Slow Lane Brewing

Sydney is a city that’s always in a rush. Pedestrians charge down the footpath like they’re late for an urgent meeting. Cyclists cut and weave through traffic like their lives depend on it. Cars rev their engines and honk their horns and show their impatience with every erratic lane change. Everything is high speed, high pressure, high stress.

Standing defiantly amid all of this is Slow Lane Brewing.

Like a rock holding its ground in the middle of a flowing stream, Slow Lane will not be budged by the world rushing around it. Owners Alex and Yvonne Jarman started the brewery to focus on European beer styles that benefit from Old World methods. They’re not averse to using modern techniques, or experimenting with different yeasts. But where traditional methods produce better flavours or a unique effect, they’ll stand firm. Even if they’re more labour intensive. Even if they take longer.

“We’re happy to be inefficient if it gives better flavour,” Alex says.

This might sound like a strange business decision (especially for two people from the world of finance). But when a brewery launches with a blonde ale styled on a Belgian single (an easy-drinking style rarely seen outside the walls of a Trappist monastery) and a saison that spent three months in a wine barrel with Brettanomyces for added complexity, you know they’re not interested in playing by the same rules as everyone else.

And the results speak for themselves - Slow Lane’s beers are popular with thirsty locals and farmhouse ale connoisseurs alike.

Inspired by Belgian brewing traditions, Alex lets his 1200 litre batches ferment for at least a month. And even when he’s brewing a clean beer with a simple flavour profile, he’ll generally leave the tops of the fermenting tanks open.

"We can’t prove it, but we think it gives better flavour in the beer. The yeast is happier.”

Even then the beers aren’t quite finished. From there, some will go into oak barrels and spend time developing more flavour complexity, and all beers finish with two weeks of can or keg conditioning for high carbonation and a longer shelf life.

“We’re trying to do things big breweries can’t do,” Alex explains.

It’s worth noting there’s nothing boring about being “slow” and “traditional”. While each beer takes a long time to turn around, Alex’s approach is all about exploring different styles, forgoing a core range in favour of trying new recipes and tweaking old favourites. At Slow Lane, the Old World is constantly getting a contemporary facelift.

Part of this is the modern approach to packaging. It’s not often you see a complex, barrel-aged saison in a can with a minimalist design on the label. Some people who wouldn’t dream of buying beer in a 750ml bottle with a cork will happily buy a four-pack of pastel tinnies from their local brewery, and discover a new (old) style in the process.

The brewery itself is a similar mixture of traditional and contemporary. Like many of its fellow breweries, Slow Lane is in an industrial warehouse space, albeit a relatively small one, with a tasting room due to open to the public in September / October 2020. But the stark white walls and oak barrels stacked to the ceiling hint at a beer cellar in Belgium. Alex and Yvonne have given the whole place a feeling of serenity and simplicity; they make the small space work.

This simplicity is also seen in the brewery’s branding: modernist, minimalist, geometric. It plays off aerial photography of the local area, which shows the circular tanks at Port Botany, the rectangles of the container depot, and the criss-cross of runways at Sydney Airport. The clean lines of the shapes in the logo carry an aesthetic simplicity, which points back to Slow Lane’s philosophy of brewing - getting back to basics.

Because at the end of the day, the months of fermentation and barrel-ageing and can conditioning are all done to produce something very simple: a beer to drink and enjoy.

It just takes a while, that’s all.

Mick Wust

Name
Slow Lane Brewing
Address

30 Byrnes Street
Botany
NSW 2019

Phone
(02) 9121 6279
Open Hours

Fri & Sat: midday to 6pm
Takeaway sales only while tasting room is being fitted out

This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Slow Lane Brewing Regulars

Slow Lane Brewing Quake Pale Ale

Tapped October 19, 2020
Returning to Slow Lane’s unorthodox beer lineup is Quake, a pale ale brewed with a strain of Norwegian kveik yeast and Kiwi Nelson Sauvin hops. One of the most prized properties of kveik is the ability to fully ferment a beer in as little as one or two days at temperatures that would usually result in some pretty unpleasant off flavours in most other beer yeasts. So, of course, Slow Lane made sure to keep Quake in tank for a month because why do anything quickly when you can take your time? One… Read more
Style
Kveik Pale
ABV
5.4%

Slow Lane Brewing Foundation

If you're going to name one of your launch beers Foundation, it means a couple of things. You're making a statement that this represents you and your ethos. And, as such, it needs to be bloody good. First things first: it certainly spells out just what Slow Lane are about: an open-fermented, red wine barrel-aged farmhouse ale featuring flaked wheat and oats, spicy European hops and a Belgian saison yeast alongside Brettanomyces. And if it's a sign of what's to come, well, two tickets please! Pale… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Ale
ABV
5.0%

Slow Lane Brewing Botany Weisse

The rise of sour beers in their very many forms was one of the standout features of the second half of the 2010s. Just as they come in many forms, they're made via many methods and thanks to advances in yeast development and supply there are many beers on the market inspired by German Berliner Weisse that are produced in pretty much the same manner as your common or garden pale ale. But Slow Lane is the name of this brewery for a reason: they want to do things slowly and, some would argue, properly. Their… Read more
Style
Berliner Weisse
ABV
3.2%

Slow Lane Brewing Thirsty Miner

The grisette style could be described, in simple terms, a lower ABV saison or a session farmhouse ale. There have been a few released in Australia over the years – plus an "imperial" one from Shenanigans that remains one of the best I've had the pleasure of enjoying in more than ten years of exploring Aussie beer culture – and often they come across that way: a less impactful version of a pale farmhouse ale. Slow Lane's is named in honour of the beers from Belgium's southern Hainaut… Read more
Style
Grisette
ABV
3.8%

Slow Lane Brewing Refectory

If there was a common thread running through the earliest releases from Slow Lane, it was that they were typically dry as anything. OK, they were all also inspired by old European traditions, well structured and full of promise. Refectory, in a way, was an exception. Sure, the beer is still well made and comes from a place far removed from hazy IPAs and pastry stouts, but this Belgian blonde ale allows a little sweetness to seep in too. That said, all things are relative... The Belgian yeast is allowed… Read more
Style
Belgian Blonde Ale
ABV
4.8%

Slow Lane Brewing Specials

Slow Lane Brewing Mango & Passionfruit / Apricot Botany Weisse

Tapped September 24, 2020
For a brewery named Slow Lane, there’s been no meandering when it’s come to new beer releases. Since opening earlier in 2020, Alex and Yvonne Jarman have been steadily putting out more of the all too rare yeast-driven European styles that have already won them plenty of fans in Sydney and beyond. While locals wait for the much anticipated tasting room, Slow Lane have released four new beers many months in the making: two fruited versions of the Botany Weisse, plus a barrel-aged Belgian sour brown… Read more
Style
Fruited Berliner Weisse
ABV
3.4% & 4.2%

Slow Lane Brewing Old Russet & Cellar Worthy

Tapped September 24, 2020
In the weeks leading up to the opening of their tasting room, Slow Lane released a quartet of specialties. You can read about the fruited spins on their Botany Weisse here and tuck into a pair of rather heftier beasts here. Old Russet started life as a Belgian Dubbel which, honestly, would have been a joy in and of itself. But a straight up Dubbel could have been ready for release in like a month and that is simply not Slow Lane’s jam. So instead they whacked it into a barrel for six months with… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Belgian Dubbel & English Barleywine
ABV
8.4% & 14.0%
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