The Flat Rock Brew Café is home to a working ‘nano-brewery’ where we produce small batches of up to 200 litres to serve at our venue. We are a proud member of the Craft Beer Industry Association.
The brew house itself, is located downstairs of the café and consists of a Braumeister system, one very familiar to home brewers. German made, it provides efficiency in the brewing process and was selected due to its compact design. As well as the brew house, the brewery hardware includes two fermenters and a bright beer tank.
The type of packaging we use for our beer will depend on the style we make. Our area of specialisation lies in English ales, made from historic recipes gathered from the records of some very old English breweries.
We are quite unique in that we produce cask conditioned ale and serve it through our hand pumps. Not many venues serve beer this way, and as a result, there are not many breweries that package their beer in proper casks. Under the specifications set by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), the beer we produce for going into our casks are truly 'real ale'. Our English bitter is highly regarded and served on hand pump in the traditional way, it really is a genuine ale drinking experience. We often have other seasonal real ale brews on our second hand pump, from stouts to ESB’s.
We also package some styles of our beer in pressurised kegs - one of the advantages of such a small scale brewery is that it allows for some experimentation in trying different beers styles. We have brewed from German Hefeweizen to West Coast IPA's - always welcoming the challenges that come with brewing beers to different specifications. Our Red Rye IIPA is one such style that we have had great success with. Gaining medals from both the Australian International Beer Awards and the Craft Beer Industry Association.
We also have initiated our 'Barrel Program'. This is a side project where we have invested in six 100L whisky barrels from Lark Distillery, and a 200L chardonnay barrel sourced from the Hunter Valley. We have successfully aged beer in these barrels and have received awards from the Sydney Royal Show demonstrating the success of this initiative.
Generally, our beers are probably the freshest beer you will ever have. Our brews are produced, packaged and served in-house with little to no delay in getting the finished product into your glass. For most styles of beer, fresh is best. However, there is a specialised group of beer styles which, like a fine wine, dramatically improve with age. The purpose of our Barrel Aging Program is to explore these styles and introduce them to you. We get to experiment, and our customers get to try a complex and interesting beer.
Our program focuses on two such avenues, high gravity beers and sour beers - two very different styles that use the oak barrels to very different effect. As the beer ages in the barrel, it picks up and absorbs many chemical compounds that exist in the wood. Lactones, phenolic aldehydes are two common types and they can produce floral aromas, and vanilla flavours respectively that are found in barrel aged beer. They will also pick up traces of the spirit or wine that previously resided in the barrel. All these add a layer of complexity.
Our seven barrels are only the humble beginnings of our Barrel Program, however as time goes on and our brewer thinks of other interesting projects, we expect to see our barrel aged selection grow. You can come visit our barrels anytime, they are located in our cellar below the main bar at the cafe.
When you are next in the Flat Rock Brew Café, and if you are interested in seeing the brewery, please see one of the staff who will arrange for a tour.