When your coastal community is one that swells with tourists over summer, opening a brewpub in the middle of winter might not seem like a natural time to launch. But, for Kick Back Brewing in the South Australian town of Aldinga, their first few weekends of trading suggest there's never a bad time to open a brewery.
“It’s been massive," says owner and head brewer Brenton Schoemaker. "It’s been a really epic startup – we’ve had as big a start as we think we ever could have had.”
Brenton says though many know and visit the town for its surrounding beaches, the area has been growing fast of late and there are big plans for further expansion, with a new school and other new businesses coming in. It’s those changes that were part of the reason Brenton – who grew up nearby in McLaren Vale – felt the area was the right spot to launch.
“We’ve had to do some pretty major alterations to the existing site, so [the locals] have all seen that happening over the last year and been involved in that story,” he says.
But given Aldinga is still a beachside town, their plan is to extend those trading days from the current Thursday to Sunday so tourists can embrace the brewpub when spring hits.
“We are still two minutes off some of the best beaches in SA, so we still get a lot of attention from that as well,” Brenton says.
With a food menu based around what he calls comfort food, as well as 16 taps, tourists and locals alike have plenty to chose from – including beers from other local breweries including Mismatch, Prancing Pony and Swell. Brenton's own beers are brewed on both a 10 hectolitre system and a 200-litre pilot system, a setup which gives him a chance to experiment in the way that drew him to brewing in the first place.
“We can still punch out some pretty interesting or unique brews before we upscale them, and being from a homebrewing background, that’s what tickles my fancy,” he says.
Before launching Kick Back, Brenton (pictured below left) worked as a geologist in the oil and gas industry before, keen for a change in lifestyle and a return to rolling up his sleeves, found himself drawn to starting brewery and connecting with his community for some years.
“I ended up in the corporate side of that, which wasn’t really me," he says. "I’m a much more hands-on and practical person who likes to see the results of what I’m doing.”
We invited him to take part in our long-running Who Brews...? series to find out more.
Kick Back Brewing
Who are you?
Brenton Schoemaker – head brewer and owner
Michael Proud – head chef extraordinaire
Ryan Moyne – Taphouse manager
Why do you brew?
We think of craft beer as a connection to community and region. We love sharing our passion with others. Whether it’s hazy or lager, we want to share what we do with all.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Those moments as a homebrewer where you see people truly enjoying your experiments is an incredible feeling. This feeling combined with the desire to pursue a passion rather than a corporate career set me on a mission to build a brewery. It’s quite an honour to extend people’s love of good beer.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Kick Back is about relaxing, coastal vibes and good times. We wanted to create a brand and a space that delved into the concept of the "good beer moment" – that time where you can Kick Back at the end of a day in the surf or with your fam around the table.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
Probably Hazy IPA right now – haha – it’s been a busy few weeks. I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to beer styles and will let the day and the weather dictate what I want to drink.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
We’ve actually been playing whale sounds to keep the beer calm at night. Nah, but we have been doing all kinds of tunes: The Black Keys, The Skeggs, Sly Withers are on the rotation.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
As it starts to cool down in SA, I start to stock up on some darker beers. A couple of Goodieson stouts, and an IRA from Prancing Pony.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
There’s a bunch but two highly contrasting but incredible drops recently are Mismatch’s Lager and Shapeshifter Cheat Code – Sour Hazy IPA.
Where can people find your beers?
As a local brewpub, we are starting out with beer only available directly at the brewery. We have plans for some takeaway options which will be announced on our socials over the coming months!
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
First beer on one of Elon’s flights would be cool. Space beer would be wicked.
Sample Kick Back beers by heading to 11 Old Coach Road, Aldinga. Find them and hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues across Australia in the free Crafty Pint app. For other Who Brews...? features, head here.