Michael Conrad looks up at a slate-grey sky dumping sheets of water over the Newstead streets.
“The cows will have to wait until dawn tomorrow. I'm not driving out to Gatton in this,” he says.
Conrad and business partner Mark Howes are supplementing the pasture fed cows' diet with mash left over from beer-making. Then the beasts will be dispatched, broken down and the meat dry-aged before gracing the plates at Newstead Brewing Co., scheduled to open early next month.
In the soaring space; formerly an art gallery and before that, a Skinner's bus depot, the tables and chairs are out, the bar is set up and giant fans stir the humid air. Everything's ready to go in fact, bar the beer, which will take its own sweet time.
“It should be ready in 2 to 3 weeks, when it reaches the right PH and sugar levels,” Howes says.
His passion for beer-making was sparked when he got a gift of a home brew kit from his mum at Christmas five years ago and he's been brewing ever since.
The Doggett Street brewery will have nine of house beers on tap with special brews on rotation such as the Red IPA that's currently brewing.
“We've seen the rise and rise of craft beer,” Conrad says.
“Despite the fact that overall beer consumption in Australia is falling, revenue is up. Instead of buying a six pack, guys go out and buy two craft beers and you know that's how they're spending their Friday nights.”
As well as by the glass, Newstead Brewing Co. will also sell re-fillable large glass jugs of beer known as 'growlers'.
The decor is industrial chic, with a large bar made from heavy up-cycled timber, plywood floors and ceilings and raw brick walls. Seating is at the bar, dry bars and at tables overlooking the gleaming beer tanks and work-a-day areas of the brewery.
Peter Swatton, ex-Three Girls Skipping and Boucher in Graceville is heading the kitchen which will be serving up a comprehensive menu from small snacks and plates of charcuterie to pulled pork sliders, corn beef and a posh mac and cheese, along with the steak.
“Everyone dreams of doing something like this,” Conrad says. “We can't wait to get the doors open”.