Mirek Aldridge has been brewing beer for 10 years. He started out with a 70-litre homebrew set-up and a small hand-cranked Corona grain mill, which is where his new venue, The Mill Brewery, gets its name.
Aldridge opened the Mill in late March and has upsized from his early brewing days to a 600-litre system. The move hasn’t changed his process, though.
“Everybody says … whatever you know about homebrewing is not going to be relevant [when you open a brewery]. Well that’s false,” Aldridge says. “The way that you form and scale a recipe to this level is different, but that’s just something you figure out.”
He still uses his homebrew kit to experiment with small batches before committing to a larger run.
The main beer selection consists of a vanilla porter, a black IPA and an easy-drinking American pale ale. It’s backed up by two taps that will feature a guest beer and cider and a small wine list that features local and international drops.
The Mill is small, housed in a warehouse space on a quiet road near Smith Street. Long red-gum tables and the bar occupy most of the room. All of the brewing equipment is visible at the back.
Aldridge spent more than five years looking for the right spot. After signing the lease last year he did the fit-out himself and he’s still the only main employee.
The focus is on keeping the taproom stocked for the moment, and others are handling the snacks – there’s a different food truck parked out the front each day the brewery is open, which so far is only Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Mill joins a constellation of bars, breweries and bottle shops in the Fitzroy and Collingwood area, and Aldridge is excited to be a part of the community.
“There’s going to be a brewery here and a brewery there, Craft & Co around the corner, Stomping Ground just there,” he says. “Then obviously, all the sweet pubs on Smith Street … I think it’s the best.”
The Mill Brewery
40 Sackville Street, Collingwood
Sat & Sun 12pm–11pm