Capital Brewing Co

As the home of politicians and public servants, Canberra has often suffered from something of an image problem. Yet, despite many Australians’ distaste for the political class (not to mention the city’s many roundabouts), more recently a new image of the nation’s capital has begun to take shape.

It is one of a young population living in a region surrounded by wildlife and bushlands and with a relative proximity to the coast. That it also has a number of breweries, and a growing number of good bars, doesn’t hurt – and shows it’s also a city with a thirst for local beer.

Among those sating that thirst are the people at Capital Brewing Co, an operation that grew out of long bar side chats between Tom Hertel and Laurence Kain, who ran the bar Hippo Co, and the brothers behind Batlow Cider Co, Richard and Sam Coombes. Conversations often revolved around putting the city and its surrounds front and centre and, when it came to beer, a shared affinity for the kind of bold, hop forward styles of America’s West Coast.

Ultimately, this led them to form Capital Brewing Co – and to San Diego, where they found their head brewer, Wade Hurley, who at the time was busy brewing at Coronado Brewing, having learnt the trade at Green Flash. Since signing on, Wade has been given free range over the beers and, though he also has a love of hops, it doesn’t mean his lineup is solely the domain of big, bold and bitter, with Coast Ale, a Californian Common, and the brewery’s seasonal coffee stout indicative of a broader range.

From Coast Ale to Evil Eye Red IPA (named after an old tree stump the Coombes’ family car often passed on weekends away), the beers tell the story of Canberra and its surrounds on their labels. These days, they’re brewed in Canberra too. Initially in 2016, Capital was launched with beers gypsy brewed in Sydney before they moved into their own brewery in Fyshwick late in 2017.

Located on Canberra’s outskirts, Fyshwick has historically been an industrial area, but in recent years there’s been a concerted effort to regenerate the area into a retail and hospitality centre. Within this space, you’ll find the likes of local coffee roasting legends Barrio and a rock climbing gym.

A 25 hectolitre brewhouse sits towards the back of their expansive warehouse, with an open space for dining in front. It’s the kind of setup that’s equal parts production and hospitality, where the steady stream of beers brewed for the wider Canberra population and drinkers further afield doesn’t make the Fyshwick venue any less of an enjoyable place to settle in for a bevvy or two.

A long timber bar encases the brewery’s 12 taps, which feature a rotating lineup of Capital beers alongside one dedicated to Batlow’s cider. Large shared tables turn the production hub into a social one, meaning once you’re through the front doors, it’s easy to forget you’re in an industrial lot.

Food is the domain of Canberran phenomenon Brodburger, the city’s cult food truck, which started out slinging burgers in local parks before finding a few permanent homes across town. Maybe the burgers help, or maybe it’s the promise of a few beers to accompany them, but the brewery is particularly effective at bringing in a large lunchtime crowd. Yet it’s in the post work hours and on weekends where Capital truly shines as students, families and cyclists and taxi loads file into a brewery with the capacity to fit upwards of 500 people.

The main beer garden out the front is a sprawling space that fills quickly each afternoon, suggesting any government ministers looking for ways to reinvigorate industrial areas should make sure they stop in for a beer.

As both locals and visitors head to Capital for long afternoons in the sun, and local bars fill their fridges with cans brewed by the capital’s growing band of brewers, Canberra’s long derided reputation is disappearing. Capital’s tagline is one of Good Natured Brews and, sure enough, that good nature can be found across the rest of the city too.

Will Ziebell

Capital Brewing Co

Building 3/1 Dairy Rd
ACT 2609

(02) 5104 0915
Open Hours

Wed to Sun: 11.30am to midnight


Sat & Sun: 2pm & 4pm

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

Capital Brewing Co Regulars

Capital Brewing Co XPA

Tapped September 16, 2020
Sure, they've gone big at times – literally in the case of the Big Drop IIPA – but if you were to summarise the approach Capital take when it comes to the beers they release in cans, considered and easy-going for style wouldn't be far off the mark. And when it comes to a contemporary Aussie beer style that brewers typically aim to deliver in a considered and easy-going manner, XPA is up there. So, is the XPA now found as part of the Canberra brewery's core range a Capital kind of beer? If anything,… Read more
30 IBU

Find XPA here

Capital Brewing Summit Session XPA

Tapped October 9, 2018
The Summit XPA from Capital Brewing has been around a fair while, at least relative to the brewery's still short existence. Initially a draught only pour, a short run was canned last summer exclusively for the Secret Garden Festival. Its popularity means it's now graduated to the brewery's core offering in time for summer 2018/19. While it may bear the name XPA, which as a category locally seems to be gravitating towards pale, light-bodied, hop forward pale ales around the 4.5 percent ABV mark, this… Read more
Mid-Strength XPA

Capital Brewing Co Rock Hopper IPA

Tapped March 29, 2018
If your head brewer is from San Diego, it’s surely only a matter of time before you brew a West Coast IPA. And so, while Capital Brewing didn’t launch with one in its range, it had always been the plan for head brewer Wade Hurley, who must have brewed such beers hundreds of times while at Green Flash and Coronado Brewing, to do just that. Thus Rock Hopper became one of the first beers brewed at Capital’s brewery in Fyshwick once they got it up and running – and its popularity at the taproom… Read more
West Coast IPA

