In 2017, Deale and Elisa Stanley-Hunt started Slipstream Brewing with a simple vision: to bring a taste of the US beer scene to Australia. They’d tripped over to the States a number of times to tour as many breweries, brewpubs and bars as they possibly could. And while other people returned home with souvenirs, they returned with the drive to open a brewery that reflects American beer.
They started with the flavours: without ever ignoring the role of malt and yeast, Slipstream have had hop-forward beers at the core of their DNA from the beginning. The regular lineup is chocked with hop character aplenty, from the citrusy ease of Billy Cart Pale Ale (balanced with rye) through the fruit salad notes of Laguna Tropical Pale Ale to the floral, fruity and resinous complexity of G-Force IPA. Even the can design of the core range evokes the American spirit of retro Pepsi cans and professional baseball uniforms.
When it comes to limited release IPAs, Slipstream often dedicate entire series to exploring the category, whether that’s digging into different hop varieties (like their Hop Hero series), different techniques (like their Hop Burst series) or different regions (like their West Coast Tour series).
It’s important not to overstate the focus on hops, though – the same attention to detail goes into every beer that comes out of the brewery. You see it in Slipstream’s core Regatta Lager, their ongoing Fruit Cart Sour series, and their yearly release of Anniversary Ale imperial stout. In fact, Slipstream has picked up a reputation for quality and consistency across the board, regardless of style.
As Elisa points out: “A lot of what we hear from people is, ‘You never have a bad beer from Slipstream.’.”
The American influence continues into the venue. Whenever the Stanley-Hunts were Stateside, they loved the breweries with large taprooms and full restaurant offerings they came across, and knew they wanted to create that same kind of space. So while they first opened with just a small cellar door attached to their brewery in Yeerongpilly, investment from Mighty Craft allowed them to expand the space to include a 250-person capacity hospitality venue.
It’s easy to get to, being just a 7km drive from the city or a 20 minute train from Central to Yeerongpilly Station. Out the front you’re met with a beer garden full of picnic tables: sunny but shaded during the day, and sparkling with festoon lighting at night.
But as lovely as the beer garden is, inside is where they both make and serve the beer, so it’s where you’ll find most of the punters. It’s also where you can lounge on a couch, perch on a barstool at raised tables or lean on a barrel. (There’s also the option to sit around an indoor tree. I don’t know why, but I love indoor trees.) If you’re having a full sit-down meal, you can make yourself comfortable on cushioned bench seating, or you and your group might prefer to book a long timber table for slow dining.
A sprawling food menu covers classic menu items like Spicy Buffalo wings, burgers and a New York style steak; CaliMex options including tortilla chips, fish tacos, Mexican street corn and a chilli con carne wood-fired pizza; or if you’d prefer, there’s always slow-smoked meats you can get as a share platter with chipotle coleslaw and BBQ sauce, on a brisket burger, or on a pizza with caramelised onion. The menu also includes gluten free and vegan options, and a handful of kids meals. Drinks wise, as well as the 20 taps of Slipstream beer, there’s a tiered wine list featuring mostly Aussie producers and a range of spirits and cocktails.
If it isn’t already clear, this is a place thoughtfully designed to make everyone feel welcome. Corporate crowd having a work function? Locals rocking up in shorts and thongs? Families with a pram and a couple of tots? Tradies in hi-vis knocking off with a few schooners? Glammed-up group of friends having a birthday celebration? There’s room for everyone at Slipstream.
They say everything’s bigger in America, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising this brewery is constantly expanding: the number of fermenters keeps growing, while the canning line and centrifuge allow the team to get more beer out into the world. But this isn’t a brewery that loses sight of its humble beginnings. Deale and Elisa always have room for their beloved locals, who have been with them from the very first day, whether that’s by sponsoring the local footy and cricket clubs, supporting not-for-profit organisation Sailability, or donating beer to school fêtes (for the parents, not the kids!).
Of course, you don’t have to be a local to enjoy Slipstream’s beer. After all, their whole ethos is about bringing the taste of American beer to Australia, so they’ll gladly go the extra mile to get it to your front door. You can order a mixed carton of Slipstream’s core range from their online store to taste your way through the range, or grab up some of their latest limited releases. But if you want to fill up a growler, or get a tasting paddle, or admire the stainless steel tanks and pipes that make all the magic happen, get yourself in for the proper Slipstream experience.
As the years tick on, Slipstream’s vision hasn’t changed. It’s not overdone, or gimmicky, or focused exclusively on US ingredients and styles. But there’s a definite streak of American beer running through the brewery; it’s effective, and it’s delicious.
And as the punters say: you’ll never get a bad beer from Slipstream.