When your name suggests an intention to go big – and in a hurry – you can't really hang about. So it must have been frustrating for the team behind Ballistic Beer Co to find the process of getting their brewery in Brisbane's south up and running so long and arduous.
After knocking out trial batches on a 200 litre pilot batch, they opened their doors in January, having spent Christmas Day in the brewery dry hopping beers to make sure they were ready for launch. Yet the painful process of getting to the point where they could welcome the public did little to hold them back. At a Brewsvegas open day in March, it felt like pretty much the entire population of their home suburb of Salisbury had turned up – and brought their mates – while two months later they returned from Melbourne with gold medals for their beers from the Australian International Beer Awards.
Leading the way for Ballistic is self-confessed odd couple, owner and founder David Kitchen, the "conservative old fart", and Lachy Crothers, the "tattooed, young, idealistic, opinionated brewer".
And here they are to tell us a little more about their plans...
Ballistic Beer Co
Who are you?
Lachy Crothers (pouring beer above right) – Head Brewer/Chief Joke Teller.
Where do you brew?
At our brewery in Salisbury, QLD.
Why do you brew?
Well, because it’s the only thing I’m actually good at.
What beers have you released to date?
Our core range consists of Dirty Word Craft Lager, Pilot Light Table Beer, Australian Psycho IPA and The Grandfather Oaked Ale (totally made up style).
We have also released Fortnight “Single” Hop IPA, Life On The Hedge – Cold Brew Coffee Brown Ale, an Espresso XPA, a Belgian Golden Ale, an American Brown Ale and B.F.S (Big Friendly Stout).
Of those, what’s your personal favourite?
Such a tough question. It’s like asking which is your favourite kid? I like them all and it varies what I’m drinking depending on the day. Although overall, volume wise, I probably drink more Australian Psycho than anything else.
What was it like to discover you'd won three golds at the 2017 AIBAs?
To be honest, we were pretty shocked, being the first time we have entered and the beers that won were only the first or second batches of those beers ever brewed.
We went in with zero expectations and came away absolutely over the moon. Needless to say, we partied pretty hard that night.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Well, in World War II, the Salisbury area was a big munitions manufacturing area. Being a real community focused brewery, we wanted to celebrate the local history of the area so Ballistic fitted well.
Plus, it sounds cool.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment, but for some reason even as a kid I was fascinated with alcohol production. I grew up on a vineyard down south WA and attempted to make my own wine as a 12 year old.
I do remember being introduced to James Squire’s Amber Ale when I was 17 and being shocked that there was beer that didn’t taste like VB. I worked a lot in retail liquor straight out of school and landed a job as an Assistant Brewer at Gage Roads when I was 22 and the rest is history – it’s pretty much all I’ve done since.
If your brewery was a band, who would it be?
Haha, well, to think of a band that reflects David and myself is pretty tough. Maybe a punk band playing Beach Boys covers? So maybe Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
What would your desert island beer be?
I’ll probably be disowned by the “craft” community for this but it would be Heineken. Solid, reliable and perfect for drinking on desert islands.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
On a desert island, with someone else running it and me sipping Margaritas.
Haha, no. But seriously, hopefully selling more beer but still making great beers and servicing the Salisbury community.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Currently I have the Schenkerla Doppelbock, a Mornington Brain Squeeze, a Balter IPA, a bottle of Josh Gill's homebrew kettle sour and a growler of Big Friendly Stout.
Where can people find your beers?
First and foremost, Thursday to Sunday at our brewery bar in Salisbury. Other than that, there’s so many awesome venues around Brissy, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast that sell our beer that I can’t list them all, but we update our Facebook Page every week with a list of venues that have it on tap.
Thanks, Lachy. Looking forward to checking out the brewery next month!
You can read other Who Brews? articles here.