Capital Brewing Co Springboard Summer Ale

Tapped December 1, 2017
For inspiration for Capital’s Springboard Summer Ale, head brewer Wade Hurley looked towards the American wheat ales of his homeland. Not to be confused with those of Europe, American wheat ales use a cleaner yeast – no clove and banana here, although he did add coriander seed to this one – and tend to be more hop forward, while retaining a lean body. Springboard pours a light golden with a substantial haze, with orange aromas first to leap from the beer, in part thanks to the orange peel in… Read more
American Wheat

Capital Brewing Co Trail Pale

Perhaps more than any other Capital beer, Trail Pale encompasses the brewery’s story to a T. The Capital founders, who all hail from Canberra, found head brewer Wade Hurley in San Diego and this beer is something of an America meets Australia pale ale. With Australia’s Ella and Galaxy hops matched with Simcoe and Cascade, it blends classic American hop aromas with those Australia is fast becoming known for. In both aroma and flavour, there’s clear tropical Aussie hop characteristics of citrus… Read more
Pale Ale

Capital Brewing Co Evil Eye Red IPA

Evil Eye is a red IPA which takes its named from an old tattooed tree stump just outside Canberra, which the Coombes brothers used to pass as children on their way to family outings. The beer also started out as Capital Brewing’s first seasonal but soon became a mainstay available throughout the year. Initially, designed with autumn in mind, this murky, rusty amber beer is loaded with a mixture of American and New Zealand hops, and pushes out fruity aromas of lychee, citrus, some spice and pine… Read more

Capital Brewing Co Coast Ale

The brewery’s flagship beer, Capital’s Coast Ale is designed with the beach, or perhaps drives towards it, in mind. Taking inspiration from the California Common style that originated in head brewer Wade Hurley’s homeland, Coast Ale is a sessionable and clean beer. Brewed with European noble hop varieties Saaz and Hallertau, as well as New Zealand’s Dr Rudi, the beer blends an underlying spiciness with light pine with some floral notes. There’s a hint of rich sweetness from the malt body… Read more
California Common

Capital Brewing Co Specials

Tapped February 15, 2021
Capital got into the loving feeling for Valentine's Day, releasing a new sour in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. Pucker Up was created ahead of the start of forthcoming exhibition Australian Love Stories "to reflect the sometimes sweet, sometimes sour nature of romantic love". The major exhibition developed by the National Portrait Gallery kicks off on March 20 as a celebration of love in all its guises – from the romantic, to the platonic, between friends, lovers, creative… Read more
Pear & Elderflower Sour

On tap at Capital's Fyshwick taproom

And select venues around Canberra

Capital Brewing Trop Pop Sour

Tapped November 26, 2020
Remember when sourness was something only found in the Aussie breweries of people who didn't know what they were doing or maintained filthy habits? Or in the fridges of the tiny band of Belgian beer cognoscenti? Or when adding fruit to beer was a fad that wouldn't last? It really wasn't that long ago, yet now it seems like one in every three beers landing at Crafty Towers is sour, laden with fruit, or, commonly, both. That's the case with Capital's summer seasonal, which arrives in your glass with… Read more
Fruit Sour
25 IBU

Find your nearest one here

Capital Brewing & ONA Roasters First Tracks Imperial Stout

Tapped June 17, 2020
It's a beer with a background story that runs to a few chapters. Then again, First Tracks is a beer that tells quite the story of its own. So let's start at the very beginning... The OG First Tracks was Capital's first ever seasonal release: a coffee-infused 5.2 percent ABV stout conceived with their coffee roasting mates at ONA. It's returned every winter since and their friendship even led to the formation of a heavy metal band named Peril featuring both brewers and roasters. In recent years, ONA's… Read more
Coffee Imperial Stout

Find stockists here

Capital Brewing Co Big Drop Double IPA

Tapped August 28, 2019
The beer lovers of Canberra know Big Drop. In fact, not only do they know it, many of them love it, with the beer picking up the second highest number of votes from ACT in our Best New Beers Of 2019 – So Far roundup, enough indeed to put the beer in our top 20 nationwide. And that's when the beer was still a draught only release the brewers had been tweaking over the past couple of years. Now it's been given a limited release in cans so punters further afield can get their hands on it too. The… Read more
Double IPA
90 IBU

Find the beer here

Capital Brewing Hang Loose Juice Blood Orange NEIPA

Tapped March 22, 2019
Sometimes you just can't keep a good thing down. Particularly when it's a hazy IPA in the current climate. This beer first appeared as a one-off collab between Capital and Royal Blood when the band was in Australia for the Groovin' The Moo festival series in 2018. It stood out from many band collabs, where keeping things toned down has been part of the aim, instead ratcheting up the juice factor to deliver a NEIPA with such character and potency it was brought back as Hang Loose Juice and notched… Read more
Blood Orange NEIPA

Available on the East Coast – find stockists here