The rise of the Akasha Brewing Company was swift. It was only in April 2015 that Dave Padden hitched his wagon to Sydney’s growing caravan of gypsy brewers and launched the first Akasha beer into the market. But being at the mercy of someone else’s brewing schedule was never a long term plan – or even a medium term one for that matter – and by October he was standing atop a sparking new brewhouse, about to release the first beers from Akasha’s home in Five Dock. In an industry where it’s not uncommon for a brewery to take several years to set up, going from homeless to fully functioning in less than one is quite a feat.
The warehouse in which they chose to build their new home was an empty shell, devoid of electricity, water and gas. What sounds like an inconvenience turned out to be the blank canvas they needed, letting them lay out the brewery exactly as desired. In went a brewhouse that’s relatively small but efficient, allowing them to do multiple brews to meet demand while offering the flexibility to do smaller specialty batches.
It also had a space that screamed out to be a tasting room, with floor to ceiling windows that give a view directly out onto the action in the brewhouse; the stainless steel tanks are so close you can sit there and watch yourself having a good time. And once you start trying a few Akasha beers you'll certainly be having a good time.
Dave is a hop lover at heart and almost all Akasha beers centre around them – usually American varieties, in high doses. But that doesn't necessarily make their beers aggressive. In fact, accessibility is a feature. That in no way means their beers have been dialled down to the equivalent of easy-listening, rather they’ve kept the volume up nice and loud but fiddled with the tone and balance to seek a slightly broader appeal.
Midway through 2020 – a little over five years from that first brew – Akasha rebranded to show how the mighty hop watches over everything the brewery does. The new look, featuring an Illuminati-inspired eye, aims to reflect the almost spiritual component of drinking fantastic beer, while also capturing the brewery’s desire to open up the doorway of better beer and let others inside.
The rebrand saw the team also launch Akasha Projects, a dedicated space for limited releases but, beyond that, the occasion was as much a pause for reflection over a revolution. That reflection is on where the brewery’s always focused on brewing hop forward beers with a focus on quality and consistency and being genuine sticklers for that old marketing phrase about not compromising on quality.
It's years of working with that attitude which has made Dave and his team so respected and their beers so loved in Sydney. That's what's enabled the brewery to grow its capacity several times over and allow them to send their beer farther and wider across the country.
For all the complexity in the beer world there's a lot to be said for simply having great beer made by great people.