Kooinda Brewery aren’t your everyday ‘run-of-the-mill’ brewers. I mean, they began life as Australia’s first ever residential licensed brewery, with the family in-ground pool used a heat exchanger to cool their first pale ales as they transferred to the fermenter.
Take a second to read through that again.
I know right?!
Belgium can keep its hundreds of years of history of monks brewing beers in monasteries – we’ve got Australian ingenuity at its finest.
In 2010 Kooinda moved to outer suburbia and opened up a brewhouse in Heidelberg West, expanded since then due to the success of their brews, and now even have a bar open to the public Thursday and Friday nights – serving their main beers as well as ‘experimental’ and seasonal brews.
Their core range includes an American Pale Ale, a Golden Ale, a Black IPA, and a Milk Porter, and their Black IPA is dead-set brilliant. One of the best I’ve had. Find it. Drink it.
Adding to the appeal of the place is the fact that – as I recently discovered – their name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘happy place’. Again, genius.
*Settle down now children, it’s time for Uncle Sam to tell you a story*
The first time I ventured to Kooinda was on a wintery Friday night to watch the footy with a mate. It was soon after the bar opened to the public, and we were keen to check it out. After disembarking from the bus, I was faced with a walk down a street that had – from memory – precisely zero street lights in working order. Death was surely imminent via violent mugging. Miraculously I survived the trek, reached the brewery and was soon comfortable in the indie-inspired mismatch of couches, armchairs, stools and seats surely acquired from local Op-Shops.
I recently chanced upon a bottle of their ‘Inkblot’ Salted Oatmeal Stout, and was instantly intrigued. I’ve drunk a few things in my time, but very few salted offerings.
It poured a dense, pitch black, with a decent enough coffee coloured head on it. Taste-wise, there were some enjoyable bitter burnt flavours, with the oats adding depth and complexity to the brew. It’s a lighter stout – weighing in at just 4.2%.
And then there’s the salt. It’s not a ‘salty’ beer per se – and by that I mean that you won’t endure traumatic flashbacks to briny mouthfuls of salt water imbibed when being violently dunked at surf beaches as a child. But when you swallow there’s a lingering…..something. A feeling in the back of your throat that keeps on and keeps on. And makes you slightly thirsty, wanting another sip. This is of course a diabolical plan – a beer that makes you want to drink more a physiological level.
The bottle says this is a beer for “distorted drinkers” and they might be onto something. However, who am I to tell you – find it and drink it for yourself!
*And no, you’re not a terrible person if this song pops into your head – as much as I pretend to be an adult, the 11-year old in me sometimes can’t help but appear*