Bruny Island Beer Co. started with a conversation between a cheese maker and a brewer. Nick Haddow, founder of Bruny Island Cheese Co., and Evan Hunter, formerly of Seven Sheds, Moo Brew and Lark Distillery, designed the brewery around a shared enthusiasm for fermentation and regionally distinctive, artisan produce. The brewery was built behind the cheesery in Great Bay, Bruny Island and our first beer was released in February 2016.
We craft beers that are inspired by Tasmania's people, places and produce. Locally grown ingredients and an eye towards Tasmania’s seasons and sensibilities guide us down an unconventional path. Our goal is to create intrinsically Tasmanian flavours, and the rare opportunities for collaboration offered by a brewery and cheesery operating right next to each other are explored in the production of both the beers and cheeses.
The unique brewhouse has been built to Evan's specifications using recycled dairy equipment sourced from local farms. While we maximise the quality and consistency of our product with a mix of old and modern technology, we practise a simple approach to brewing – one that harks back to older methods of making and maturing beer. We brew in small batches and lift, tip and stir everything by hand.
All our beers are open fermented, bottle conditioned and free from preservatives.The best place to sample our beer, cheese and woodfired sourdough bread is sitting in the gentle sea breeze on the deck under the trees at our cellar door in Great Bay, Bruny Island.
Cloudy Bay IPA (available during summer)
Cloudy Bay IPA is our attempt to ‘Tasmanianise’ the diverse but typically hop forward beer style, India Pale Ale. The grain bill is simple – just Tasmanian Westminster pale malted barley and Bruny Island red wheat. The red wheat gives this beer a natural protein haze.
Cloudy Bay IPA honours the hop breeders of Hop Products Australia by featuring all six hop varieties currently available from Bushy Park Estates that have been developed in HPA's breeding program – Ella, Enigma, Galaxy, Helga, HPA-035 and Summer. As proprietary strains, these hops are grown only by HPA, at Bushy Park Estates in Tasmania and some of them at one other location in the Victorian highlands.
Gross amounts of HPA’s rare hops have been used in seven separate additions during the brewing process, creating a heady blend of citrus, tropical fruit and herbal aromas. A restrained bitterness allows the earthy tartness of the red wheat to shine through, accentuating the tangy hop flavours.
Cloudy Bay IPA is great paired with Raw Milk C2, our famous cooked curd raw cow’s milk cheese.
Farm Ale is a proper Tasmanian ale made entirely with Tasmanian grain, hops and water. Our flagship session ale is pale golden and naturally hazy, with its dominant hop character balanced by a silky texture and sweet, nutty undertones.
The foundation of this truly local ale is Westminster barley grown on farms in the Tasmanian midlands, oats from Kindred Organics in the coastal hills of the North-West and red wheat from fields overlooking the D'Entrecasteaux Channel just up the road from us on Bruny Island. The earthy flavour and subtle, refreshing tartness of the wheat are particularly important to the character of Farm Ale.
Generous amounts of Helga, Ella and Cascade hops grown in the Derwent Valley contribute tropical fruit and citrus notes and a refreshing bitterness. Dry hopping (steeping hops in the beer post-fermentation) gives Farm Ale its characteristic freshness.
Farm Ale pairs well with 1792, our stinky washed-rind cow's milk cheese.
Oxymoron is our signature dark ale – or is it a pale ale disguised as a dark? Does it matter if you drink it with your eyes closed? Either way, Oxymoron is both a refreshing dark ale for summer and a rich ‘pale’ ale for winter. Its qualities may shine brightest during a Tasmanian summer snowstorm, or a clear, sunny winter’s day.
Our dark pale ale displays a luscious texture with spice and cocoa notes from a generous addition of malted rye. Malt characters are balanced by hop aromatics from large additions of Tasmanian-grown Willamette, Cascade, Enigma and Galaxy hops late in the brewing process
Oxymoron pairs well with C2, our famous cooked curd cow's milk cheese.
Lighthouse Ale is a low alcohol amber ale named after the famous Cape Bruny Lighthouse, which has stood on the edge of the wild Southern Ocean since 1838.
Biscuity malt flavours are balanced by firm bitterness, while late additions of three Tasmanian aromatic hop varieties – Galaxy, Willamette and Cascade - deliver subtle fruity and floral notes. This is a beer lover's light beer; packed with flavour.
