Amongst a plethora of events during the inaugural Craft Beer Rising in 2014, it would have been easy to miss the understated post which read, simply: “Be the first to taste the launch beer from Sydney’s newest brewing company, Shenanigans Brewing.” But something in there struck a chord with the public and the line outside the bar on launch night was ten people deep for nearly three hours until all the kegs were drained. Quite the welcome to the beer world.
The pair responsible for all that fuss are Sam Haldane and the aptly titled Dan Beers, two mates who decided to finally make the move from homebrewing to commercial brewing. We say “finally” because a plan to go pro had been in motion for quite some time prior to the first beer hitting the market; they’d had their official license to brew for about a year before doing anything with it. Good things do take time, they say, but it’s also true that time waits for no man and Sydney’s rapidly expanding beer scene helped convince them that it was time for action.
Besides, they’d had more than enough practice. Both are well known homebrewers in the local beer community and Sam had done a brewing course at UC Davis in California which added a few more tools to the belt in preparation for serious brewing. And, now that they’re in, they’re all in. Between them they do everything to get Shenanigans beer from the seed of an idea to liquid in your glass; developing recipes, brewing, hopping, kegging, bottling, lifting, labelling, cleaning, delivering. Everything.
As for what they brew, in keeping with the name, none of Shenanigans’ beer fits exactly within your usual style guidelines. Instead of a regular IPA, theirs is infused with jasmine and hibiscus. Instead of a regular brown ale, theirs is infused with coffee. Instead of a regular porter… well, you get the idea. But contrary to what that methodology might suggest, they’re not aiming squarely at the beer geek market. They have perfectly approachable beers like the Pale Ale and the beloved Winston APA, but for every one of those there's something brewed with ghost chilli or several hundred kilograms of mango, just to balance out the ledger.
Shenanigans has found a natural fit for all this within Sydney’s Inner West. It’s where both Sam and Dan live, it’s where they brew and it’s where you’ll find many of the bars and bottle stores that stock their beer. However, as the good word has spread, it's certainly getting easier to get into some Shenanigans around the place.