December 4, 2013 by 250 Beers
I found myself in an area of Brisbane yesterday that is currently oozing booze – more to the point it is flowing with good quality beer.
I was in Newstead. I knew in advance that I was going to be there so it seemed ridiculous that I should be in the vicinity and not tee up a chat with Mark Howes from opening-VERY-soon-about-bloody-time Newstead Brewing Co. (NBCo).
NBCo will soon join the craft beer community in that neck of the woods with near-neighbours Tippler’s Tap, Green Beacon, Bitter Suite and The Wine Emporium bottle shop should also get a mention. Oh, and Kerbside is up the road too. Jeez, I’m salivating.
My visit was just four days out from the grand opening on Saturday 7th – not Thursday 5th as reported by one major newspaper. The unveiling of NBCo has been at the forefront of the minds of every craft beer fan in Brisbane for what feels like an eternity. It’s actually been nearly 10 months since Newstead became the word on the street.
The fellas behind NBCo, Mark Howes and Michael Conrad, have been cleverly flicking tidbits of information at us thirsty Brisbanites for a few weeks now. Releasing photos through social media of the former bus depot building being adorned with a bright red, hand-painted NBCo logo as well as the tap decal artwork of their core beers has kept the public at bay as the final brew, the Two to the Valley IPA (5.8%), gets ready for life after fermentation and hopping.
I really like the vintage artwork. It has been NBCo’s theme from the beginning which included faux posters showing their logo in old Brisbane photos. A favourite of mine was one of a bus – nicely tied in with the old building. Brilliant. Running a ‘Beer Taster’ competition on Facebook has helped instil a large following too. Genius.
The building, fixtures and fittings etc have been ready and raring to see some custom for ages. I ducked my head in over a month ago and was quite impressed. What impressed me the most was that the opening wasn’t rushed. The boys decided on a core range of beers and they’ve waited for them all to be ready. They could have been taking my dollars weeks ago but they’ve waited for that IPA and I admire that a lot – not just because I love IPAs!
The space inside 85 Doggett Street is well utilised. The elevated seating and bar/kitchen area takes up a good 3/4 of the interior which overlooks the brewery through sections of clear glass that are akin to my pool fence at home. Who wants to watch people swimming when you can stare at stainless steel brewing kit?!
As usual, local artistic talent, Frank & Mimi, have done a magnificent job with their murals and artwork. As you take your first few steps into NBCo you must remember to take a look at the painting on the brickwork directly to your right. It is so rustic-looking that you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been there for decades.
During my 90 minute stay, I was very lucky to have sampled six of Queensland’s newest commercial beers. First up was 3 Quarter Time Session Ale which is a 3.4% mid-strength. Then Out & a Bout Pale Ale (4.6%). Next was Liquidambar Amber Ale (4.8%) followed by a special batch 5.6% red IPA called The Red Garter. Penultimately was another special batch – a never-to-be-seen-again brown ale that Mark came up with using leftover ingredients from other brews. Lastly was 21 Feet 7 Inches – a 5.2% porter. It was a brew day so there was a fair bit going on. I just hope that I didn’t impose!
A question that NBCo employee, Fernando, was pumping Mark with while I was there was “Which beer are we going to sell more kegs of?” Obviously, there isn’t a correct answer to that and Mark responded with “Who knows?!” My thoughts are that people will visit and want to try all of the beers on offer. Once the dust settles and once a Queensland summer announces it hot and humid arrival, my money is on the mid-strength or the pale ale turning over the fastest. They are both extremely sessionable beers. I’ll hold back on naming my favourite until after Two to the Valley IPA has graced my palate.
I’m stringing this piece on NBCo out over two parts. Part two will follow next week once I’ve witnessed NBCo in action because….Saturday’s launch coincides with the date that Mrs 250 Beers and I had allocated for a night out. It has been in the diary for some weeks and the babysitter is booked. Guess where we’re heading? Yep, Newstead and Teneriffe. Beer crawl ahoy!
If you see us on Saturday evening in Green Beacon, NBCo or Tippler’s Tap come and say hi.