The Coastal Brewing Company

Forster possesses the kind of force that draws people in. The coastal getaway in New South Wales and its twin town of Tuncurry are surrounded by pristine waterways, and sandwiched between Wallis Lake to the west and the Pacific to the east.

The glistening waters and beaches of the Barrington Coast see the place fill regularly with swimmers, surfers and boaters, variously searching for dolphins, hoping to spot a whale, or catch their next meal. Indeed, Forster is so famed for Sydney Rock Oysters that you can’t help but feel the name is a little bit misleading – although maybe the name for the sought-after molluscs was chosen in tribute to the Sydneysiders who escape up the coast at every chance.

Since 2017, The Coastal Brewing Co has offered yet another reason to visit the region. Founders Helen and David Black were among the many Sydneysiders entranced by the town, its beaches and the lifestyle that comes with living there. Having decided to leave both the city and their corporate careers behind, the couple first built a house in the area then decided they should go out on a limb as small business owners.

By this point in their lives, David had already spent around two decades homebrewing and both he and Helen regularly filled their travels overseas with as many brewery visits as they could manage. After enjoying the hospitality of brewers in other parts of the world, they wanted to recreate the experience of visiting a new town in the knowledge it would bring with it the chance to enjoy a locally-made beer or two in Forster.

The beers they brew aren’t just made on the Barrington Coast – they serve as a tribute to the region too: each bears the name of a local landmark, waterway or beach. The Coastal logo also features one of the town’s most recognisable and graceful creatures, although unlike an actual pelican, the brewery’s “Beer That Fits The Bill” is designed to enhance your visit, rather than disturb you as you tuck into fish and chips by the beach.

While Coastal's beers act as a fine advertisement for the regional town, Helen and David made sure they created a brewery with the local community at its heart. If there’s a festival or event nearby, Coastal are likely to be a part of it; since launching, Helen and David have also slowly but steadily gone about introducing different styles to locals.

The brewery itself sits in an industrial pocket of Forster and is a production brewery with an accompanying taproom rather than a brewpub and kitchen setup. Call in and, more often than not, David and Helen will be there to talk you through their beers and share their story. Food at the brewery consists of the light snacks / cheeseboard variety, and neighbouring businesses and the occasional food truck are entrusted to provide heartier fare.

The decision to not operate like a pub or club, and to stop serving by early evening, was driven in part by a desire to ensure they didn't compete with the venues that have their beer on tap. Since launching, Helen and David have been well supported by local venues, so this is a way of reciprocating that support – and allowing the couple to maintain focus on their primary role at Coastal: making beer.

They do so on a 1,200 brewhouse and send cans and kegs to an ever-expanding number of locations along Australia’s east coast. As a small, family-run business, the Coastal growth path has been one of organic growth: they’ve steadily added larger fermenters and upgraded their canning line (to 42 cans per minute at time of writing) as required before spreading their reach that little bit further.

Their core range consists of local favourites Town Lager, Boomerang Beach Pale Ale, Palms Pale, Treachery XPA and Black Head Milk Stout, but in the first half decade of operation alone they'd released more than 60 different beers. Of those, it has been their “Very” series of NEIPAs, Hearts Point hazy pale, and barrel-aged releases that have been garnering most attention from craft beer aficionados across NSW, the ACT and, more recently, Melbourne.

Look beyond the beer names and you’ll find more connecting the brewery to the natural beauty of the Barrington Coast too: beers often showcase the region’s produce, be that oranges or honey. It’s in keeping with the region’s burgeoning reputation as a food trail as well as a coastal destination, a change that draws people in whether they’re in search of local bread, cheese, gin or the aforementioned oysters.

And, of course, beer, something The Coastal Brewing Co has been using to draw people in since 2017.

