When crane operator Cheyne Meehan began working on a high-rise apartment complex in Newstead right next to the Newstead Brewing Company, little did he know his career was about to change. A chance meeting with Newstead's then senior brewer Jarrett Bravo paved the way for a brewing friendship that would culminate in Happy Valley Brewing Company opening in Stafford and joining Brisbane's thriving brewing scene.
A longtime homebrewer, Cheyne started to grill Jarrett on brewing techniques and turning his hobby more into a profession, which led the pair to hatch a plan to bring local beer to Stafford.
“The amount of craft beer that was in the Stafford Tavern drive through told us there was a demand in the area,” Cheyne says.
The brewery's name pays homage to Stafford's original name while the brewery's logo of a grasshopper draws a more personal connection from Cheyne. It was chosen after Cheyne's home hop crop was decimated by the insects; they felt any creature that loves hops as much as Cheyne and Jarrett should be represented at Happy Valley.
After opening at the start of August, Happy Valley has been welcomed as a new community hub, with the taps pouring myriad styles and the brewery playing host to rotating local food trucks to keep punters well fed.
As they move into their second month of trading, we caught up with Jarrett and Cheyne for our ongoing Who Brews...? series.
Happy Valley Brewing
Who are you?
Jarrett Bravo: former senior brewer with Newstead Brewing Co. And owner of gypsy label Bravo Brewing (who we featured in a previous Who Brews in 2018).
Cheyne Meehan: former crane driver and all-round good human.
Where do you brew?
At our home in Stafford – which is eight kilometres north of Brisbane’s CBD.
Why do you brew?
It’s a creative outlet for us and we also enjoy a few schooners.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Jarrett: I’ve always loved beer and started brewing at 15 because I loved the creativeness of brewing. Also Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum blew me away.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Happy Valley was the original name given to Stafford but the suburb's name was changed to Stafford by Sir Thomas Brisbane to one that reminded him of home in England.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
Old School DIPA because I tried to put everything we love about West Coast IPAs into a beer.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Jarrett: Haha. Cheyne and I have polar opposite tastes in music, but if I'm here by myself it’ll more then likely be something heavy.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Nothing in my home fridge; I’ll take something from work if I’m in need of a tipple.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
Aether has some great beers coming out and it’s hard to go past Black Hops for some super sessionable beers.
Where can people find your beers?
Only at our brewery taproom at the moment.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
Hopefully we’ll be a bit of a beer hub for our local area and producing more beers.
You can call into Happy Valley Brewing Company by heading to 34 Wolverhampton Street, Stafford, and you can find them and hundreds of other good beer businesses in The Crafty Pint app.
Other entries in the Who Brews...? series can be found here.