The brewery we introduced you to in February 2020 finally has an opening date, and will launch with a Mexican- and Central American-inspired restaurant called Masa. We checked in with the founders to see what's on the inaugural tap list.
Here’s what you’ll be drinking when Bowden Brewing opens in two weeks
It was 16 months ago when CityMag first brought you news of Bowden Brewing’s impending arrival.
We met the founders on site in February 2020, in a moment when the new decade felt like a fresh start and not like a slate being scrubbed clean with a wire brush.
They had set a goal for themselves, which, in that moment, felt achievable: open by the end of the 2020.
“We quickly forgot about it with everything else that was going on,” laughs Ollie Brown, co-founder of Bowden Brewing and the Big Easy hospitality group.
“I’m pretty glad it wasn’t the end of last year. It was enough of a mess.”
The project was kept on low boil since, but an open date has finally been set – Tuesday, 6 July.
CityMag meets with the team again, which is Ollie and Josh Talbot, and brewers Alex Marschall and Jake Phoenix, to find out what punters can expect.
They’re strewn throughout the Sans-Arc fit, which is a mixture of dark timber, pale cream tiles and metal caging eventually to be filled with plants.
Alex and Jake are on the brewfloor, which is stacked high with stainless steel.
“It’s footprint-saving,” Alex explains of the setup.
“We’ve got our fermenters on the bottom, and then we’ve got bright tanks up the top, or serving tanks.
“So we’re going to finish the beer below and then transfer them up and carbonate. We’ll actually have taps hooked straight up to it, so you can go straight out to tap.”
All 14 taps in the brewery’s venue will be dedicated to Bowden Brewing beers, but the space will launch with three collaborations.
There is a Hazy Pale created with Swell Brewing; a Hazy Double IPA with Big Shed Brewing; and an American Brown Ale with Western Ridge (another brewery Alex is affiliated with).
The brewery’s core range will consist of Bowden Draught, a session ale, a West Coast IPA, and a mango sour. The fruit addition to the sour will rotate seasonally.
Bowden Brewing will also open with a 2.9% ABV ale, nicknamed Quick Maths (one schooner is roughly equal to one standard drink), and a range of seasonals: a Cascadian Black Double IPA, a stout, a breakfast stout made in collaboration with Elementary Coffee, and a coffee porter made in collaboration with a yet-to-be-determined coffee roaster.
There will also be some non-beer options: a hard seltzer and a kombucha, both of which will be made with a different fruit addition each season.
The beers will be available both in-house and to takeaway in growlers, but there are plans for the brewery to add a small canning line a couple of months after launch.
In founding Bowden Brewing, Alex and Jake hope to provide specifically for the local area, and so they’re keen to hear what beer styles Bowdenites want from their new watering hole in the future.
“Not even [just] new styles as well,” Alex says.
“If somebody comes in and says they want the Bowden Draught a little bit more malty or a slightly different caramel flavour in there, we’re open to tweaking all of these as we go.”
“It’s such a great little community, such a great little vibe going on here,” Jake says.
“We’re keen to get in here and just talk, and tell people about the beer and meet people.”
Outside of the brewing space, there’s a tonne of seating – booths, high communal benches, low tables – including up on the mezzanine level.
Ollie is keen for the Bowden community to make the venue their own.
“Around here there’s a lot of apartments, so one of the first things we wanted to do was be the extension of someone’s living room,” he says.
“The idea was to have varying seating types and sizes, depending on if you want a casual beer, where you want to sit up at a bar, or if you want to sit down and actually have dinner. And the food follows that ethos as well.”
The food offering within Bowden Brewing sits under its own identity, called Masa, and will be headed up by Big Easy’s executive chef, Harry Bourne, who, before moving to South Australia, most recently worked at Hubert’s in Sydney.
“He’s obsessed with local produce… He wants the food to centre around that,” Ollie says.
Masa will serve “Mexican-slash-Central American” food, made using Australian ingredients sourced from as close to the venue as possible.
There will be tacos and tostadas, and Harry will make everything in house – from hot sauces to milling corn for the restaurant’s tortillas.
“We wanted food that went well with beers… something you can pick up with your hands and is easy to eat,” Ollie says.
“So we thought tacos and tostadas and Mexican food fit that perfectly. A little bit of spice, it goes really well with beer, and it’s easily shared.”
You can also follow Masa on Instagram.