Josh Warren previously used a forklift to collect his pallets of grain from the back of delivery trucks. Now he needs a crane. Those are the logistical challenges when you’re head brewer at Valley Hops Brewing, Katarzyna Group’s fabulous new rooftop brewpub.

“We’ve got this nice little flow going now, though,” Warren says, laughing. “If you’d asked me five years ago if I’d ever use a crane in my life, I would’ve laughed at you, but there you go.”

Valley Hops opened in late November on a sixth-floor rooftop above Cloudland, right in the heart of the Valley. It’s an intricately designed 800-square-metre space of stone, stained glass, timber and brick, the defining feature a metal arbour with creeping vines. There’s also a distinctive outlook towards the CBD and the Story Bridge.

It’s a beautiful space, but Katarzyna hasn’t phoned in the brewery component. Warren is ex-Green Beacon, and is overseeing a 15-hectolitre brewery and 200-litre pilot kit that’s feeding 36 beer taps. The core range includes a crisp mid-strength lager, a tropical ale, a pale ale, a sour, a West Coast-style IPA, and a hazy IPA. It’s backed by seasonal and special release beers, and collaborations with other brewers such as Stone & Wood.

“I’m pretty lucky to have the pilot kit so I’ve just been doing anything and everything that comes to mind,” Warren says. “So at the moment we’ve got a dragon fruit and lychee Berliner weisse … I’ve also taken a little bit of inspiration from what they brewed over at Stone & Wood, and brewed a witbier with the classic orange and coriander, but also a bit of juniper in there as well.”

For food, everything is designed to be consumed with one hand so you can sink a beer with the other. There’s a selection of woodfired pizza with classics such as margherita, capricciosa and diavola alongside some more unusual creations that include the norcina (cream, truffle, porcini mushroom, sausage, parsley and pepper) and the gamberi e zucchine (saffron cream, prawns, zucchini and cherry tomatoes). Elsewhere, there are lamb shoulder flatbreads, whole grilled king prawns, spicy octopus skewers, and salt-and-vinegar chicken wings. There are also cheese and prosciutto boards for those who prefer to graze.

A prized inner-city rooftop space like this would typically scream cocktail bar. But Katarzyna has arguably gone a more audacious route in building a serious brewpub in the middle of the Valley – it’s a place that, despite its nightlife, was a little slow on the craft beer uptake.

“The group never takes the easy road,” Warren says. “I think they asked themselves what’s new and fun for the Valley, but what’s familiar at the same time. Brewpub was number one on the list.

“I’m excited to show people a bit more back-of-house, with brewery tours and the like … There’s a bunch of places in the Valley where you can go and get a craft beer but this is somewhere where it’s so congested and it’s city and we’re somehow pulling it off. I’d like to think people are pleasantly surprised by what’s going on here.”

Valley Hops Brewing
641 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3852 5000

Hours:
Mon & Tue 4pm–12am
Wed to Sun 11.30am–9.30pm

valleyhopsbrewing.com.au