Another week, another brewery in a warehouse. Dainton Family Brewery looks much like its predecessors – high ceilings, hardy steel furniture, dozens of beer taps and a food truck out front on weekends.
It took a while to get here, though. It was seven years ago that owner Dan Dainton first asked his old man, Kevin, to help him open a brewery.
“He wasn’t convinced,” Dainton says. “He said, ‘I don’t think you know anything about making beer and the market.’ I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’ So I went and started a brewing course at Federation University in Ballarat.”
By 2013 he’d left his first gig at James Squire to start brewing at Holgate in Woodend. “By that time, Kev was coming back to me and saying, ‘This craft beer thing’s doing really well. I think we should start our own brewery.’”
Dainton started by nomad brewing around town – that is, using other breweries’ spare tanks to make his own beers. His first-ever release, the biscuit-y, copper-hued Red Eye Rye is on tap at Carrum Downs, albeit made to a slightly different recipe.
“We eventually found Carrum Downs after looking just about everywhere in Victoria,” Dainton says. “We looked at old pubs, wineries, industrial places. All around Melbourne, outside of Melbourne. We looked in Milawa. We thought about Shepparton, Echuca, Bendigo, all up the Yarra Valley.”
You get the feeling Dainton didn’t really care where it happened. Just that it happened. Now he doesn’t have to keep learning other people’s equipment or brew to their deadlines. “We’re really excited about being able to make beers the way we want to make them,” he says.
Current pours include Samurye lager, which mixes rice, barley and rye in the boil; Insane Uncle IPA; and Cherry Sack Attack, a sweetish ale which uses real cherry juice and according to the tasting notes, “absolutely no sack”.
But in this weather, it’s hard to go past the Black Sheep, an oatmeal stout (oats impart a smoother, fuller body), jazzed up with coffee; and the Bad Daughter choc-orange porter, which tastes exactly like Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
Like most breweries, it’s not a place to get legless. “It is called Dainton Family Brewery,” Dainton says. “We wanted to have something like what you see in Margaret River, WA, where families can come down throughout the day and have some food and relax.”
To that end there’s table tennis, live music on Fridays and Sundays, and plans to expand the 60-person capacity before summer.
Dainton Family Brewery
560 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Carrum Downs
(03) 9775 0334