Alchemy Brewing is a new 16-tap brewery-bar on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, but it’s for more than just hop-hunters and lager-lovers.
Pim Muter launched Alchemy a few weeks ago in the former Clegs fabric store, which opened in the 1920s (it closed in 2018). He brews all the beer in a 500-litre set-up tucked out the back, but you can’t see it from outside. Peer through the front windows you’ll simply see a stripped-back warehouse bar with pitched timber ceilings, concrete floors, a few plants and a pool table.
“I didn’t want this to be an exclusively craft-beer-focused venue,” says Muter, who co-owns Alchemy with business partner Sam Percy. “I want to be a nice little neighbourhood hangout, where anyone can come and feel there’s something for them. It’s why I tucked the brewery away in the corner. I could’ve put it in the window.”
This thinking reflects a growing trend – brewpubs are becoming places to drink more than craft beer, though Alchemy is doing it on a smaller scale than Moon Dog World or Bodriggy. Expect a modern wine list with a few hazy, minimal-intervention drops from Das Juice and Brave New Wine, and an amaro spritz on tap.
But despite this wide net, the beer isn’t easily overshadowed. For more than 12 years – while working as a barista at cafes including Wide Open Road and St Ali – Muter honed his home-brew skills, and it’s this breezy, approachable feel that informs the tap selection at Alchemy.
A straightforward Aussie pale ale began life as a home-brew, as did a smashable mid-strength IPA that’s no slouch in the hops department. Muter says those two tend to sell out, so he subs in easy drinkers from nearby Thunder Road in Brunswick on occasion. There’s also a crisp pilsner, a rye IPA and a dark, robust porter.
Down the line, the back of the warehouse will become a kitchen (Muter is still tossing up between Mexican or Indian street food), but for the time being a small bar kitchen is turning out cheese, charcuterie and toasties – right now there’s one with ham, cheese and tomato, and another with haloumi, olive and tomato that can be made vegan. There are gluten-free options, too.
396 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Wed & Thu 3pm–11pm