The owners of craft breweries often love to highlight their credentials as local operators and things don’t get much more local than Thirty Eight O Six Brewing. Even the brewery’s name is a homage to its home: 3806 is the postcode of outer Melbourne suburb Berwick.
When it opened late in 2022, it became the first new brewery in the ‘burb, a turn of events that can be credited to Lachie Fyfe and Zac Pattison. Well before they were brewery owners, they were mates who first met before they even started school. And although they were as inseparable then as they are running a brewery together today, they followed different career paths in between times – career paths that left them well-placed to create Thirty Eight O Six.
Zac trained as a chef and worked in fine dining, including stints at Taxi Kitchen in Melbourne’s CBD and the acclaimed O.MY in nearby Beaconsfield. Lachie became an electrician and, while his time as a water-skiing stunt performer at Universal Studio might seem an unusual side hustle for brewer and sparky alike, it certainly helps explain his willingness to dive headfirst into a new adventure.
It was Lachie who convinced his childhood friend to join him on this adventure; the decision to open a brewery following years of homebrewing and late nights when their mates were treated to his beers paired with menu items designed by Zac.
The brewery’s entire fit-out is the work of the pair who poured heart, soul, sweat and even a finger* into transforming an empty shell of a warehouse into a welcoming community hub a short stroll from Berwick train station. A bright and bold mural greets you as soon as you walk through the door and, in combination with the wood paneling and lighting, help make the long warehouse feel like an inviting local boozer.
Beyond that is where Thirty Eight O Six beers are brewed using a 500-litre Braumeister and 1,500-litre fermentation tanks. They fill most of the ten taps a few metres away, with Lachie’s creations sharing space with a few guest taps complemented by a high-end wine list and cocktails, and the initial setup leaving plenty of room to grow into.
When it comes to Zac’s side of the business, the centrepiece is a wood-fired pizza oven built by one of his cheffing mates who has designed kitchens for the likes of Firedoor in Sydney and Embla in Melbourne; in other words, he’s the guy you call if you want to cook with wood.
The menu features an array of pizzas that take shape rapidly under intense heat but it’s the substantial tapas offering that helps their brewpub stand apart from most of their peers. Zac’s background in fine dining shines through small plates that include wood-fired lamb ribs, cauliflower, and oysters presented in a manner more akin to an inner-city wine bar than an outer-suburban brewery.
Aside from dishes that quickly became cult favourites, many of these small plates change weekly to make the most of seasonal produce; much like the beers and the space in which they’re served, everything is created from scratch, whether that’s IPA batter for the prawns or the hot sauce.
Little wonder locals quickly embraced Berwick’s first brewery, with Thirty Eighty O Six’s charm aided in no small part by Zac and Lachie’s warm personalities, which have clearly rubbed off on their staff too.
Although the founders joke that they built Thirty Eight O Six for themselves, their families and their mates, their ability to seamlessly bring together craft beer, excellent food and sunny hospitality suggest it’s set to be enjoyed rather more widely.
* Maybe ask Lachie or Zac to explain this in person…