February 27th, 2013 by Crafty Pint
There's a strange wind about to blow across the land. But this isn't some bluster conjured up by Mother Nature. This is manmade, born of years of frustration finally being released in an almighty sigh of relief. It will originate in Erina on the Central Coast of New South Wales and we should take a moment to acknowledge it. This sigh will be breathed from the lips of two locals and longtime friends, Chris Benson and Adam Klasterka. And the reason for such audible relief? Their business, the Six String Brewing Company, is finally open.
The arrival of the country's newest brewery has been nothing but drama-filled. The journey has taken, Adam recalls: "Something like three years and four sites.“ They've battled opposition at every turn to get their brewery open, against almost every obstacle you could care to throw their way: finding sites, the shambolic world of planning permissions, new 'no alcohol' by-laws – including those imposed after they had already been locked into a lease and had a brewhouse ordered – and public announcements of opposition towards what they were attempting to achieve. That's not even to speculate at what financial and emotional cost this might have had over such a prolonged period.
Yet, amongst the myriad of challenges, there remained a stubborn refusal to let their dream be strangled in red tape. There remained a simple burning desire to brew good beer and see their brewery open. If you want an example of the passion that drives the craft beer industry in Australia, it is personified at the Six String Brewery. Now, thankfully, their story is set to take a much brighter turn.
The brewery is at optimum shininess, ready to receive guests. There’s a bar and couches and tables and chairs. The coasters are printed and the walls adorned with artwork showing the glory of the brewing process and a giant tree flourishing with leaves of growlers. They even have merchandise: caps, glasses, growlers and guitar picks – a homage to the brewery's name derived from Chris' penchant for playing the six string bass. And of course they have beer.
The ready-to-launch range includes pale and blonde ales, hefeweizen, saison and a (very) Dark Red IPA. The latter, a hoppy 6.6 per cent IPA, is sufficient reward for any beer lover wishing to take a trip to the coast, while something like the 3.8 per cent blonde should help encourage new drinkers by offering something more from their beer without going so far as to offend. It is a range that has something to please everyone.
And they've already been slightly, and no doubt pleasantly, surprised at the way in which people have responded to their beer. At the Central Coast Craft Beer Festival (held back in October 2012 and one of the first opportunities for Six String to get their beer out to the public) their own ideas of what people might like were somewhat skewed.
Says Adam: "We thought the pale ale would easily be our most popular beer, but it was about a 50-50 split between that and the saison."
That initial acceptance bodes well for the next stage of the plan: to win over the local populace. Having both grown up on the Central Coast and deliberately choosing it as the location for their brewery, the local touch is important for both Adam and Chris. It's not a bad place to be either, with dozens of beaches within a reasonably short distance of the brewery and an apparently eager market to satisfy.
"We've spoken to places like the Surf Clubs and they're already interested in stocking the beer", says Adam. "Central Coast tourism are supportive of the brewery too – they want more attractions in the area."
Having had so many barriers in front of them, it's a fine thought to know they can now focus on the positives and start to draw on that local support. To be sure, that support has always been there to some degree with Adam mentioning that despite any objections to the brewery, they still had âover 100 submissions in support."
They have already had plenty of interest and that's something that will undoubtedly continue to grow – and grow quickly. But perhaps the best part is that is can do so from today because finally, after three years waiting and countless problems, beer lovers on the Central Coast are able to visit their new, local brewery. Thatâs pretty fantastic news and thereâll be no one will be feeling it more than Adam and Chris.
There is a school of thought that things always taste better if you have to wait for them. If there's even a modicum of truth to that, then the beer from the Six String Brewing Company may just be the best beer youâll taste this year.
Keep tabs with Nick’s adventures in the NSW beer scene here too.