Venom Brewing

The first time we encountered Joel Drysdale, he was walking up the path to Crafty Towers bearing a four-pack of Moo Brew Imperial Stout bottles. As introductions go, it's up there. Later, we crossed paths regularly in his guise as "The Beer Dude" for Tooborac Hotel & Brewery, charged with getting the regional Victorian brewery's beers out and about. And now there's Beer Joel Mk III.

This time, he's doing things for himself. Well, himself and his family. And he's doing it as Venom Brewing, the business he launched in 2015 with a golden ale and a brand that, quite deliberately, was designed with "Love it or hate it" in mind.

As Joel explains of the venom-dripping cobra that forms his company logo: "Whatever you think of it, you're going to notice it."

And people certainly did, with plenty falling into both love and hate camps. However, having eye-catching packaging is only going to get you so far; in an ever busier marketplace people might pick up your beer but, if it's not up to scratch, they're not going to return. Thankfully, the launch beer – the aforementioned Golden Ale designed by Joel's mate Euan Bayliss and brewed at Hawkers – is comfortably one of the best beers of the style you'll find in Australia and helped Venom hit the ground running.

But behind the name and artwork, designed by Brunswick tattooist Hal from Green Lotus, where does Venom come from? As a business, it's a family venture with Joel's wife Janna, dad John and stepmum Heather involved in various ways. Indeed, it's a story involving John that led to the name: he was bitten by a snake in his Mansfield garden one afternoon and, as he waited for his wife to arrive back home, cracked a beer from the fridge.

"When I heard this, I was furious," says Joel. "If my dad was going to die of snakebite, there was no way I’d let him go down drinking a macro brewed lager! So, to combat this, we brewed Venom Golden Ale – just in case Johnny stands on another snake..."

As for Joel himself, we like to describe him as having the sort of face that suggests he's truly ecstatic to be alive every second of every day. And, having grown up around the booze industry, he's got a sharp eye for opportunity too. In a past Crafty Pint newsletter, we mentioned that respected former Temple and Homestead brewer Ron Feruglio was stepping away from brewing to focus on consulting. Within hours, Joel had asked for his contact details. A few weeks later, he announced Venom's second beer would be a black IPA designed with Ron, previously responsible for cult favourites Midnight IPA and Black Swan.

A Pale Ale and Refreshing Ale have followed although, perhaps more importantly, Venom has a home too. Joel and his team took over the Country Club Hotel in Yea, refurbished it and opened it to the public on June 5, 2017. So, while the beers are still contract brewed, you'll find them all on tap here.

You can also find them across state lines, including in SA, where the full range landed late in 2018, and Tassie.

Venom Brewing

18 High Street
VIC 3717

0447 280 555


This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Venom Brewing Regulars

Venom Beer Refreshing Ale & Pale Ale (Cans)

Tapped February 2nd, 2018
If Venom's spitting snake artwork wasn't eye-catching enough in bottle form, it sure is now they've transitioned beers two and three in the core range into cans where they join the brewing company's flagship Golden Ale. And we have to say the move to cans suits a look that's proven one of the more amusingly divisive ever since Joel Drysdale and his family brought Venom to life. If you've not tried the beers before, Refreshing Ale is a mid-strength, one that's been doing much of the heavy lifting… Read more
Mid-strength & Pale Ale
3.5% & 4.8%

Venom Beer Golden Ale (Can)

Tapped November 14th, 2017
You can tell summer is coming as more and more brewery owners pop at least one of their beers into cans ready for drinkers' Eskies. Venom is on the case too, with the brewing company's flagship Golden Ale the first of three to transition to tinnies (Pale Ale and the mid-strength Refreshing Ale will follow). It doesn't just make for added practicality but it means those who love Venom's striking artwork have even more of it to cling to and those who don't will find it harder to avoid when facing up… Read more
Golden Ale

Venom Beer Refreshing Ale

Tapped September 1st, 2017
It might not seem the most likely of beers to introduce in a Victorian winter, but by adding a mid-strength quaffer to his lineup we imagine Joel Drysdale had a couple of things in mind: the warmer months ahead and Venom's new home, the Country Club Hotel in Yea – in particular its beer garden. The Refreshing Ale has now been bottled to become the third of the brewing company's year round beers, joining the flagship Golden and Venom Pale Ale, and looks to keep things simple. In many ways, it's… Read more

Venom Beer Pale Ale

Tapped December 1st, 2016
When he was busy launching Venom with his Golden Ale (a beer that we put into our Best New Victorian Beers of 2016 top ten), Joel Drysdale declared that he would never release a pale ale. There were plenty out there already, after all. What's more, his golden ale was a souped up, hoppy affair anyway so why bother? But, like Sean Connery when faced with a fat pay check and Kim Bassinger in a bikini... So, here it is: the beer that never would be, Venom Pale Ale. It's the second Venom beer that will… Read more
Pale Ale

Venom Brewing Golden Ale

At a past Crafty Pint blind tasting, one of the panelists – someone from a brewery that tends to occupy the further realms of the beer flavour spectrum – remarked that golden ales tend to display restrained hop and malt character. "They're taking out everything I bloody enjoy in a beer!" he said. And while many contemporary takes on the style (if it even is one) do seem to strip out anything of interest at all, particularly those from the supermarket brands, there are some that go the… Read more
Golden Ale

Venom Brewing Specials

Venom Brewing Hazy Double Golden Ale

Tapped May 9th, 2019
We covered much of the background to this beer's arrival in an article on the rise and fall from prominence of golden ales – which you can read here. But what of the liquid that Venom's Joel Drysdale wanted to create in tribute to his flagship Golden Ale? Well, deciding that simply doubling the ingredients was one thing but giving it a contemporary spin was even better, he enlisted the team at Carwyn Cellars as co-conspirators, given they're rather more au fait with the hazier realms of the hoppy… Read more
Double Golden Ale

Regent Cellars

Acland Cellars

And more to come

More stockists...

Venom Brewing Black IPA

Tapped May 31st, 2016
Venom's tattoo artist logo and label design managed to become one of the most talked about in Victoria when the brewing company's first beer, the fine Golden Ale, was released. That was as founder Joel Drysdale intended, with the beer good enough to overcome the brickbats from those who didn't like what they saw; indeed, he's already brewing double size batches of it at Hawkers. And, in a sign that the naysayers won't be seeing any compromise from him, for this second release he's gone and jazzed… Read more
Black IPA
65 IBU

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