Warrandyte has a new brew

by James Poyner
6th December 2021

THERE IS A new beer in town.
The eagle-eyed and more adventurous amongst you may have even already tried it.
The Warrandyte Brewing Co. launched its inaugural beer on Friday, November 28, an Australian pale ale called Sunnyside Ale.
Partial to an independently brewed beer, and always interested in trying something new, I was fortuitous enough to pick up a six-pack from Quinton’s IGA.
Warrandyte Brewing Co.’s first beer from the brewery is light, easy to drink, and perfect for spring/early summer.
I was curious to learn more about who is putting Warrandyte on the beer mat; I sat down with North Ringwood couple David and Bianca Ryan to learn about their inspiration and future plans.
David is a paramedic working out of the Ringwood branch, and Bianca works for a not-for-profit in the disability sector.
I started by asking them what drew them to Warrandyte and making beer.

BR: We both come from a background of wanting to contribute to the community and give back.
We love walking along the river, the sense of community and all the local shops, and we’ve got family out here as well.
Our dog loves swimming in the river as well.
But why we started Warrandyte Brewing Co.? I’ll leave that to David.

DR: Well, I spent a lot of money on beer — so, I guess it’s a way of saving money.
But, I guess the idea started when we lived abroad.
We lived in Calgary, and I guess it isn’t a typical place that people move to overseas because it is a smaller city. It’s on the west coast, so it is known for its harsh climate.
I worked there as a paramedic on a
First Nations reserve; I was contracted to look after them for whatever reason they needed.
It was an eye-opening experience because Australia has an Indigenous population, but there are so many similarities between their culture and the culture of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
It was a very uniquely beautiful culture, so that was an interesting experience.

BR: Canadians are just so lovely.
Everyone you interacted with was so welcoming and kind of wanted to know your story.
We went there knowing that we wanted to still work in our fields, so I worked for UNICEF when I was over there.
We were there for a year and made great friendships, and hopefully, we can go back to visit soon.

DR: [In Canada] we lived near some breweries, and we found that they were the heartbeat of the area, and it was very social.
A lot of community events happen through the brewery or are associated with the brewing.
I guess that’s how we made lots of our friends that we still talk to now.
So, we want to provide that sort of atmosphere back where we lived, and then I think the COVID lockdown got the creative juices flowing.
And you know, one thing led to another, and the next minute, we are making and selling our brand to local venues and local liquor stores.
It is still weird to see people drinking your beer, but it’s super exciting.

JP: So let’s talk about the beer — with so many great beer varieties around, how did you decide on launching with an Australian pale ale?

DR: Well, that was the great dilemma. But then you have to ask what will number two be, and that’s the next great dilemma.
But, beer has seasons, and people drink beer based on the season.
So we knew that we were going to release it at the start of summer.
The Australian pale ale is approachable to everyone, whether you are a craft beer fanatic or a Carlton Draught drinker.
Through and through, we think there’s something in this pale ale that either side of the story can appreciate.

BR: Our goal is to, I guess, one day have a physical presence in the Warrandyte area but for now, we’re starting small and trying to produce good beer that everyone enjoys.

DR: I asked Michael [Burnley Brewing] his opinion on what would suit the Warrandyte area.
At the time, I was already thinking Australian pale ale, and he recommended it.
I just thought it’s a good fit for an Australian Riverside town.
And yeah, we’re delighted with the way it came out.
It’s low in alcohol or lower on the normal side in our call.
Which for me is a bonus because that’s the way I like.
It’s nice, easy-drinking, really approachable that I hope everyone enjoys it.
We have had a lot of feedback, and everyone seems pretty happy with it, particularly for our first release.
So we’re very, very proud.

JP: Let’s talk a bit about your logo design.

BR: We wanted it to be very on-brand for Warrandyte — we know that our label is quite different to what the other craft beer labels are like out there.
We wanted to make it our own and wanted it to represent Warrandyte as well.
So, there’s a gum tree around the can, and our logo is based on a gum leaf.

DR: It was Bianca’s friend who helped with the design.
I gave a bit of a design profile of what I saw in my head.

BR: We wanted to use the seasonal colours of the landscape as well.
So right now, we are also brainstorming what the next one might look like as well.

DR: We like a simple looking can.
I know some are very in your face and can grab your attention from the shelves.
We hope our beer speaks for itself.

BR: We hope that when we release other beers in the future, you know that as soon as you see our logo that it’s the Warrandyte Brewing Co.
We wanted to keep it simple and true and to represent the area.

JP: Without giving away too many secrets, what’s next?

DR: As I said earlier, beer has seasons, so we anticipate our next one coming out towards the end of January.
With every beer we release, we want it to not be just, ‘get another beer out there to make another dollar’.
We want it to be out there for a long time.
It will be one where on a 30 or 40-degree day when it is nice and dry, it will wet your whistle, be refreshing.

Warrandyte Brewing Co.’s beer is locally available at Hops and Vine and Quinton’s IGA, as well as stores in Ringwood East and Eltham.
See their website for more details warrandytebrewingco.com.au