June 27, 2013 by 250 Beers
One of Australia’s most popular snacks is the pie. You Aussies certainly love a good pie. Not humble pie. No, you hate to eat humble pie but the meat pie is a pastry favourite.
You’re also noted worldwide for liking a good beer or two. You don’t need me to tell you this of course.
The reason for this flaky introduction is because one man has decided to embrace these two wonderfully Australian things and bring the Queensland public Brewbake.
Yep, that’s right, a microbrewery specialising in craft beer AND pies. Oh, and Brewbake is only 45 minutes from 250 Beers HQ.
The man behind the latest explosion into the Queensland craft beer scene is Hayden Mokaraka. Hayden includes both Tooheys and Blue Sky as previous employers so this isn’t some wacky, amateur home brewer letting himself loose on the public with a ridiculous pie in the sky scheme. Hayden has gained respect throughout the industry during his 20 years in the business and can also lay claim to being an international beer judge having voted on the panel of Australia’s The Critics’ Choice top 100 beers.
Located at the iconic Big Pineapple in Woombye, the Brewbake microbrewery is ideally situated to attract not only the passing tourist trade but also the large quantity of people from near and far that gather every weekend for the markets held there. Who will be able to resist a pie and few fresh beers after traipsing around the markets?
Having waited for what seemed like an eternity for a liquor licence, the big day came on Wednesday 19th June when Brewbake eventually started trading beer to the public (the pies had been flying off the hot racks for a few weeks prior). Three days later I was strapping the wife and kids into the car and zipping up the Bruce Highway for the short trip to the biggest pineapple in the world.
I’ve lived close(ish) to the Big Pineapple for five years but never had the urge to visit. Mrs 250 Beers on the other hand has been a number of times – all as a child. It seems that many adults from Brisbane currently in their 30’s or 40’s can safely say that they visited the giant piece of fruit at least once in their childhood.
I’d timed our Saturday arrival perfectly and arrived just after midday which meant that the vast throng of market-goers had dispersed. With two small children in tow this was a good thing. The markets were still in full swing with an hour or so remaining until the traders started to pack up. We’d planned to have a walk around the stalls before locating Brewbake and settling down for lunch. I’ve got to be honest, being the parent ‘driving’ the pushchair/stroller I was actually moving around a bit quicker than usual. Do you blame me? I was inside an indoor market with a microbrewery somewhere under the same roof! There’s no doubt that I was hurrying.
After being asked by a natural healer at his stall if I was “..feeling any pain today?”, we approached Brewbake with the words “No, I’m just thirsty!” on the tip of my tongue.
Due to the departure of the market masses, Brewbake had a number of seats and tables available. This was great news as any parent will know that you can’t leave home without spare nappies, spare this and spare that. We had a few bags with us that basically required a bit of room.
Hayden has launched three beers; a wheat beer, a pale ale and a seasonal release – the first of which is a chocolate porter. All three are around the 3.5% mark. This is sensible because if you’re driving (like I was) you don’t want to be knocked over by a few big and bold seven percenters.
Earlier in the week, Brewbake had commented on social media that only the wheat beer and porter were being tapped. This was a shame as I was keen to try all three. My luck changed when, due to customer feedback, the pale was tapped before Saturday. Lucky me. I can’t help but commend Hayden for this move. Some of Brewbake’s patrons are likely to have never even heard of a porter whereas everybody knows what a pale ale is. The business is in its infancy and the last thing he needs is for potential custom to walk away dissatisfied.
I was far from dissatisfied however! I was struggling to fault all three having ordered a tasting paddle of them all for just $10. Backing Hayden’s decision to tap the pale ale was justified as it’s very refreshing – a real treat after our walk around the markets. It has a light citrus feel to it and is perfectly carbonated. It was Mrs 250 Beers pick of the crop. The wheat beer proved just as refreshing in my book with subtle hints of banana on display as you’d expect. I found it more appealing than many wheat beers that I’ve bought from major outlets.
My pick was the chocolate porter although I wish we’d had time for it to sit a little longer. The chocolate only started to appear on my palate towards the end of my glass after it had warmed slightly. I’d left it as long as I could before the young and the restless started to get, well, restless. Being a sucker for a nice porter, I invested in a Brewbake squealer¹ and opted for it to be filled with the brown stuff ($14.95 all up). This enabled me to carry on drinking the porter over the weekend. Owning a squealer will give me the perfect excuse to stop at Brewbake for a $10.00 refill every time we head home from our trips to the Sunshine Coast. Oh, and being a collector of beer-related glassware, I also purchased a Brewbake glass.
The beers are priced fairly at $4.00 for 200ml, $5.50 for 320ml and $7.00 will get you 500ml.
The pies were awesome too with at least five varieties of fillings. After much deliberation, my wife chose the chunky beef pie which she rated 8/10. I confess to purchasing a sausage roll for myself which I ended up sharing with my three-year old. He gave it a full 10/10 and I agreed with him. For once.
I recall telling Hayden that it was a genius concept to sell pies with beer to which he remarked that he couldn’t believe that he was the first to put this scheme together. If a pie doesn’t float your boat, the main market building is home to so many other outlets that sell food. There are too many to list but there really is something for everyone.
After our beer and pastry revelry, the four of us took a walk to feed the animals which was the highlight for my one-year old. He’s trying desperately to talk at the moment and when greeted by the loud bleating of a goat he went blue in the face trying to respond to it. The list of animals includes alpacas, pigs, sheep, a calf, a horse, chickens, a donkey and a tiger². Both boys then thoroughly enjoyed a train ride back to the main area after a short walk along a forest trail which ran out from the animal enclosure. We were reliably informed by a brass plaque on our carriage that we were sitting in the same seats that Prince Charles and Lady Diana occupied almost exactly 30 years ago.
I learnt five things during my visit:
• The place hasn’t really changed since 1982 (according to Mrs 250 Beers)
• The miniature railway boasts the sharpest bend on a railway in Queensland
• The railway also boasts the steepest incline on a railway in Queensland
• That the bamboo on the premises dates back beyond 100 years
• That beer and pies really do go hand in hand
Brewbake is open seven days a week (they’ve got to earn a crust right?) and are located at the Big Pineapple, 76 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye, QLD 4559.
Click here to visit Brewbake on Facebook.
¹For those that don’t know, a ‘squealer’ is a refillable one litre take-away bottle. This is a smaller version of the two litre ‘growler’.
²There wasn’t really a tiger.