Try with Tom, our semi-hard cow's milk cheese.
Whey Stout is inspired by the medicinal 'milk' stouts of Victorian England – enriched with lactose (refined milk sugar), they were prescribed for a wide range of ailments.
In our case, getting the lactose involves carrying nearly 400 litres of cow's milk whey left over from making Raw Milk C2 to the brew kettle, 50 metres from the cheesery. Our ale yeast cannot digest the whey's lactose, meaning that it remains in the beer after fermentation and adds texture and sweetness.
Whey Stout has a full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel and tastes smooth and roasty, with a slightly sweet, milk chocolate finish and just a hint of bitterness. It is our first beer made in collaboration with Bruny Island Cheese Co.
For a great time, pair with Saint, our soft, white mould, cow's milk cheese.
2017 FRESH HOP HARVEST ALE –
Double wheat IPA 9.1% a/v
During March this year, the otherwise sleepy village of Bushy Park in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley became a hive of activity. It was the 152nd harvest at Bushy Park Estates, home to Australia’s largest and oldest hop farm and hop breeding laboratory. Our 2017 Fresh Hop Harvest Ale uses two hop varieties developed and grown on this farm, Enigma and Ella. Our hops were picked from the bines and bypassed the acres of kilning floors, to instead be packed fresh, green and moist and brought immediately to Bruny Island. We brewed with them the following day. March was also harvest time for another crop we love at Bruny Island Beer Co. – raw, red wheat, grown on North Bruny overlooking the waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to the west and Storm Bay to the east. The beer we made brings together the two harvests in the form of a double strength, Tasmanian IPA. Deep hop character redolent of ripe peach, passionfruit and melon is balanced against caramelised malt sugars, a touch of wheat acidity and a tangy, restrained bitterness. Perhaps it’s a case of rawness complementing rawness, but for whatever reason, you need to try this beer with C2: Raw Milk Reserve, the extra aged, one year old version of our famous cooked curd, raw cow’s milk cheese.
Metric Stout (released September 2016)
Metric Stout is a post-imperial stout - the biggest, densest, richest beer we have made. It is jet black and viscous, with a finely beaded brown head of foam. The aroma is earthy, inflected with campfire ash, malt and bitter chocolate. These characteristics are enhanced in the flavour as the textural components of the beer come into play; rich and syrupy, it coats the mouth.
Metric Stout has been maturing in bottle since May 2016 and will respond well to careful cellaring for a year or more. It is presented in a 750mL wax dipped bottle with a vintage dated label.
Metric Stout pairs well with pungent washed rind cheeses.
Paddock Ale (released December 2016)
Paddock Ale is inspired by the Belgian farmhouse brewing tradition of crafting beers that vary according to the regional availability and characteristics of various kinds of grain, hops, yeast and water. This strong, dry ale showcases the best of Tasmanian malted barley, organic oats and Bruny Island red wheat, enhanced with Wellington Apiary’s Hobart Wildflower honey, Bushy Park hops and Bruny Island spring water.
The Belgian strain of yeast used to ferment Paddock Ale was chosen for its ability to finish very dry, resulting in a beer appropriate for warmer weather and summer food. Fruit and spice notes produced by the yeast during fermentation provide a complementary depth to the interplay of grain, hops and honey.
The label features a photo of the wheat that we used in this ale, growing in a paddock overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel just prior to harvest in February.
Paddock Ale is complemented beautifully by George, our mature, savoury cow’s milk cheese.
First Anniversary– Braggot
Braggot is an ancient style of honey and malted barley ale with its origins in the Celtic brewing cultures of the British Isles. We have chosen this style to commemorate our first anniversary of brewing in order to showcase the distinctive regional flavours of Tasmanian honey and barley.
Our First Anniversary braggot is made from equal parts Tasmanian pale malted Westminster barley and Meander Valley Clover honey from Wellington Apiary. Very lightly hopped, it is the same deep gold colour as the honey it is made from. Carbonation is low. Rich, floral honey aromas intertwine with bready malt, like honey smeared on a warm loaf straight out of the oven.
Extended tank maturation and bottle conditioning prior to release have helped smooth out this exceptionally strong yet surprisingly easy drinking beer, with cellaring potential for many years to come. First Anniversary is best served at cellar temperature in a drinking horn, preferably in front of an open fire with some pungent cheese.