Burleigh Brewing Company
Queensland has generally suffered from a dearth of craft breweries so the Burleigh Brewing Company is a welcome and relatively recent addition. Co-owner/brewer Brennan Fielding boasts considerable experience as a brewer in Hawaii, mainland USA and Australia, and previously manned the brewing kettle at the Oxford 152 brew-pub in Brisbane. In fact, he comes from an impressive line of brewers. ‘A few years ago my cousin was researching our family tree and discovered that my German-born great-greatgrandfather and [his son] my greatgrandfather started the Golden West brewery in California, in the 1870s. It was later destroyed in the 1906 Californian earthquake.‘It was a neat thing to find out because I’d already been brewing for about ten years but I was hoping we could find a recipe or two from their brewery.’ Fielding’s 45-hectolitre microbrewery features German-manufactured components assembled in Canada and the first Duke beers flowed in August 2007. The brewery is spread over four separate units in an industrial estate outside Burleigh Heads, with the coolroom wedged between the brewhouse and the combined fermentation/maturation, automatic bottling line and packaging area. Unusually, the beer is piped from the heat exchanger over some distance to the 90-hectolitre fermentation vessels. ‘We’ve already outgrown this bottling line,’ Fielding said when I visited the brewery in late 2008, which reflects an impressive uptake by local consumers in barely 18 months since hitting the market. While the bottling and labelling line is automatic, the packaging into sixpacks and cartons is still done by hand and Fielding’s multicultural team includes a Kiwi, a German, a Hawaiian, a New Yorker and an Aussie. The brewery bar opens each Saturday afternoon and they host a monthly ‘brewer’s barbecue’ event, which is linked to various local charities.
The Duke range leans solidly toward mainstream tastes with a slightly more flavoursome American-inspired pale ale, and some more adventurous styles that are limited releases.
Duke Pale Ale
Behind the Label
A duke is an independent leader of a region and Burleigh Brewing’s Duke branding reflects the microbrewery’s regional aspirations. ‘Our territory covers the equivalent of the traditional one day’s horse ride, or four to five hours by car,’ says coowner Peta Fielding. ‘So we distribute our Duke beers over an area roughly from Coffs Harbour to Hervey Bay and the same distance west.’ The name has a further connection with Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian godfather of modern surfing, and fellow Hawaiian-born brewer Brennan Fielding is also a dedicated longboard surfrider. Naturally enough, the tap-top for the Duke draught-beer range features a miniature wooden surfboard.
17A Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads 4220
Tours available; takeaway sales; bar (Saturday 2–6pm)
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