At long last, the Spotty Dog Brewery and Taphouse has landed in Hobart. And what a home it is.
The production brewery and taproom is located in the industrial suburb of Derwent Park in Hobart’s north and overlooks Prince of Wales Bay and its marina. Brewery co-founder and CEO Klimt Donohoe says it creates quite the juxtaposition, with the venue surrounded by warehouses yet still enjoying one of the city’s most famous views.
“We have thousands of workers around us but we also have this beautiful yacht marina right in front of us,” he told The Crafty Pint on the eve of their opening.
“The whole front of the cellar door is floor-to-ceiling glass and you look directly through the boats to Mount Wellington.”
Much like the approach they take with the design of their cans, they’ve kept the cellar door minimalist, while also ensuring it showcases Hobart’s beauty.
“Our idea for it,” he says, “and the way the architects designed the building, was the whole thing is like a giant landscape painting. You stand back and it’s just views as far as you can see.”
Unsurprisingly, they’ve built the place with Hobart’s weather in mind too: about a third of their venue can be opened up when it's warmer, while you can stay inside and look at the snow-capped mountain in winter.
The building, which opens to the public for the first time tomorrow (January 20) is a new, greenfield build; they broke ground in the final days of 2021 and started brewing there in August last year. And while they’re excited to welcome the neighbouring workers and locals from nearby suburbs – they’re even installing a Flannelette Curtain in their barrel room – they hope many beer lovers will travel to pay them a visit. All of which seems fitting given they have space for hundreds and you can park your boat right out the front.
“We’ve built the brewery as like a bit of a destination as well," he says. "The whole building is raised up with carparks underneath.
“It’s designed around hosting celebrations because that’s what we really love about hospitality.”
Although the kitchen isn’t quite complete, that’s not too far off, with the brewery hosting food trucks in the meantime. When it comes to production, they have a 2,000-litre brewhouse on which they double batch brew to fill 4,000-litre fermentation tanks, which are complemented by a few smaller ones. The includes three 500-litre tanks filled with single batches and also used to experiment with different hopping rates or fruits for beers destined for their own taps and those in select venues.
That brewing is overseen by head brewer Rhyley Wellsmore, who learnt to brew in Germany and has worked for the likes of Young Henrys, Lion and Asahi in Australia. Klimt still has some involvement in the brewery though; “I still get to have a little say recipes, which is quite nice,” he says with a laugh.
Having released their first beers in 2016, finding a home has been a long and at times arduous journey for the family-run business started by Klimt, his wife Domonie and Michael and Marnie Rybak.
Klimt says it’s been a running joke within the beer community just how long they’ve gone without a home of their own, pointing out that a lot of potential sites have fallen through along the way. Throughout their journey, however, they’ve had a lot of help from locals including Last Rites, Shambles and Ocho, who managed to squeeze in Spotty Dog brews even when they barely had the capacity to spare.
“I think Last Rites and a Shambles probably looked after the local gypsy brewers a lot more than they probably would have liked to," Klimt says, "but that's just the kind of guys they are.”
As for the beers we can expect from Spotty Dog in the future, their IPAs and much-loved Single Hop Series won't be going anywhere, but the plan is to celebrate their home state too. To date, their beers have often taken inspiration from the founders' experiences overseas but now they’re just as eager to show off the stories of Tasmania and Australia, whether that’s through local whisky barrels or hops grown by HPA further up the Derwent.
“The next focus for us is changing that narrative we've always had of taking things that inspire us overseas and recreating them,” Klimt says. “We want to create those memories for people who visit Tasmania.”
Spotty Dog Brewery and Taphouse will open at 2pm on January 20 and is located at 11 Bender Drive, Derwent Park. You can find it and hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues on the free Crafty Pint app.