Attention local beer lovers of Canberra! Just when we thought the city couldn’t fit in another bar or hospo joint in this ‘cool little capital’ of ours, news has spread around the block that a brand-new bar will be opening in the city, next Friday 2 December.
Brought to us by Al Kirk, also known for Canberra’s smallest bar Hutch at the Hamlet, and Shai Lambert, Brew Nation is just about to fling its doors wide open in the iconic Sydney Building – perfectly timed to ring in the summer months.
We had a chat to the boys about their exciting upcoming project, and from the very first words exchanged it was clear these guys are passionate about a good time and an even better product.
The concept for Brew Nation spawned from Hutch. Al says he always wanted to grow and evolve the bar, and when walking past the tenancy in the Sydney Building, the concept for Brew Nation was born.
“We had a product that was a really high quality craft beer and we found that if you made it accessible to normal people, they really enjoy it and that’s a great thing. People really get behind local brewers,” he explains.
Trying to stay away from the themes and gimmicks that a lot of Canberra bars posses to get people in the door, Brew Nation is letting its drinks speak for themselves.
“We don’t have a theme, we don’t have Caribbean cocktails or any of that, we’re just about the product and having honesty to it,” he says.
Like its name suggests, Brew Nation has had some great support from a bunch of local brewers including Bentspoke Brewing Co, Capital Brewing Co and Pact Beer Co.
“We’ll have their beers on the tap as well as a couple of other smaller brewers and labels that we’ve developed really good relationships with in the past,” Al adds.
“They’ll also be a cracker wine list that’s been made for us by a good friend who’s really involved with the wine industry.
“Secretly Shai and I are pretty big gin fiends, so we’re going to have what we’re calling an ‘indecent’ range of Australian gin. We’re going to have four or five of the biggest, heaviest Australian gins.”
With drinks down pat, revelers can also get they hands on some nibbles as well, with Brew Nation offering a really nice small selection of cheese and crackers and finger food from local cheese suppliers and bakers.
In terms of the fit-out, the development of Brew Nation all happened very quickly with a three-month whirlwind design process of renovating the nearly 90-year-old space.
Canberrans can expect a pared back look and feel that was put together by Al and Shai themselves, who both have a background in architecture.
“We wanted to create a really comfortable space for people so that everyone can just enjoy the product as much as possible,” Al says.
“We’ve pretty much gone with a really limited colour pallet, but really played up the textures. There’s a beautiful concrete bench top and original hardwood floors.”
Like the beers, the fit-out is really about letting the space speak for itself.
“We’ve really stripped it back to these phenomenal walls. The building was built 1927 and has these stunning pressed bricks. We love it,” Al says.
When asked what he was most excited about in this new business venture, Al replies, ‘Honestly, just to sit in the space, take it all in and have a beer with my mates – that would just be the icing on the cake!’.”
If having a beer with your mates sounds like your idea of a perfect afternoon, come check out Brew Nation, opening next Friday, 2 December.