For Danny Perera and Amila Mendis, co-owners of Two Rupees Brewing Co, the grand opening of their tap room was a few years in the making. It was back in 2013 that the childhood friends first decided to have a crack at homebrewing, but their story stretches back even further, back to when – independently of each other – they moved to Melbourne from their home country of Sri Lanka, and were awed by the city’s rich craft beer scene.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is craft beer’,” says Amila, who moved around the corner from Mountain Goat while working as a banker in 2010.
Danny’s background, on the other hand, is in hospitality; indeed, his interest in craft beer was sparked while working as a cook at Little Creatures’ former Brunswick Street outpost.
Curiosities piqued, the next step was for Danny and Amila to begin exploring Melbourne’s many breweries, which snowballed into a decision to have a go at making their own beer.
Their new-found hobby soon outgrew their homes, and two years ago they decided to lease a warehouse space in Clayton to give them a little more room to move. Fast forward to July 2019, and they officially opened the space to the public.
“We just wanted to have a go at it,” Danny says.
While their name, Two Rupees, pays homage to their Sri Lankan roots, their heritage also shines through in every keg. Their flagship witbier, for example, highlights classic Sri Lankan spices like cumin and coriander seeds, which proves to be a combination that adds real depth to this traditional Belgian-style ale.
Sri Lankan spices are just the tip of the experimental iceberg, though, and Danny and Amila are constantly thinking about how to incorporate ingredients from home into their beers. Sure, tropical fruits like pineapple and mango are fairly common in today’s craft beer scene, but have you ever tried a beer infused with jackfruit? Or durian? Sri Lanka is a smorgasbord of incredible flavours, and everything is fair game at Two Rupees.
At time of writing, there were six beers on tap, including their flagship Wit and Brown Ale, with an IPA on track to be released in the coming weeks. While different in style and flavour, what each of their creations has in common is that they are designed to be sessionable. As such, they tend to be lower in alcohol, encouraging guests to relax and hang out for a while.
“That’s our thing, that’s the whole idea,” says Amila, explaining that their hope is for Two Rupees to be a "true blue" local brewery made for beer lovers, by beer lovers.
To find out more about this new Melbourne brewery, we invited Danny and Amila to take part in our Who Brews…? series.
Who are you?
Amila and I are originally from Sri Lanka and migrated here to Melbourne in 2004. I came as a student wanting to study Hospitality and Amila migrated with his family.
I went on to work in the hospitality industry in bars, clubs and cafés and Amila had a career previously in banking. We both loved beer and the homebrewing process is where our passion started.
Where do you brew?
We have opened a microbrewery in a Clayton industrial area near Monash University.
Why do you brew?
A passion stemming from home brewing and a love of all types of beer.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
We were inspired by White Rabbit Brown Ale.
What beers have you released to date?
We currently have a Pilsner, Red Ale, Wit, Brown Ale, Lager and an Easy Ale.
Where can people find your beers?
We're currently only kegging and in-house at the brewery at this stage, but we're hoping to start packaging and selling to local pubs in the near future.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Two Rupees is the Sri Lankan currency.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
IPAs and lagers / pilsners generally.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
We are hoping to expand and have the capacity to hold large functions, events and offer a unique all-round experience in brewing.
You can sample Two Rupees' beers for yourself in their unassuming brewery at 69 Renver Road, Clayton South. And, all being well, they'll be hosting food trucks and live music at the brewery on Friday evenings very soon.