Welcome to Gippsland’s Good Land Brewing, the place where good beer comes from.
It’s a simple tagline and, while building a brewery in your hometown might seem like a worthy enough dream, the journey to get Good Land open was far from simple or straightforward. Instead, when Good Land finally opened their doors in Traralgon in 2021, it was the realisation of a decade-long journey for Jimmy Krekelberg and his family.
Go back to 2010 and you’ll find Jimmy working as a mechanical engineer with a love for brewing beer who, as that decade began, had started looking seriously into how he could switch careers and launch a brewery in his backyard. Rather than jumping straight into buying tanks and chasing his dream without any experience, he instead decided to build his knowledge and skills first, and did so by looking overseas.
In 2012, he left Australia for the UK and soon found work at Edinburgh’s Stewart Brewing. A few years later, Jimmy landed a job with the much-loved De Molen Brouwerij in the Netherlands.
Although the Netherlands is one heck of a trek from the Latrobe Valley, his eyes were always set on bringing it all back home so, in 2017, he and partner Layla Brock returned to Australia to make their brewery a reality.
As you might imagine when stainless, local councils and a global pandemic are all at play, that dream took a little longer to realise; Jimmy only started brewing the first Good Land beers at the midway point of 2021 (just as his home state was about to bounce in and out of more COVID lockdowns).
Located in an industrial pocket on the eastern end of Traralgon, the venue melds country hospitality with production capacity to create a local beer experience that’s akin to visiting a winery cellar door. In total there are ten taps dedicated to Good Land beers – plus the occasional guest spot for Gippsland’s other breweries and booze makers – while the taproom’s food offering is supplied by other local businesses who set up camp in the driveway.
Central to it all, of course, are the beers, with the core range made up of the all Aussie-hopped Golden Beach Pale Ale (named after a stunning section of Gippsland’s Ninety Mile Beach), the also Aussie-hopped Little Mate session XPA, and a German pilsner that bears the simple and appropriate name Good Lager. The 20-hectolitre brewhouse isn’t just devoted to that core lineup, however, with regular limited releases in cans and kegs also key to the Good Land offering.
It seems Jimmy’s long journey to open his own brewery taught him a fair bit too: also appearing amid the opening lineup was a DDH saison, a raspberry dessert ale and a 2.8 percent ABV “table bier”, showcasing a seamless blend between European inspiration and modern craft brewing. Or, to quote Jimmy at the time, he had a “recipe list about as long as ten arms.”
The Good Land journey might warrant the “long and winding road” trope more than most, yet when your beer travels take you to the Traralgon taproom, or sees Jimmy’s cans land in your fridge, it’s one that means there’s every likelihood you’ll find a beer just right for you. After all, you’re in a Good place.
All photos are by Nicky Cawood.