Torrential rain on Sunday 13th May didn’t prevent a great turnout at the Thunder Road Brewing Company’s Open House in Brunswick, one of Melbourne’s grungy northern suburbs.
Thunder Road commenced brewing in March 2011 and this was their first Open House, although they did hold a similar Family Day back in October last year. It was an opportunity for punters to experience food and beer matchings, a brewery tour and a curry competition, which saw Japanese Vegetarian take the honours over Indian Lamb (our favourite), Aussie Fish and Kiwi Beef.
There was also a chance to test out (several times in our case) a limited release of XXX IPA, which was on offer alongside their Richmond Pilsner (Thunder Road’s entry to the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular) and their year round beers, Full Steam Pale Lager and Brunswick Bitter.
The suburb of Brunswick is a classic example of a traditionally working class, migrant area that has turned bohemian. Whilst Australia lacks the college town factor that has been instrumental in the success of the craft beer industry in the States, Brunswick has a similarly strong sense of community and identity. Thunder Road reflects these values, as demonstrated by the kids’ entertainment on offer at the Open House and their growler re-fill system – you can drop in during opening hours (10am-6pm weekdays) in order to fill your 1890mL glass flagon directly from the vat.
It’s clear from speaking to the founder, Philip, that the Thunder Road team are dedicated to producing quality beer – he told us that he had visited over 80 breweries in a fortnight whilst carrying out research in the States, as well as travelling to other countries, including Belgium and the Czech Republic.
The converted warehouse is an impressive space and we definitely recommend swinging by and trying what they have to offer from the 30 taps behind the bar. As a well-known beer writer once said to us, the best beer comes straight from the source…