Sleepy, bucolic Bulimba may not be the most obvious place for a new brewpub, but for long-time local and Malt Brewing Co co-owner Jay Neven, it always had to be here. “I love this suburb,” he says. “I’ve had family in the area for three generations. I just think it’s really special.”
It has certainly added something different to the Oxford Street strip. Malt Brewing Co opened on the weekend after a two-year gestation period that began with Neven home brewing in his backyard. He wanted to scale up to a commercial operation, so like any young Australian with frothy dreams he turned to his mates – Tony Maitland, Mick Brown, Dave Claughton, Matt Flexman and Mark Herod. “It was a big venture,” he says. “I have some really great friends [so] I approached a couple of them and then it just grew from there.”
The result is an astroturfed beer garden fronting a small warehouse operation where the brewing equipment is front and centre. “The idea [of] having the brewery there out the front was that people would ask questions,” Neven says, giving the sense that he’s interested in more than just slinging brews.
This carries over to the full tasting notes present on the menus and chipper bartenders who talk you through their recommendations. You’ll need the assistance: with 12 taps on hand, Malt offers a core range of beers alongside seasonal rotations as well as some ring-ins, including a Paradise Saison from No Shoes Brews.
Currently the team, led by brewer Matt Cuthbert (previously of Sydney’s Rocks Brewing Company), is working through its first five brews, with a cider on its way. It’s all richly flavoured, imaginatively named stuff, including the Oxford New World Pale Ale; the Shipwright Lager – a nod to the rich history of boat builders in the area; and the Dark Storm oatmeal stout, named for the storms that seemed to roll in every time the team was tinkering with the brew.
As well as craft beer, Malt is putting on a selection of woodfired pizzas by chef Chris Barnett. “He cooks every ingredient in that oven, the bacon, the chicken,” Neven says. “The lamb is slow-roasted overnight [in the leftover coals]. The dough recipe is a traditional Italian recipe … just flour, yeast and water and it ferments off the natural sugars in there.”
Takeaway pizzas are also available, best paired with a 940-millilitre tinny of your choice. “You can [either] come here and wrap yourself up in what we’re doing,” Neven says. “Or, if you’re tired, you can just come by and get a takeaway of a big tinny and a pizza.”
Malt Brewing Co
41 Oxford Street, Bulimba
Wed to Fri 3pm–10pm
Sat & Sun 12pm–10pm