What happens when a group of high profile sport, business and entertainment personalities get together over their unanimous love of craft beer?
Brick Lane Brewing Co is what happens.
Founded by Paul Bowker and Andrew Scrimgeour in 2017 the company also boasts shareholders such as Melbourne Storm chairman Bart Campbell and star Billy Slater, All Black’s legend Dan Carter, Eddie McGuire, Mick Molloy and restaurateur Shane Delia, and CEO of The Royal Bank of Scotland Ross McEwan to name but a few of the 30ish companies and individuals on the share register.
They managed to entice Jon Seltin, who was head brewer at Hawkers Beer, and formally at Bright Brewery (bloody brilliant beers by the way) to join as head brewer and a minor shareholder, and decided to start contract brewing to get their Brick Lane beers on the market as soon as possible.
The eclectic group then managed to scrape together the funds to set up a rather large 5000 square meter, five vessel 50 hectolitre German made Braukon brewhouse system, with production facilities, canning and bottling facilities, a taproom and hospitality space to host events and festivals in Dandenong South, Victoria. The system finally went online in early 2018, with an annual capacity of 10 million litres of beer, and a possible expansion to 25 million litres of beer, per annum. This gives Brick Lane not just the ability to brew their own range of award winning beers, but also offer brewing and packaging services to the wider brewing community, as they do with Coles and its “Tinnies” range of beers.
This new site gave the brewers a whole new set of toys to play with, a state of the art facility that has been engineered from the ground up with energy, costs and downtime front of mind. To reduce energy consumption the system reclaims energy from kettle vapour and minimises waste streams. Brick Lane is the first independent Australian brewery to adopt cross-flow filtration technology. It’s a system that, by using ceramic membranes rather than a filter medium, allows for very long filtering cycles without the use of chemical additives, reducing energy and water usage and improves beer quality. It also has the huge added benefit in cost savings and no lack of downtime as there is need to use non-renewable filtration aids like diatomaceous earth. And trust me when I say it’s a significant cost saving as up until recently we had a DE filter on the pool, and out cost savings since changing, not just in money and time, but also the filtration quality has been quite remarkable.
Brick Lane Brewing Co. started with two beers, a helles lager and a pale ale, and quickly expanded to add a red ale to their line-up. In Jon Seltin the brewery has gained a brewer who knows his game, at this year’s 2019 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) his brews took five medals (and a sixth bronze for Best Labels), combined with a sales and marketing team that are on top of their game, and at price points that help us save our pennies in this crazy priced craft world, Brick Lane Brewing Co. will be a name to watch.
A couple to try:
Brick Lane Brewing Co. Base Lager – same recipe, new name for their Helles lager and a Silver at this year’s AIBA, clear pale straw colour with a small white head in the glass, grainy and floral on the nose, the Hallartau hop giving it some solid bitterness on the tongue with those malted grains showing through, well balanced and very sessionable. 4.4%ABV
Brick Lane Brewing Co. One Love Pale Ale – am I the only one that can hear Bono and U2 in their head from the name? Another Silver winner at the AIBA’s. It’s built as an English Summer styled pale ale, so it’s a bit more restrained than the brash American styled pales out there, it’s more soft and delicate in its flavour profiles with some tangy stone fruit, pine and citrus, with a slight haze in it the colour. 4.4%ABV
Brick Lane Brewing Co. Red Hoppy Ale – red ales are one of my favourite beers to pour into a glass and look at the colours, they often look viscous and you can almost see what flavours will be there from the colour, light caramels and toffees in this case, with a bite of green hops, with just a touch of sweetness peeking through in the finish. 5.3% ABV
Brick Lane Brewing Co. 2019 Harvest Lager – available only on tap at selected venues. Lager used to be a dirty word in craft brewing but that is changing with brews like this, 60kgs of fresh, row selected Melba hops from Ellerslie Hop Farms were rushed back to the brewery to be thrown into this brew, the choice to do this with a lager means that the hops are front and centre in the flavour profiles. Its citrus and stone fruit driven, maybe a little sauv blanc-ish, but utterly drinkable and worth searching for. 5%ABV