battle with the salty sea air after a surf. Sessionable for sinking tinnies while you’re out… Read more

Sanctus Brewing Triple B Stout

Published May 5, 2020
Taste is subjective. I get that. I know my preferences aren’t everyone’s preferences. But I’m gonna go ahead and call it: when Sanctus Brewing described beer as a "gift from the gods" and put a picture of the Holy Grail as their logo, they had this imperial stout in mind. After I took my first sip, I half expected a 900-year-old knight to tell me I had chosen… wisely. Drinking Triple B Stout (big, bold, beautiful!) is an exercise in luxury. The dense head is the colour of milk chocolate,… Read more
Imperial Stout

Sanctus Brewing Pacific Coast Lager

When you open a brewery in a rural area in northern New South Wales, you know your lager is going to get a lot of attention from the locals. So you better make sure it’s a good one. Sanctus’ Pacific Coast Lager is a tidy drop, and the most accessible in their core range; the Sanctus crew describe it as “the beer you’d introduce to your Uncle Gazza”. It pours beautifully bright, capturing the feel of sunshine and clear skies over the coastline. A light fruit aroma and a gentle sweetness… Read more

Sanctus Brewing Valley Pale Ale

Empty roads with fields of sugar cane on both sides fading from green to gold. Long stretches dotted with huge rolls of crispy hay. The setting sun turning the clouds to smouldering embers. The Clarence Valley is full of things made of gold, and the Valley Pale Ale is another to add to the list. What first hits the nose as a fruity fizz - think a roll of Fruit Tingles and you’ve got the right idea - becomes more of a dry pine and slightly bready experience in the mouth, with just a touch of citrus… Read more
Pale Ale

Sanctus Brewing Big River XPA

The Clarence River is the life flowing through the Clarence Valley region, and the centre of a whole lot of agriculture. Since the hops in Big River XPA exude the fruity character of the orchards lining the Clarence, the name seems to be a fitting homage to the river. The XPA sits in the glass as a deep, foggy gold, like sunrise mist over the water. Notes of mandarin, apricot and tropical fruit flow freely, with the hoppy fullness being joined by rich biscuity sweetness. This all dances on the tongue… Read more

Sanctus Brewing Blueberry Crush

Not many breweries lock in a berry sour as a core range beer. The team at Sanctus Brewing didn’t just commit to Blueberry Crush, but they did so from the day they opened. Since from the beginning they wanted to brew beers specific to their location in the Northern Rivers, it was a no-brainer to make the most of their excellent local suppliers. While this beer is named for one berry, you’re actually getting three - local blueberries, raspberries and blackberries all contribute to the vibrant colours… Read more
Berry Sour

Sanctus Brewing Company Specials

Sanctus Brewing Happy Wife & North Coast Lazy & Hello Hazy & Californication

Published March 30, 2022
I think we’d all agree that 2020 and 2021 were difficult years, and honestly it doesn’t look like 2022 is going to be much easier. But Sanctus Brewing are hitting 2022 head on with the tenacity of John Rambo - they've had enough of tough times and have come out guns blazing, spraying beer like Rambo sprays bullets.† Happy Wife Session Ale is something of a love letter from Sanctus founder Trent to his wife and fellow founder, Nicole. It’s designed to split the difference between the brewery’s… Read more
3.5% & 4.0% & 6.2% & 6.7%

Sanctus Brewing Let There Be Bock

Published April 21, 2021
A dark lager with a nod to its origins - Sanctus have not only made a traditional bock, but in the proud tradition of bock brewers around the world, they’ve put a billy goat on the label as a visual pun. This style of lager was first brewed in the town of Einbeck, but later when people from Munich got on board with the style, their thick Bavarian accents had them pronouncing ‘Einbeck’ as ‘ein bock’, which means ‘a billy goat’. Chuckle, chortle, different people talk differently. There’s… Read more

Sanctus Brewing Spooks Ember Ale

Published October 7, 2020
Just south of the Clarence River, off the southern point of Spooky Beach, there’s a dangerous little reef break known as Spooks. It's the kind of spot a young grom could get into trouble, but the local surfers all know how to navigate Spooks so they don’t get ripped to shreds. And this same kind of knowledge is necessary for Spooks Ember Ale. It seems safe enough – an Irish red ale presenting sweet toffee and biscuit on the nose, along with a waft of stone fruit hoppiness. A soft, silky body… Read more
Irish Red Ale

Sanctus Brewing Piña Colada Smash

Published September 28, 2020
With so many beers around nowadays containing idiosyncratic new hop variety Sabro, coconut has become a very familiar flavour in beer. But when you get hit with a waft of real coconut, it’s a whole other thing. Piña Colada Smash brings waves of aroma of sweet, almost vanilla-y coconut - “hand roasted coconut”, which makes me wonder how many people burned their hands in the making of this beer. But, in the mouth, a tang of semi-sour acidic pineapple cuts through those waves like the fin of… Read more
Piña Colada Sour

Sanctus have launched their Pathfinder memberships – see here