Home-brewing is a good hobby for making friends: there’s plenty of idle time for chat, and you’re never short on drinks. The two couples behind Co-Conspirators Brewing Co met this way at Merri Mashers, an amateur brewers’ club in Melbourne’s inner north, and quickly built a loyal following with their hop-forward beers.
Five years after launching the brand, the group opened this, their first taproom. The soaring warehouse and small-ish rear courtyard is licensed for 195 people. Twenty-four taps pour the brand’s numerous hop-driven beers, plus sours, stouts, Bodriggy hard seltzer and Noisy Ritual wines. Past highlights include a 3.5 per cent ABV saison; the Wheelman, a vibrant raspberry sour; and the Matriarch, one of the earliest and best hazy IPAs/NEIPAs in the country.
The building itself, a historic engineering workshop that forged some of Melbourne’s early tramlines, took 18 months to find but “ticked every box”. The two couples remodelled the long, narrow space with help from local outfit We Are Humble, creating vague laneways with little nooks and enclaves for secretive chats.
The 12,000-litre brewhouse, managed by ex-Hawkers brewer Olmo Maud, sits among it all, a deliberate focal point rather than being hidden up the back. It brews exclusively for the taproom, while Co-Conspirators’ packaged beers are produced off-site.