The forces driving people to start brewing beer vary significantly from person to person, brewer to brewer. When it comes to the team from Straddie Brewing Co, however, it's pretty straightforward: it’s all in the name.
The entire concept for the brewing company came from a love for North Stradbroke Island, better known as North Straddie or, simply, Straddie. Located 25 minutes off the coast of Queensland, not far from Brisbane, it's the world's second largest sand island, an idyllic spot where you're as likely to find yourself walking down the street alongside a koala as you are to enjoy sunset drinks while a dolphin frolics in the ocean mere feet away.
That said, the idea was formed by Kylie Taylor and Troy Beaven while on holiday in Scotland. Their goal with Straddie is to act as a love letter to the island, as well as a way to showcase its essence in beer form.
To achieve this, they enlisted the help of head brewer Andrew Sydes, formerly of Green Beacon and Catchment Brewing, and the trio hasn’t looked back since, landing a gold medal for their Point Lookout Lager at the 2020 Indies.
Speaking with Andrew, he highlighted the importance of capturing the island within their beers.
“We wanted to spread the word about this great place,” he says. “To me, there's something special and right about beer being of a place and reflecting its natural environment and local community.
"Beer is an incredible local and human thing.”
At time of writing, their beers are being brewed at Ballistic Beer Co in Brisbane, but the dream is to open a Straddie Brewing Co brewery in the near future, making them even better placed to introduce people to the places name-checked by their beers: Amity (their pale), Myora Springs (gose), Jimpinpin (IPA), and Dunwich (saison) among them.
We got in touch to find out more as part of our long-running Who Brews...? series.
Straddie Brewing Co
Who are you?
Straddie Brewing Co was founded by Kylie Taylor and Troy Beaven, a husband and wife team with backgrounds in marketing and civil construction respectively, and Andrew Sydes, formerly of Green Beacon and Catchment Brewing in Brisbane.
Where do you brew?
The plan was to brew at our purpose-built brewery on Straddie, but we’ve had COVID-19 related construction setbacks. So as not to deny visitors to Straddie a fresh island-crafted beer, we made the decision to start releasing batch beers of our core range in July this year.
The team at Ballistic Beer Co have graciously provided us with tank space at their Salisbury and Springfield breweries while we work on getting our island home built in Dunwich, which is the gateway to Straddie and a great spot for a beer while watching the sunset.
Why do you brew?
To share the love! We love great beer and our island home and want to share both with our local community and region.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
There have been so many along the way but the early big standouts for me [Andrew] are Chimay Grand Reserve and Little Creatures Pale Ale – the first beer I really tried to emulate. I reckon Kylie and Troy would say Brouhaha’s Raspberry Saison and BentSpoke’s Crank Shaft IPA respectively.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Straddie is the nickname for North Stradbroke Island, just across Moreton Bay from Brisbane. The island is the reason the brewery exists – it was Kylie and Troy’s way of making the place they love so much their home, and a chance to contribute to a community and place they’ve gotten so much enjoyment from over the years.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
We have a core range of six beers: Point Lookout Lager, Amity Pale Ale, Myora Springs Gose, Mid-track Session Ale, Jumpinpin IPA and Dunwich Saison. Each beer is named after places on the island, which can be interpreted at face value – yep, here’s a place and a beer named after it.
However, there’s been way more thought and passion poured into each one of our beers, both in terms of the story – we call them Tall Tales – linked to the place, and the style and flavour profile Andrew has created.
[As for the beer that best represents us] Kylie says Myora Springs Gose – it’s a vibrant homage to place – where freshwater and saltwater meet. Over two million litres of pure sand-filtered fresh water rises from the inner depths of the island’s aquifer at Myora Springs (Capembah) and flows out into Moreton Bay.
Our gose is perfectly suited to the island environment: easy-drinking, refreshing and appeals to a wide audience, including non-beer drinkers.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Could be just about anything, Springsteen, Sigur Rós, Biggie, Schumann, Wilco, Metallica or Prince. Probably mostly Prince.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Beer doesn’t last long around here, the only thing I [Andrew] have on hand at the moment that isn’t Straddie beer is an old 2009 magnum of Mikkeller Festival Beer – almost definitely flogged – and a bottle of Ballistic Coup de Grâce – almost definitely not!
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
Mr Banks Simcoe Feels plus some crazy mystery science beers Gavin (Archer, Croft Brewing and Patch) gave me to try.
Where can people find your beers?
Buy online on our website, at most licensed venues on Straddie, and from a soon to grow select few locations on the bayside and Brisbane in the new year. We keep our beer finder updated on our website.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
Where we left it. Sorry, couldn’t help it...
We want to spread the word about Straddie so others can enjoy and help cherish and preserve this beautiful place. That may mean growing the Straddie Brewing Co brand and making more beer at a bigger, production-focused brewery, or opening more taproom locations for example.
It may mean simply settling further into our island home: building and growing a community meeting place for locals and visitors to celebrate our beautiful surroundings – and delicious beer, of course.