Will Ziebell

The Coastal Brewing Company

3 Dalman Street
NSW 2428

(02) 6554 7886
Open Hours

Thurs to Sat: 11am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 4pm)
Extended opening during holiday periods

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The Coastal Brewing Company Regulars

The Coastal Brewing Co Town Lager

You can really understand the challenge The Coastal Brewing Co’s founders had when choosing a name for their core range lager. Helen and David Black’s town is called Forster, and they love celebrating their home and its surrounds through the naming of their beers, but Forster Lager could surely get you into a bit of trouble, a rogue "r" notwithstanding. So instead they opted Town Lager, in honour not only of the town but also its main beach. The beer itself is likely one you’d enjoy… Read more
Aussie Lager

The Coastal Brewing Co Boomerang Beach Pale

Boomerang Beach Pale Ale takes its name from one of one of Forster’s most popular beaches, with Boomerang the kind of place people like to visit again and again. It’s a classic surf beach so it’s fitting the beer would follow a path that’s just as classi: an American pale ale that shares a close affinity with the beers that helped fire the craft beer revolution overseas. It pours a slightly orange colour with the lightest touch of biscuit malt, while the very traditional combination of American… Read more
American Pale Ale

The Coastal Brewing Co Palms Pale

Pacific Palms sits at the opposite side of Wallis Lake to Forster and, like The Coastal Brewing Co’s hometown, residents and visitors can enjoy pristine views over the Pacific Ocean. It’s those moments that have inspired the brewery’s Pacific ale, Palms Pale, a sessionable beer brewed with wheat malt, barley and nothing but Galaxy hops that deliver a soft, tropical hit. Drink it in on the beach and you’ll find a fruit-heavy medley of passionfruit, peach and citrus. In fact, even if you're… Read more
Pacific Ale

The Coastal Brewing Co Treachery XPA

The humble XPA is the kind of beer style that gives brewers plenty of scope to explore their creativity when it comes to recipe development. Is the X referring extra hops? Extra alcohol? Or does it say we can expect the beer to be extra pale. For The Coastal Brewing Co, Treachery XPA is mostly about lots of hops, using a blend of varieties from New Zealand, while rolled oats in the malt grist ensure it’s smooth and soft in texture too. On the hop front, those Kiwi varieties provide lime, pear and… Read more

The Coastal Brewing Co Black Head Milk Stout

There's many a beach to choose from near The Coastal Brewing Co’s home of Forster, but Black Head Beach is one that visitors to the region should never miss. The beach’s great surf, picnic areas, Norfolk Island Pines and ocean pool make Black Head feel like the kind of place you’re more likely to find in a television series than in real life. It’s even picked up multiple awards and I didn’t even know there were competitions a beach could enter. Coastal’s Black Head Milk Stout is sweeter… Read more
Milk Stout

The Coastal Brewing Company Specials

The Coastal Brewing Co Bo Bo IPA, Mungo Mango IPA & Very Bonny NEIPA

Published February 1, 2022
There’s obviously much love for IPA variants in Forster, with The Coastal Brewing Co regularly finding new ways to explore hops, as these three beers demonstrate. Bo Bo IPA is named after for the Bo Bo Creek, while the name also alludes to the blood orange purĂ©e added to the beer. The brewery also used Nectaron and Citra Cryo hops in to push out a huge amount of citrus flavour, which sits somewhere between fresh orange juice and grapefruit. With lactose, flaked and malted oats all in the mix too,… Read more
Oat Cream IPAs
6.4% & 6.3% & 6.6%

The Coastal Brewing Co Wallis Weizen

Published January 3, 2022
Lake Wallis requires no introduction for anyone who’s ever stepped foot in Forster, with the great coastal lake one of the town’s key drawcards and one reason the area’s population swells so much in summer. If you are in Forster or its surrounds in summer, you may well find the best way to relax after spending time kayaking through Wallis is with a Wallis Weizen in hand. The American wheat beer from The Coastal Brewing Co is one of their most regularly-returning seasonals, based upon a grist… Read more
American Wheat Ale