Range Abbotsford Opens Today

November 27, 2020, by Will Ziebell

Range Abbotsford Opens Today

Little more than a week after Brisbane's Range Brewing took out four trophies at The Indies, Melburnians can enjoy the brewery’s beers from their Abbotsford taproom, which opens today at 272 Johnston Street.

The light, airy, plant-filled taproom is reminiscent of their Newstead home, although Gerard Martin (pictured above) – who opened the brewery with Matt McIver in 2018 and is responsible for the furniture and much of the space's aesthetic – says they wanted to capture some of Queensland at their southern outpost too. 

As such, large windows open out onto Johnston Street to welcome people inside; a design element that brings to mind a quintessential Queenslander, as do the VJ (Verticle Joint) boards inside. 

“We wanted it to be clean and a little bit Scandi but still cosy,” Gerard says.

“The bar is set up so that people can walk in, start browsing and looking at the cans, and then we can offer them a taste. That’s just what we love to do.”

It’s the latest milestone in what's been a whirlwind few months for the brewery team, who first went public with plans for the Abbotsford venue in June. Gerard and his partner moved to Melbourne to set up the new joint and enjoy a lifestyle change just as the city’s second COVID lockdown took hold.  

“It was two weeks before the second lockdown,” he says. “Fortunately, we could keep building, which was great.”

It means Gerard couldn’t be with the wider Range team as they took out multiple trophies at last week’s Indies awards. It was a glorious night for them as they scooped Champion Australian Independent Beer for their hazy IPA Fahrenheit – all while sinking a few celebratory tequilas. Gerard did, however, get to watch it at Fixation at the Victorian watch party, and received multiple call-outs from his mates. 


Range co-founder Matt McIver (with mic) and head brewer Mitch Pickford at the Queensland watch party for the 2020 Indies.


"You could tell they were dumbfounded and so I was I,” he says.

“It hasn’t really sunk in and I don’t know if it’s even sunk in with the team up there. They just kept coming.”

Gerard says the awards are testament to the team and a focus on continually improving their processes; he felt winning the top gong for a hazy was a huge compliment.

“The hardest thing for us is actually to get quality over those styles,” he says. “That’s hard to do, it’s really hard in sensory because we’re doing different hops and stuff.

At their Brisbane home, they’ve completed a third capacity upgrade since opening a little over two years ago. They’ve got another planned for next year and, with a recently-added centrifuge, they’ll be looking to brew somewhere around a half a million litres in the next year. While they wait to see how Abbotsford works for them, they're already considering their next steps, including a bigger brewery or, potentially, more venues in which to introduce people to Range’s beers.

As for those who walk into the Johnston Street site today, they’ll be greeted by booths with charging spots for anyone keen to spend an afternoon working away at their laptop – provided they can maintain a work ethic while drinking heavily-hopped double IPAs. There’s no kitchen, so you wont get to enjoy the same pizzas as found at Range Newstead, but food can be brought in – with Rita's across the road an excellent local pizza option – and that lack of food is more than made up for on the beer front. 



The fridge of cans out the front will be kept well-stocked with Range's ever-evolving roster of beers while a dozen taps pour out the front and the same again can be found towards the back of the venue in a space they've set up for hosting events. 

“We’ll eventually split them so we can pour 24 different beers, but we’ll also do events with our friends and that kind of thing,” Gerard says. 

The cool room located towards the venue's midst is something of a showpiece too, with a window opening up to offer views of Range's cold-shipped beers. Every Friday, the brewery will release new beers concurrently in both cities. 

Gerard says part of the appeal of the space, which is next door to Dr Morse, and thus a stone's throw from Bodriggy, and was previously a tattoo parlour, was rear access that allows them to bring in beer without breaking the cold chain. 

“We need back access to take pallets in,” Gerard says. “This cold room can hold about eight pallets at full capacity. Every week, we plan on getting pallets down here and, once our capacity grows, we’ll wholesale out.”

It means the space will one day act as something of a distribution hub for Range and Gerard says they’d like to partially fill those pallets with beers from other Brisbane breweries who want to get their beer into Melbourne cold and in small batches.

“We’ve gone through that struggle ourselves,” he says.

One thing they haven't struggled to do it attract an audience, with the combination of an inviting space and award-winning hazy beers seemingly a sure-fire way to turn people onto drinking better beer.

“That’s what we’ve done with the builders," Gerard says. "They didn’t even know what a hop was and now they’re drinking DDH beers – Take A Hike [a 7 percent ABV DDH IPA brewed with Mountain Culture] was their favourite.”

Range Brewing Abbotsford opens at midday today (November 27) and will be open from Wednesdays to Sundays. You can find it and hundreds of other good beer venues on the free Crafty Pint app.  

If you enjoy The Crafty Pint, you can become a supporter of our independent journalism.

You can make a donation or sign up for our beer club, The Crafty Cabal, and gain access to exclusive events, giveaways and special deals.

AIBA 2024 dinner B2 BONUS
Lallemand 1
Bintani- Updated Behind The Brew- E