Deon, a Great Dane tall enough to have staring contests with most pre-teen children, is pacing around the smooth grey floors of Future Brewing. Looking perplexed, he slinks around high tables and stools, investigates noises outside, and sniffs a few visiting pooches before crumpling into a heap in a corner.
“He’s a bit of a homebody,” Laura Howard, co-owner of both Deon and Future Brewing, tells Broadsheet. “We’re just trying to slowly get him used to being here.”
Howard and her partner Brady Hannett are also adjusting to their new surroundings. Future has been their dream for years, and as of about eight weeks ago, it’s finally a reality.
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The pair met around 10 years ago. Hannett, an environmental scientist, was working in Perth, and Howard, originally from Dallas, Texas, had travelled for an Aussie summer in 2009 and never left. Thanks to WA breweries such as Feral, Hannett got bitten by the craft-beer bug and, given his background in science, figured he would be able to give home-brewing a go.
His beers turned out well, so he decided to start taking his hobby more seriously. Hannett joined the waitlist for the prestigious brewing program at UC Davis in Sacramento, California. In 2018, he got in, and the couple packed everything up and moved.
Sacramento is dense with high-quality craft breweries (picture a city-sized Marrickville), allowing Hannett to do plenty of “study” outside of class. Couple that with his intense course load and subsequent employment at a local brewery, and Hannett and Howard returned to Sydney confident they had what it took to open Future Brewing.
Covid, of course, meddled with their plans, and there were the usual hiccups involved with finding the right space. But Future’s in St Peters now, the taps are flowing, the cool room is cooling and the fridges are fully stocked.
Rock up to Future’s roller door and you’ll see two umbrellaed picnic tables with pretty views over Camdenville Park. Inside the mostly monochromatic warehouse space there are heaps of high tables as well as a line-up of seats along the long brushed-concrete bar.
Although there are 12 taps, Future has about six beers at the moment (if you’re not a beer drinker, there’s a handful of wines from P&V Wine & Liquor, too). Hannett has one brew kit and six 1000-litre fermenters to work with, so everything is small-batch and there’s no real core range.
“We don’t have a huge capacity, we’re just going to continually do different things,” he says. “If we do brew a beer multiple times it’ll always be tweaked somewhat – we’re always looking for different expressions and hop profiles.”
When Broadsheet visited, there were two West Coasts on tap – one pale, one IPA – as well as a pilsner, a hazy pale and a hazy IPA. Each was interesting, approachable and above all tasted fresh. That’s probably because most of these beers will never travel far – they’re kegged and then rolled to the cool room about five metres away, then they go to the bar, which is right next to the cool room.
“We’re planning on selling mostly out of the taproom and online, and don’t really have plans to wholesale,” Howard says. “We’re trying to stay small.”
Small they are. They are hiring, but right now Future’s two co-owners are also its only two employees. And there’s Deon, who plods around the room like a canine maître d’.
There’s no pie-in-the-sky dreams of global beer domination here, just a desire to sustainably make cracking beers for people in the area. “As much as it’s serious brewing we are just having fun with it,” Hannett says. “I want to brew beers that I enjoy and that others can too.”
82 May Street, St Peters
Fri & Sat midday–10pm