Scott Robertson and Luke Nixon want to educate mainstream beer drinkers about craft beer. How do the plan on doing it? With Soapbox Beer, a 100-seat venue that tomorrow will become Fortitude Valley’s first brewpub.
“In terms of independent [craft-beer] brewers, we’re a small [percentage] of the total market,” Robertson says. “Our ethos is to educate mainstream beer drinkers about what we’re doing with beer, and the love and passion we are putting into it.”
Soapbox has been quite a journey for Robertson and Nixon. They took over an old Valley building – previously a dance studio – more than a year ago. The original intention was to open in June, but putting in new sewerage lines, electricity and water was trickier than first imagined due to the age of the property. Despite a six-month delay, Robertson and Nixon are thrilled about being the first brewery to open in the Valley.
“Other people have probably had this idea [to open a brewery in Fortitude Valley], but we got lucky with this spot,” Nixon says. “The Valley is a great spot for Soapbox.”
Inside, Soapbox has a dark, industrial look with the brewing equipment lining one side of the space. There’s a heap of timber, most of which was originally taken out but then repurposed during the fit-out. While much has changed within the building, an old fire door remains as a divider for the functions space.
Soapbox’s head brewer is Greg James, who was tasked with turning Robertson and Nixon’s home-brew recipes into large-scale productions. In total, the brewery has six fermenting tanks and a 2000-litre brewing capacity.
There are currently eight beers on tap including five core beers (mid-strength dark ale, kolsch, American amber ale, IPA and pale ale) and a few rotationals such as a porter and a biscuit ale. There’s also a guest cider tap, as well as a short wine and spirits menu.
The menu is made up of share plates and mains, many of which feature beer. There are dishes such as beer-brined chicken wings, Wagyu beef cubes with beer mustard, potato curry croquettes with a pale-ale vindaloo sauce, and 250-gram Wagyu rump with porter-onion gravy.
For Robertson and Nixon, Soapbox is an instrument for them to talk about things they are passionate about.
“[The phrase] getting on your soapbox is about having something to say,” Robertson says. “Talking about things that are important to us as a business, like raising the awareness about [craft] beer and our love of it.”
89 Gipps Street, Fortitude Valley
Wed to Sun 11am–midnight