Watching Andrew sling a load of full kegs into the back of the brewery van I sit and think about his back and wonder if he would trade the challenges of building his brewery for the old days of marketing for a large brewer where it was less about moving actual beer than it was about selling it. I don’t have to wonder long, the look on his face provides the answer. A grimace that you know is from physical exertion, mixed with stress of needing to be someplace he can’t right now are both outplayed by a smile when he closes the door and heads towards the bar where I am.
Just over twelve months in and both Andrew and Chris, along with their growing team of brewers and bar staff are showing signs of a confident swagger. Beer was always meant to be for these guys, although coming to it from different angles, both have pivoted their lives away from careers working for others and focused their energies to brewing. The name says it all, Batch Brewing – and when you speak with Chris, the driver of the brewery operations (and former finance guy) their philosophy is clearly understood. Brew smaller batches, more often and give beer drinkers more choice.
Housed in a former smash repair workshop, the brewery is a fine example of how to best set up and utilise a brew house. Having expanded their capacity within their first 12 months, and seeing their beers on more taps around Sydney, signs are strong that this team are here to stay and are keen to be drivers of the Sydney Local Beer scene. One telling sign for us (and we see it a lot) is the regular crowd of locals who frequent the brewery. Today, I’m in early before the doors open, and have prime position to watch the crowd enter the bar, eagerly checking the menu for what’s pouring. I love seeing people ponder the range and hear their comments about how great it is to have so much choice.
A line of taps, splendid with their American style wooden handles provide a changing range of beers, with their American Pale Ale sitting firmly in the middle as their core beer. Not satisfied with what for a start-up brewery would be considered a strong range, the team has recently started offering even smaller batches of embellished beers. You can imagine what’s to come from this.. Chipotle Rye Ales, Chocolate Stouts and Herbaceous IPA’s. Chris has a keen palate and adventurous spirit when it comes to brewing, combining to offer some “get it before it’s gone” goodness that will surely generate excitement with beer fans and locals alike.
Whilst their APA is becoming the beer they’re best known for outside of the brewery, anyone who has been to the brewery itself and tried one of their Nitro Milk Stouts would surely agree that Batch Brewing are leading the way with Nitro in Sydney. A tightly held secret, Chris and Andrew smile when I mention this and humbly point me towards one of their brewers, Topher who they proudly and readily credit as being the mastermind behind the recipe and development.
So with their brewery firmly placed within Sydney’s Local Beer scene and a siren song for locals, it’s easy to understand Andrew when he says, he’s tired, but happy. With a shake of my hand, he leaves Chris and I behind at the bar to talk more and he heads out to the van on a mission to deliver more beer. I watch him go over Chris’s shoulder and smile to myself as he rubs his back, he may be tired, but’s he’s smiling and that is what it’s all about.