One Year On...Fixation Brewing Co's The Incubator

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Fixation Brewing Co’s taproom, The Incubator, celebrated its first birthday this month as well as a major win as Fixation took home the Champion Large Brewery award at The Indies.

“It was just an honour to receive the Champion Large Brewery award at the recent Independent Beer Awards and we are excited for the future,” managing partner Tom Delmont said.

The win comes after a major year for Fixation, their first ensconced at their very own taproom The Incubator.

Delmont decided to make the move from bottles to cans during the year, which will be the case for all future IPA releases through The Incubator.

It’s released over 40 different IPAs since it opened, with the goal of always having something new and unique for people to try. Delmont said the trend is still going strong for them.

“We are happy with our IPA focus and will continue to stick with the IPA genre. Our brews have continued to show great potential in the last year,” Delmont said.

“Hoppy IPA’s are still in demand and we are seeing new IPA trends that are growing in popularity, such as hazy and sours.”

While the IPA was originally developed for English palates and is now largely tied to America as a style, Australia has seen a growth in popularity of lighter IPAs with flora and fruit.

“Light IPA’s are definitely popular, more so than than heavier brews in Australia. Supporting local businesses by using local ingredients is also very Australian. Our Yeah Nah IPA was made using 100% Australian ingredients.”

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As a word of advice for anyone looking to open a brewery in the near or distant future, Delmont said that it was important in bringing something new to the table.

“The market is currently saturated with a lot of different styles, so it’s good to be on your toes and offering something unique.

“It’s better to focus on a single style, whether that be IPA’s, Pilsners or Stouts, offer a bit of range within that and find something that hasn’t been done before.”

In the beginning

When the Fixation team visited the old warehouse they had leased as their premises for the first time, they knew it was going to take some work to make it home.

“When we first stepped inside the warehouse that would become The Incubator, there were squatters inside and graffiti on the walls. Over all it was pretty ragged and it was hard to see the potential,” Delmont said.

“It was not much at the time but after putting in the hard work we were able to make it into the home we have now.”

When it came to choosing which space would be best for The Incubator, Delmont explained he had help from a lot of his friends in the brewing community.

“We had the help of brewing professionals when we were picking out the space. After being on the scene for over 20 years I am lucky to have a large group of friends in the community that are happy to lend their advice, so we had a lot of feedback on what would work best.”

From the start the Collingwood brewery was all about IPAs, and modifications were required to ensure even their brewing kit was adapted to their focus style.

“We modified the design of the brewhouse before ordering it, for hop driven styles. It’s oversized by 20% for the fermentation vessel’s hop additions and has a slight conical bottom to the whirlpool to minimise losses there, ” explained Delmont.

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Being a brewpub also meant that the venue needed to offer food, and when Uber Eats and Deliveroo didn’t work out, Fixation looked a little closer to home.

“We are three doors away from one of Melbourne’s most popular plant based pizza restaurants,” explained Delmont.

“Working with them supports your local community but also saves taking our focus off making great IPA’s and provides some much needed sustenance for punters when tasting some delicious hoppy beers!”

Collingwood is a hotbed for brewers, and people visit locally, interstate and internationally to try unique craft beer, and this reputation has only increased in the year since the Incubator opened.

Indeed, in the past year Fixation has had the chance to collaborate with international visitors such as Wizard Brewing and The Smith Street Band.

“When it comes to demographics The Incubator has seen people from all walks of life. People will often visit from overseas with the intention of opening up their own brewery over here or working on a collaboration,” Delmont said.

While Fixation is part of the Fermentum group, they have never felt restricted by their parent or sister companies when it came to the creativity in their brews.

“We send up samples from The Incubator to be tested by the laboratory at the Stone & Wood, Murwillumbah Brewery. This helps verify our results with our limited equipment in Collingwood.

“The fantastic thing about our relationship and joint ownership with Fermentum, of which Stone & Wood is a major part, is that our main IPA’s are brewed and canned by their passionate production team and yep, quality is number one there,” said Delmont.

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