An industrial corner in the backstreets of Thebarton is home to Brightstar Brewing, a Central European-inspired brewery and taphouse. After stints in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore, Megan and Gareth Parker (with their three kids in tow) set about transforming the former Adelaide University laboratories into a welcoming brewpub in 2019.
Megan already had family connections to the former Adelaide Uni site. The warehouse was once owned by FH Faulding & Co, a pharmaceutical company founded in Adelaide, where Megan’s grandmother and aunt both worked. That connection, along with the building’s open trusses, original floorboards and robust windows made it an alluring base for their family-friendly brewery.
The spacious venue has decking overlooking a conveniently licensed park out front, set on the banks of the Torrens. It also features a spacious tasting room – designed by Studio-Gram – with a glass wall, allowing guests to peer into where the magic happens and observe head brewer Steve Brockman at work. You might see him using traditional European techniques such as spunding – a natural carbonation process to make the bubbles in the beer small, creating a creamier mouthfeel – and longer lagering time, to achieve a more balanced and refined beer.
But you don’t have to be into age-old or niche techniques to enjoy Brightstar. The Parkers want to cater to everybody – no matter their knowledge or palate – and the breadth of beers reflects that mission, with brews filed under “sour and tart”, “crisp and clean”, “malty and sweet”, “fruit and spice”, “dark and roasty” and “hoppy and bitter”.
There’s also a focus on classic Central-European styles such as the nutty and sweet altbier, the schwarzbier, a dark German lager; the light and crisp helles; and the tart Berliner weisse – served out of 1200-litre and 2400-litre brite tanks.
Beyond the pints and tasting paddles, Brightstar also offers brewed seltzers and house-distilled gin made with hops, which gives it a hint of grapefruit, citrus and peach. There’s also beer-focused cocktails, such as the crowd-favourite Heavenly Delight featuring the Belgian white (a witbier) with Brightstar gin, orange and lime juice and elderflower syrup.
Pair your drink with charcuterie and cheese boards, Little Acre pate, Coriole olives or mixed beer nuts, or a bowl of soup with quesadilla-style flatbreads. But most can’t go past the bestselling Reuben sandwiches.
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