Beechworth craft brewery Bridge Road is spreading its wings, opening a second brewery and 350-seat venue in Brunswick East next year.
Founders Ben and Maria Kraus have wanted to open a Melbourne location for more than 10 years, but weren't prepared to settle for a site that compromised on either brewing power or the ambience for drinkers and diners.
The new address is part of East Brunswick Village, a development on Nicholson Street that's adding new eateries, bars, a bakery and even a cinema for residents already occupying many of the apartments.
"With this site, we're not trying to retrofit an existing building to house a brewery and a hospitality space," says Ben Kraus.
Studio Y, responsible for Stomping Ground, Nick & Nora's and Lume, is taking care of the design, which will include indoor and outdoor spaces, communal tables, intimate booths and tasting bars. The brief is to create a spot for locals.
"I know when I go to a venue and see groups of young parents, young singles and grandparents all there, that epitomises a good casual place where everyone is comfortable," he says.
Food will be fresh and approachable but prepared thoughtfully, with ingredients selected for their relationship to the season, the beer or the region. Kraus looks to Three Blue Ducks as a good benchmark.
The brewery will supply the venue and, Kraus hopes, produce enough for local wholesale orders. Expect a bespoke house beer on tap alongside the core Bridge Road range, plus some exciting one-offs.
The hunt is on for an operations manager as the crew ready themselves for a long-term pop-up on the site while plans are finalised and construction begins.
127-149 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East, bridgeroadbrewers.com.au