“Love Thy Neighbour, Love Their Beer” is the motto which epitomises The Suburban Brew’s embrace of a strong community, and an ethos centred around fostering good conversation and a supportive, welcoming environment at their Adelaide taproom.
The name was sparked by the time when owner Tony Dichiera and his family moved into a new neighbourhood. In an attempt to get to know his new neighbours and local community better, he would take his homebrew around to share, along with wife Caty’s baked goods, as an icebreaker.
It was a policy that made clear he wanted to be seen as approachable and someone keen to be involved in his local environment, both qualities he believes are encapsulated by Suburban’s taproom today.
Digging a little deeper into Suburban’s origin story and you end up in a New South Wales country pub in Wentworth, close to the border with Victoria. Tony’s parents owned a pub for 25 years, instilling in their son a love for the hospitality industry and a knack for hosting people and their families.
Over the years, Tony moved to Adelaide to study accounting at uni, which is where the brewing began; initially to save a bit of money, he started where most homebrewers start: the good old Coopers homebrew kits.
Fast forward from there and, just as Tony entered the workforce, he flew west to catch up with his brother. While in WA, he visited the Swan Valley, calling into the likes of Feral and Mash, and ducking into Little Creatures in Freo too, with the trip sparking an interest in beer with more flavour.
In 2013, he moved to London to work and travel and here he really began to take his brewing knowledge and love for the art of brewing up a notch. Searching far and wide, through online classified pages for a job in the craft beer sector, he landed on a brewery that was looking to sell. Tony rang the owner for a chat and ended up volunteering his time in exchange for experience in the brewery, lending a hand everywhere from helping with the books, to making sales calls, cleaning out the mash tun and kegging.
The experience proved invaluable and, on his arrival back into Adelaide, he looked to further expand his learnings. He started with an advanced homebrewers course at TAFE SA with local mastermind Stephen Nelsen, meeting his now business partner Troy Brailsford, who brought experience working in the hospitality and drinks industries for more than a decade.
Troy’s path through the booze world included managing Sturt Street Cellars, distilling at Applewood Distillery, working behind the bar at Little Bang, and roles at a few other crafty venues. Now, as well as managing the taproom, he oversees the sales side of the business.
Following the completion of the TAFE course, Tony studied the IBD preparation course, which allowed Suburban to contract their first beers through the TAFE. They launched in August 2017 with a Black IPA, a style that was hard to find locally at the time and which was quickly followed by an ESB and a tropical, light pale ale, which was well received, earning an honourable mention in The Crafty Pint’s Best New SA Beers of 2017.
As for the next move, Tony was reluctant to hand over his recipes to contract brewers, as he wanted to be more involved; as a result, the brand was put on ice for a spell while he weighed up his options.
After producing a few keg batches in the Clare Valley, he got in touch with Fil Kemp from Little Bang Brewing, who at the time were about to move into a bigger facility. It turned out to be perfect timing, as Tony was offered a space to place his own fermenters and strike up a brewing agreement that allowed him to brew and package his first few beers into cans there. By late 2020, with Little Bang having expanded yet again, leaving no room for Tony’s beer, he was lucky enough to find space at Big Shed, who’d also recently moved into their own bigger shed.
Arguably the most important step in his long journey took place in September 2020 when Suburban’s taproom opened on Goodwood Road, a hop, skip and a jump away from the closest tram stop and only three stops from the Adelaide’s CBD. Taking over part of a former adult store and warehouse, he created a warm and inviting community space complete with its very own Stobie pole to add to its Suburban feel.
Head in and you’ll find eight taps pouring all of Suburban’s beers, a cider which they’ve made in collaboration with local SA winemaker Rusty Bike, and a rotating neighbourhood guest tap, as well as a pinball machine, a handy kids play area, an expansive outdoor beer garden and, of course, a brew kit ready to pump out one-off batches. Food comes in the form of BYO or, on occasions, a food truck on the front pavement.
As for those beers, the core range consists of the original Black IPA, ESB and Pale Ale, while an IPA and a Session Ale have since been added to the list. Suburban’s limited releases have come in the form of everything from an East Coast IPA and Hazy Pale to a Raspberry Stout and a Salted Chocolate Fig Stout. Proving they are a genuinely community-minded company, Tony also loves to team up with local SA companies.
Looking at the next steps, Tony and Troy are working on finding a space to build their own brewery, a place where they can bring their core range in-house while continuing to experiment with limited releases and seasonals.