After a bumpy road that included a false start at a different location last year, Currumbin Valley Brewing have finally opened their own taproom.
Unsurprisingly, the launch at the weekend was a moment of relief as well as celebration for owners Peter "Smokey" Wheldon and Luke Ronalds (pictured above), as they welcomed the first guests through the doors of the venue in Currumbin Waters.
“It really is the best place,” Smokey told The Crafty Pint. “We landed on it through the help of some friends in the community, who were looking out for us when we lost the other taproom and it all went pear-shaped.”
While it’s 15 minutes out of Currumbin Valley proper, there’s nothing second-best about the taproom’s location: Traders Way is part of an industrial estate just a few minutes off the Pacific Motorway. It’s also only 220 metres around the corner from Balter Brewing, who gave their blessing to the opening.
It means that between Balter, the Currumbin Hotel, café art space Dust Temple and a few other small businesses, the local area is abuzz and perfect for their taproom.
“It’s really going off," he says. "Feels like a little Burleigh.”
Smokey and Luke put the venue together on a shoestring budget, helped out by many mates and friendly local contractors, as well as doing much of the work themselves. Of course, as could be expected from the duo who built a brewery with repurposed dairy vats that was powered with converted waste oil from nearby mechanics, the aesthetic of the taproom is centred around repurposed and upcycled materials.
“That was the focus, just trying to warm that place up and use material that’s recycled," Smokey says. "Trying to bring the story of [Currumbin] Valley down in there.”
In true CVB style, the boys can tell you the story of each and every detail in the venue, from the recycled corrugated iron that makes up the main doors, to the wall they built from shipping pallets they had at the brewery, to the large cable reels being used as communal tables, to the various kinds of repurposed timber around the place.
“I’ve grabbed some camphor laurel out of the school that’s made a portion of the back bar and the bench in the toilets that the stone sinks are on," Smokey says. "Repurposed bamboo flooring became a feature wall in the toilets.
"Its funny, I want to talk about the toilets a lot… there was a lot of work went into them!”
At present, the beer is still all brewed at the brewery on Smokey’s farm in Currumbin Valley, but punters in the taproom can’t miss the beautiful copper-skinned brew kit that will eventually become their main production brewery. While Smokey and Luke aren’t yet at the stage where they can commission the brewhouse, they’re hoping to have it up and running in the next year.
“I can’t wait to brew on it!” Smokey says. “It’s like having a really nice toy and not being able to play with it.”
Matching the brewhouse is a copper font of 16 beer taps at the bar. At opening, the taproom was pouring 12 Currumbin Valley beers, including a few of their award-winning sours. The remaining taps were given over to beers from “a selection of other breweries we want to look after.”
The bar also serves Australian wines focused on low sulphites, low intervention, and low food miles as much as possible, as well as a range of local spirits: rums from Husk Distillers, gins from Ink Gin and whiskey from Grandad Jack’s.
With a local cook at the helm, Currumbin Valley Brewing’s own food truck serves up a menu of locally-sourced produce. Smokey describes it as "primarily pub grub", but that doesn’t quite do it justice: the snacks menu includes roasted spiced macadamias and pork and fennel sausage rolls, while the main menu includes a vegetarian burger with a housemade corn patty, a confit lamb shoulder burger (“the most mouth watering oozing patties of goodness!”), and a Reuben, which was a non-negotiable for Luke and Smokey.
While he and Luke take a lot of pride in the fit-out, beer and food, Smokey says the real joy for him is the way they can welcome people in and build relationships with their locals like never before.
“I’m really enjoying that connection to community. It’s been a blessing,” he says. “It’s been lovely to see people coming back – we saw people on the Friday [opening day] who came back on the Saturday, then again on a Sunday.”
The two friends started Currumbin Valley Brewing in 2016, making their first commercial brews at Black Hops. In 2018, they built a brewery from dairy equipment on Smokey’s farm for around $12,000. They’ve been brewing CVB’s beer there ever since, sourcing and recycling waste oil to make most of their own power, and using pure spring-fed water from the property to make their beer.
They worked towards opening a taproom in 2022, securing a small government grant and signing a lease on a site. However, issues with the landlord caused the contract to fall through before the pair could get approval – and after they’d sunk around $150,000 into the project.
“For a small business operating almost completely wholesale, that was nearly the end of the business,” Smokey says.
Thankfully, some members of the community reached out and rallied together to help Luke and Smokey find the space on Traders Way, where they now have “a wonderful landlord”.
“It’s been pretty heavy! The whole process has been intense. It’s pretty emotional having this place open now.
“It certainly is a celebration.”
The Currumbin Valley Brewing taproom is at 27 Traders Way, Currumbin Waters, and is open from midday Wednesday to Sunday.