Some might find it insurmountable to brew beer commercially without a brewery. Not Mike Clarke.
“We’ve been gypsy brewing since late 2016,” says Clarke, one half of the husband-and-wife team that owns Sauce Brewing Co. “A gypsy brewer is a brewer without a home. We make our beer at another brewery to get ourselves in the market. At the same time we’re building our brewery, tap room and bar.”
For its home, Sauce Brewing Co has chosen a Marrickville industrial space across from the Bourke Street Bakery. Breweries are so ubiquitous in the inner west some of the bigger players like Wayward in Camperdown and Young Henrys in Newtown have formed the Inner West Brewers Association to lobby government about issues that affect small breweries.
Gypsy brewing is going well for Clarke and his wife, Kate McBean, while they’re building the space. You can find cans of Sauce beer in bars and bottle shops up the east coast, and as far south west as Adelaide.
Why cans? “The old misconception that cans are for cheap, horrible piss is gone,” says Clarke. “Cans are actually better than bottles for beer. They don’t let light or oxygen in.”
While Sauce is gypsy brewing, it’s making three core beers. “Hop Sauce is an easy-drinking pale ale. It’s aromatic with lots of hops, but not over the top.” says Clarke.
Extra Hop Sauce is a fruity West Coast IPA, and the Saucy Red is a rye malt beer with a peppery finish. When the bar is open, Clarke plans to have six core beers on tap plus two or three special batches.
For now the space is a construction site, with tall, shiny tanks installed, but Clarke has grand visions. Every tank is spaced so it can be replaced with a double tank and they’ll build a packaging line that can handle large volumes. He also plans to host other small brewers.
Out back will be the only brewery beer garden in the inner west. Like many of its contemporaries, Sauce will host a rotation of food trucks. “I’m a sucker for really greasy burgers. The kind of food that goes well with beer,” he says.
Sauce Brewing Co will open on 1a Mitchell Street, Marrickville in August.