Otherside set to serve first Freo.Social-brewed beers

The first pint of experimental beer made at Otherside Brewing’s nanobrewery, Otherside Brewshed, is set to be pulled this week.

Four beers made at the 5-hectolitre microbrewery, housed at its music venue Freo.Social, will be launched on Friday 12th July to honour the occasion.

Head brewer Rhys Lopez, who also heads up Otherside’s main Myaree brewery, spoke to Matt Kirkegaard at the Western Australian Brewers Conference last month about the launch of the Freo-Social brewery and venue.

“Having something like Freo.Social is important. It’s good to have a homebase, it’s good to have a soul to your company and your brand.

“It’s got pragmatic advantages you know, people can come and buy your beer, where they know it’s fresh and they pay you immediately, not 30 days after the invoice is due.

“It’s a really good R&D workshop for us.

“There are a lot of advantages to having a taproom, in whatever form it takes.”

The small-batch brewery will only make experimental beers.

The first set of four beers that have been brewed at Freo.Social will be: Jagged It, a double IPA using Jaggery sugar in its fermentation; Coal Miner, a 3.5% abv saison with a New Zealand dry hop; and a rye German-style beer, Roggen. The fourth is a ‘Wild Card’ and will only be announced on Friday.

“I’ve kind of got licence to do weird stuff [at Freo.Social]. We basically get to do one unique beer a week, ongoing forever, which means that we’ll never repeat anything.”

Otherside Brewing only recently invested in a commercial brewing operation of its own which it commissioned in Myaree last year, having been a gypsy brewing outfit prior to moving in.

Lopez said that the launch of the new breweries was testament to the growth of the company.

“Now that we’ve got more brand recognition we can do things that are a bit more ‘out there’,” Lopez said.

“People take a risk on us because they’ve had other beers that they’ve liked from us before, so now we’re doing more experimental stuff.”

A music venue might seem a strange place to be experimenting with craft beer, but Lopez says it’s not a limiting factor to what kind of beers they can serve there.

“We’re not just selling the wacky Spirulina ales or anything like that. We have 56 taps through the venue and in the live music portion there are 24 taps.

“[They include] our general core range stuff, a few beers from our friends that are rotated, we’ve got the wacky stuff, and stuff like Aperol Spritz on tap.

“It’s not exclusive or trying to dictate craft beer to anyone, it’s one of the few venues I know that has a solid craft beer offering and a cool live music offering.”

Photo by Jean-Paul Horré

He said that balance was the key to a good beer, whether it was ‘wacky’ or core.

“That kind of philosophy of having everything in balance is really important from day one.

“You have to have an approach where if you want something that’s bitter, it’s got to have a component that’s soft and sweet.

“If you want something that’s high in alcohol, you want to have a component in it that’s sessionable.

“At the end of the day we want to keep everything, no matter what it is, a sessionable, balanced beer.”

Otherside Brewshed is located in Freo.Social at the Artillery Drill Hall site in Fremantle. It is open from 5pm to late on Wednesday and Thursdays and from 12pm until late Friday to Sunday.

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