In its natural, fresh state, I would argue that beer is the beverage most profoundly connected to and expressive of place, or its ‘terroir’. Each of the essential constituents of beer – water, malt (and other grains), hops (and other herbal bitters) and yeast, are concurrently critical to the flavour profile of the end product, and marked uniquely by the climate, geography and cultures from which they spring. Modern technologies, techniques and laboratories have somewhat blurred those lines back to place.
To me, some of the best beers in the world are those that intentionally or inadvertently untangle those strands and simplify those connections. Those, that in the simple act of imbibing them, transport the reflective drinker to the unique places on this earth and into the creative minds and cultures whence they came.
Which leads us to part of the answer to our question: Why brew on an Island? Some other parts of that answer are obvious if you are lucky enough to have visited Straddie. To have watched whales migrating just off the coast at Point Lookout, waded into the tranquil waters of Myora Springs just as the high tide turns, thrown a line in off the rocks at Amity, watched the sunset over Moreton Bay from Dunwich, or gone bush with the 4WD and beach camped for a week or two at Jumpinpin. We are choosing to make our home on Straddie because it is a beautiful place of pristine beaches, clear sunny skies, fresh-water lakes, abundant wildlife, and a tranquil lifestyle. There are other reasons however, one of which you will hear us talking about a lot – the Sand-filtered Water.
The island sits peacefully atop a water aquifer of excellent quality, especially for brewing. Beer is mostly water, more than 90-95% for most beers, so the flavour, mineral profile and overall quality of the water used in brewing is paramount. This soft, pristine sand-filtered water is a perfect base to build our beers on. I imagine you have probably heard of food and beverage pairings; we are pairing our beers to places. That we can draw the core base for those beers from the unique water source that supplies the places after which they are named is exciting and inspiring. It is also one of the reasons we never had plans to brew our beers anywhere other than at our brewery, built on Straddie.
“you have probably heard of food and beverage pairings; we are pairing our beers to places.”
You can probably guess what happened next…
Cue the global COVID-19 pandemic and all of the implications for hospitality, tourism locally and internationally, and ultimately a temporary travel ban to the island for all non-residents (which has thankfully since been lifted). We have been developing our beers for almost nine months and our plans for the brewery for more than two years. Suddenly, our 2020 Opening was thrown out completely.
Now when I’ve had a tough day, I find enjoying a delicious fresh, flavoursome and refreshing beer can be a great way to unwind and relax. I think you will agree, that this pandemic qualifies as more than just a tough day; so we thought it called for more than just one beer. We decided to find a temporary home from which to brew our beers and in doing so, begin to share the island stories and places they pay homage to with those eager to join our journey.
I think you will agree, that this pandemic qualifies as more than just a tough day; so we thought it called for more than just one beer.
Ballistic Beer Company on the south side of Brisbane were our first choice and luckily for us, they were happy to share some tank space and help us start bringing our beers to market. They have a well-earned reputation of making award winning beers of exceptional quality and have the water treatment (reverse osmosis) equipment necessary to create a good representation of the water profile we will eventually be brewing with on Straddie.
As an added pleasure, they’re a team of really great guys and gals who share our love of brewing good beer. We will brew our beers a batch at a time, whenever there is some brewery space to spare, and plan to make them available online, direct from us to you. We’re also excited about the chance to partner with some island venues to bring a little taste of #straddiebeer to Straddie, so keep an eye out for our logo and our beers when you next visit.
Our first batch is Point Lookout Lager, an old-world Pilsener with a full malt body, floral noble hops and a clean, firm finish. Just in time to watch the whales from Point Lookout as they migrate north for the winter.
Cheers to that!