Brewmaster Charles “Chuck” Hahn has been making beer for 53 years, but he still swears by the test batch – even for those classics he’s made thousands of times.

“We use a home-brew kit called a Grainfather to test out recipes,” Chuck tells Broadsheet. “If you go full scale and it doesn’t turn out right, 1500 litres is a lot of beer to dump. If you make a mistake with 20 litres, that’s okay.”

The Grainfather set-up is at the back of Hahn’s new brewery and taproom, Chuck & Son’s Brewing Co, which he’s opened with his son Scott Hahn. It’s an elegant, 700-square-metre industrial space in St Peters, fitted out with rows of tall stainless steel tanks, a 10-metre-long timber bar, a rooftop patio with a view of the trains going by, and reclaimed German copper dome kettles in the back bar (lovingly polished to a high shine).

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Chuck began his career in 1971 at Coors in Colorado before moving to Sydney to work for Tooth Breweries. In 1988, he started Hahn Brewers, a microbrewery that was eventually sold to Lion Nathan Group where he worked as chief brewer. Hahn, James Squire, Kosciuszko and Malt Shovel are all Chuck’s handiwork.

Chuck & Son’s is the culmination of a half-century career in brewing and a close father-son relationship. “From when I was one, I was tasting the foam off Dad’s beer,” Scott says. “My dad has an enormous amount of experience in the industry, and an unfettered love for brewing. People call him the ‘godfather of craft beer’ in Australia.”

From the start, he’s been a proponent of traditional beer. That’s why at the new digs you won’t find limited-release brews “piling in lactose, sour fruit or doughnuts” on the menu.

“We’ll be doing classic-style lagers and ales that appeal to people,” Chuck says. “We are doing limited releases too, a combination of good hops and malted barleys from around the world.”

The core range will include an original pilsner, an American amber ale and the Two World Pale Ale, which pays tribute to Chuck’s American roots and his experience in Australia. A hazy IPA and west coast IPA will also be available, as well as a radler, an easy-drinking German lager that’s traditionally two parts beer, one part lemonade.

“Beer is all about the social atmosphere, getting together with friends,” Chuck says. “And food naturally goes with that. I was one of the first brewers to preside over beer dinners, where we did a menu with matched beers.”

Chuck & Son’s rooftop kitchen cooks up the perfect accompaniments to the family ales. There’s plenty of American-inspired fare like hotdogs with chilli con carne, prawn po’ boys, beef burgers and wings. Although the menu is casual, occasionally there will be those multi-course dinners with matched beers.

Will Chuck be there? “Of course. You’ve got to have the preacher,” he says.

Chuck & Son’s Brewing Co
Unit 3E-3F, 1–7 Unwins Bridge Road, St Peters

Thu 4pm–10pm
Fri & Sat midday–10pm
Sun midday–8pm