Breweries, restaurants and bars are fundamentally social spaces. It’s where people come together with old friends, make new ones, and feel a part of the community we call home.
When Andrew and Lydia Turner opened Communion Brewing in Burnie late in 2021, it was this idea – that of building a space in which people would share their ideas – that inspired the name, rather than anything with religious connotations.
“The definition is shared participation in something good, that’s literally what it means,” Andrew says. “That’s what this venue is about and I’m always trying to create that community here where people get along and feel comfortable.”
That said, maybe religion has played some part in Communion's arrival in North West Tassie: Andrew and Lidia also run a café called The Chapel that is inside an old chapel. It’s a business for which Andrew, Lidia and the team source and create whatever they can; a couple of years back, that mantra led Andrew to start brewing beers for the café on a 50-litre system.
“Hospitality for us has always been about doing as much from scratch as possible,” he says. “At the café, we make our own bread, bake all our own cakes, and roast our own coffee on-site, so the beer was kind of the next step of that.”
It’s a step that today looks more like a giant leap: Communion is located inside a stunning Art Deco building that once housed one of Burnie’s first car dealerships and is as much a restaurant as it is a brewery.
Sure, there's the 500-litre brewhouse, steel tanks and a wide array of beer styles on offer, but the 120-seat venue is open every day and serves up a far more substantial food menu than many other breweries out there – predominantly dishes built for sharing that feature beer as an ingredient.
It makes sense. After all, if you visit a place called Communion Brewing seeking communion of one form or another, what better communion is there than sharing in food, beer and a chat?
To find out more, we invited Andrew to join us as part of our long-running Who Brews...? series.
Communion Brewing Co
Who are you?
Andrew Turner (pictured above) - I opened Communion in 2021 after owning a café in the same city for the past seven years. The café had a focus on everything being made onsite – like coffee roasted, bread baked etc – and beer was the next step.
A small brewery was set up to produce beers served in the café and one thing led to another and now we have Communion Brewing Co.
Where do you brew?
Communion Brewing Co, Burnie. We have a 5-hectolitre, three-vessel brewhouse with 10-hectolitre unitanks.
Why do you brew?
It’s a challenge. To make the next beer my best!
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Not really, I just love creating things and have always been a foodie. I love well-crafted food and drinks so was just keen to be able to make something delicious from scratch.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
Communion Brewing is a nod to our first business called The Chapel, a café situated in an 1890s Wesleyan Methodist church, but mainly to do with the actual meaning of communion: shared participation in something good!
The concept is really all about the venue, rather than the just the beer, and we’ve put a lot of effort into making the venue a beautiful, comfortable space where everyone is welcome.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
Probably our Session IPA called Clockwatcher (see top of article). If there was a theme to our beers it would be drinkability. This beer is kind of the gateway to the more crafty side of our offering.
If you could have any person in the world join you on a brew day, who would it be, and why?
My favourite band Five Iron Frenzy. It’s always on the brewing playlist and what’s better than a live performance to get you motivated!
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Refer to the previous question haha.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Some tasty oatmeal stouts from Welcome Swallow and Banks.
What would be your desert island beer of choice?
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
Little Rivers Summer Haze – so refreshing and mangoey.
Is there a particular style, ingredient, or trend in beer you'd like to explore further?
I'm keen on playing with Philly Sour again this summer. Very happy with the results of previous brews.
Where can people find your beers?
Primarily at the venue in Burnie, but also most good independent bottleshops in Tassie, or posting Australia-wide through our website.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
I’ll just be happy if we’re still brewing beers in Burnie for Burnie folk.
You can take communion at 57 Wilmot Street, Burnie. Find Communion Brewing Co and hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues in the free Crafty Pint app.