Sometimes you stumble across a well kept secret and have to grapple with whether you want to showcase it to the world or keep it to yourself.
That's been the case with many businesses tucked away between Melbourne's bustling inner suburbs and the ever-popular tourist spot that is the Mornington Peninsula. And it's no exception for Braeside Brewing in Mordialloc, which has been steadily building a loyal customer base since opening in 2019.
The brewpub in the heart of the beachside suburb's industrial area from which it takes its name has been enjoying positive feedback from locals and visitors, one that's run by a family with roots in the local community.
The converted industrial space might be all about clean, contemporary stylings – within its tall ceiling and concrete and timber walls you'll find tiles lining the backbar, and a sleek, 12-tap font sitting atop a concrete bar they designed themselves – yet the atmosphere is inviting, a legacy of the team's decades of experience in the food and drinks industry. The presence of an eye-catching pizza oven certainly helps on that front too.
Creating a space where guests would immediately feel welcome was a major goal of owner Rame Abdallah. Of course, as a brewpub, it was just as important for the beers to entice people through the doors too.
Rame brought in ex-3 Ravens assistant brewer Charlie Tompson as head brewer and creative director, who set about creating a predominantly, although far from exclusively, malt driven range. At time of writing, Braeside’s most popular offerings were their Lead Head Lager, Bayside IPA, XPA 43 and Governor Pale Ale.
To complement those best-sellers, the team ensures there are constant changes at the bar; there's a dedicated sour tap and chances are fans of dark beer will find a selection from which to pick. Having spent his career prior to opening Braeside in the liquor industry – in pubs, bottleshops and other roles – variety is prioritised by Rame, and they're happy to take on board requests for future releases from locals and visitors alike.
Having opened their doors just a few months before COVID-19 shut down all venues across Australia – before enduring Melbourne's second lockdown too – they started putting more beer into cans, including more than a dozen limited releases at time of writing. This means there's generally a wide range to take home, as well as a decent chance you'll find Braeside beers in indie bottleshops. Completing the picture on the booze front, all wines and spirits they stock are locally-sourced too.
If you're after a little more than just beer, stone-fired pizza, and a welcoming atmosphere, they host live music on Friday nights and have thrown parties outside the venue too, such as their Picnic In The Park events that bring together local brewers with other food and drinks producers.
Taken together, it's the modern craft beer story writ large (OK, not that large, but you get what we're saying): family-owned, locally-brewed beer, community-minded vibe. Cheers to that.
Photos by @nickdafonseca