Updated on September 11, 2016
Aether Brewing… the very name evokes something that is without shape or substance, lost in thin air, in the void without a location.
I’ve been hearing the name for a while now. There have been whispers aplenty—“PsstpsstnewcraftbrewerypsstpsstMilton psstpsstRailwayTerracepsstpsstwatchoutXXXXpsstpsst”—but no one actually seems to know much about them. It’s like that scene in 10 Things I Hate About You where everyone hears almost-certainly-true rumours about Heath Ledger’s character.
I figured the best way to find out about them is to go straight to the source, so I shot them a message. (“Hey guys, I hear you’re opening a brewery. I’m a complete stranger who also happens to be a beer blogger. Can I come invade your personal space?”) And with their permission, I rocked up to their digs on Railway Terrace to a building so unassuming that it might as well have been invisible.
From the moment I knocked, Jimmy and Dave treated me like an old friend.
We cracked a cold one and got chatting.
They describe themselves as a ‘couple of tradies’ (they’re both from engineering backgrounds in the oil and gas business) who have been dreaming of Aether for the last five years. Then last year, the dream began to take on solid form: they started working towards providing Brisbane with more of our favourite liquid.
I asked them, “What’s the deal with ‘Aether’?”
“In Greek mythology, Aether is the fifth element, which holds the universe together,” said Dave. “Obviously… that’s beer.”
I soon figured out that Dave is the crazy creative dreamer, and Jimmy’s more of the practical man. Dave wants to write long, poetic paragraphs on their Instagram photos. Jimmy just wants a few words to caption them. Dave came up with the fanciful idea of a white truffle wheat beer (which they actually made!). Jimmy shook his head, smiled, and said, “Cost more than any other beer ever.”
And after Dave told me about the mythological roots of Aether, Jimmy waited a moment and said, “Want to look around?”
They work well together.
I was pretty impressed with the setup. The brewhouse is custom designed and built—Jimmy and Dave put most of it together themselves.
It’s a 3 vessel system (mash, lauter, kettle/whirlpool) in 5 hectolitre. They’re running 6 single size fermenters, as well as polished copper bright beer tanks. (I hope these details mean something to some of you—honestly, I don’t know the technical side of it well enough. I just know it’s all purdy and shiny and it’s going to make lots of delicious beer for me to drink.)
It’s going to be a full brewpub, with brewing and bottling going on as you drink and eat, so you can watch the Oompa Loompas at work. They’ll be running a full kitchen, and the bar will be sporting 12 taps—their 6 core range beers, 3 Aether seasonals, and 3 guest taps. (Now those are some details that mean something to me!)
There’s seating capacity for about 50 people on the ground floor, and 55 on the mezzanine level, with the total overflow capacity reaching around 200. The plans include timber frontage, hanging plants, custom seating and tables… it’s all looking pretty snazzy.
As they showed me around and told me all this, their eyes sparkled with the vision of the finished product. And I have to admit, I kinda caught the fever, too. After all, it is in walking distance from my house. And when you factor in its proximity to The Scratch, Newstead Brewing’s soon-to-be-ready second location on Castlemaine St, and Brewski and the new Fritzenberger up on Caxton St… well, there’s a magnificent bar crawl to be had.
Aether is hoping to have their brewpub finished and open in the next couple of months. But I’m pretty stoked that we won’t have to wait that long to sample all their brews—they’re going to be at Beer InCider Experience this weekend. This’ll be the first time the general public are getting their lips around Aether’s brews, and I for one look forward to getting them in my belly. I believe they’re even going to have some of the white truffle wheat beer there, so I plan to drink like a damn king!
Jimmy and Dave showed me the labels of their core range beers, but as they’ve managed to keep them under wraps for so long, and are just drip-feeding them to social media now, I’m going to respect their wishes and only show the ones they’ve already shared. (I’ll come back and update this once they’ve shared the rest of them.) The only spoiler I’ll let slip is that their oatmeal porter has rum-soaked vanilla beans in it. The reason I’ll let that slip is because the thought of it makes me drool.
Right, here are some labels to finish up with. The Greek-mythology-inspired designs are by Steve Falco of Procreativ. Enjoy.
Hop Skip & Jump IPA – Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic (6.4% ABV, 70 IBU)
Hide & Seek Pilsner (5.0% ABV, 27 IBU)
P.S. I just realised this post may sound a little like it’s sponsored or something. It’s not. I’m not getting paid, and I only met Jimmy and Dave this past week. I’m just excited about Aether!