The friendship group behind Reckless Brewing sounds like something out of a sitcom: Alice and Grace met when they were kids, and became better friends over the years; Alice and Jarrod became friends at uni, where they were both studying science; in time, the three of them started all hanging out together, which led to Grace and Jarrod getting married.
As it did for many of us, the trio's beer journey started with bad homebrew – in Jarrod’s bathtub when he was 18 – and the cheapest beer they could find: Alice sneakily became a member of the engineering department so she could get $5 jugs at the uni bar. (Don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch this sitcom.)
But when they took a trip across America together in 2012, that all changed. It was here they all fell madly in love with flavoursome beer; over the course of their trip they went from drinking $1 Coors Lights to exploring brewpubs in Portland. They all remember their first encounter with an IPA – “What is this?! Beer with flavour!” – but they equally remember arriving back in Australia and struggling to find beers that met their new preferences.
Grace got a job at a bottleshop as the craft movement was gathering momentum, giving the three the opportunity to try a range of local beers. But the next job change was the big one, when a friend asked Grace offhand one day: “Do you know anyone looking for a job in a brewery?”
She quickly replied, “I’ll do it!” and started at Icon Brewing, where she developed her knowledge and skillset, all while learning from a range of visiting brewers. Meanwhile, Jarrod and Alice looked on in wide-eyed wonder; they were homebrewing with a Grainfather by this point, and were obsessed with the science of beer and brewing.
Alice says: “We’d read the science, the text books, the IBD study materials… but Grace gave us a window into the world of brewing we couldn’t get otherwise.”
Jarrod adds: “For Grace, it was her job. For us it was: how cool is this?!”
When Icon shut down, Grace got a job brewing at Akasha, where she still works. This opportunity for further experience, and to use the lab and learn more about quality control, boosted her confidence and skills to a point where she was itching to make her own beer. At the same time, Jarrod and Alice were having similar thoughts.
For Alice, it was a well-considered, patient approach: “I always wanted to have my own business, and I was just waiting for the right inspiration. And it worked out perfectly – we all love beer, we love everything about the industry, the welcoming community, the vibe, the intellectual side to it… it ticked all the boxes for me.”
For Jarrod, it was more from the gut: “You work for The man, you make the big corporations rich… but you reach an age you want to do something for yourself. And you think, ‘How cool would it be to open your own brewery?’.
"There’s a voice on one side that sits there and says, ‘You’ll never make money; you’ll sink millions of dollars in; hundreds of people are trying to do this; it’s the lowest paid industry in Australia’…
"But we ignored that voice, and went with the one that says, ‘How cool is beer?!’.”
So began the story of Reckless. Two years on, and the gypsy brewing outfit have just released their first beer, a pale ale. It took 17 trials and tweaks to get to the final recipe, with Jarrod and Alice giving feedback at each stage to the tune of: “We want more summer in this beer!” and “I want to taste friendship!”
Somehow, Grace managed to work with these intangible requests – “It’s important to get the feels right,” she says with a modest shrug – to get to the winning recipe.
[Note: This writer has tasted Reckless Brewing’s Pale Ale… and you really can taste the summer and the friendship. They taste like Simcoe, Galaxy and Citra, and they taste delicious.]
Reckless is off to a strong start, with feedback from the market already pushing them to double production for their next batch. They’re currently developing an IPA recipe (up to batch eight, and almost there...), which they’re looking to release this summer.
A final note about the name Reckless: when the trio were looking for a name for their new company, they came together with a list of sixty potentials. But when a certain classic Aussie rock song started playing, they threw the list away and latched onto the name Reckless.
So don’t be surprised if the song is stuck in your head for the rest of the day. But don’t expect any sympathy from this writer, either – I’ve had it in my head for the past fortnight.
Read on to hear more from the Reckless crew as part of our Who Brews...? series.
Who are you?
Grace, Alice, and Jarrod. We've been best friends for over ten years. Grace and Alice went to school together, Alice and Jarrod went to uni together, and Grace and Jarrod are now married.
Grace - co-founder and head brewer. Grace is a multi award winning brewer and has been in the industry for almost a decade. She is currently also the brewer at Akasha Brewing Co in Five Dock. She is our artist.
Alice – co-founder. Alice is our brains; she is a chartered accountant and has the insane task of making sure we have checked all our boxes in a very regulated industry. Alice also has a science degree, which brings invaluable insight.
Jarrod – co-founder. He brings the beard. Jarrod is our scientist; he currently works in the grain industry as a data scientist and is a supply chain specialist.
Where do you brew?
We previously contract brewed out of Frenchies in Alexandria, Sydney (Thanks Vince!), but with higher volumes required, we have just moved to Sauce Brewing in Marrickville.
Why do you brew?
We brew because we love everything about this industry. Nobody comes into this industry to be rich. We all work for other companies, and we have a common dream. If we can make a living doing what we love, then that is a pretty damn satisfying way to make it through life.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Jarrod was given a homebrew kit around 15 years ago, and at the time it was nothing more than simple curiosity. Grace became a brewer many years ago, and things snowballed from there. Alice has been a beer aficionado from our days at uni.
A trip to Portland when we were 21 opened our eyes to an amazing craft beer community, fuelled our passion and set us on our adventure. This eventually lead to a boisterous Saturday night – “We should start our own brewery!” – which became Sunday breakfast meetings – “What’s our next step for starting our own brewery?” – to now working two jobs and spending every waking hour obsessed with making this dream a reality.
What beers have you released to date?
We've literally just launched with our first beer in September 2019. We started with our Pale Ale because we love drinking this beer and it’s perfect for summer. We've been working on this recipe for a couple of years and we're super excited to be sharing it with everyone.
Where can people find your beers?
We're currently in bottleshops, pubs, and restaurants throughout Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the Snowy Mountains. We also have an online store.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
What we wanted in a name was something that was simple, represents who we are, and is memorable.
RECKLESS: take a chance, be adventurous, but not stupid.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
This is a little biased as Grace works at Akasha Brewing. So plenty of their Mosaic IPA, the DDH IPA and a Korben D. We also have some Balter XPAs, Sauce Lemon, Lime and Bitters Brut IPA and Bridge Road pales.
Which beers are found in your fridge most frequently?
Depends on the time of year! We can’t go past pale ales, IPAs and lagers in summer, and red IPAs and stouts in winter. We like to mix it up, but you can usually find Balter, Akasha, Hop Nation, Philter, and Grifter.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
Our dream is to have our own tasting room and physical brewery with heaps of different beers on tap, a chilled out vibe, and to be an invaluable part of our local community. We want our brewery to be giving back to the community that supports us and provides us with our livelihood. We want people to reach for a Reckless beer when heading to a BBQ with friends, because they know a Reckless beer is always refreshing, delicious, and perfect to share.
You can keep up with what Grace, Alice and Jarrod are up to by following them on Facebook or Instagram, or by checking out the Reckless Brewing website.
You can also check out other entries in the Who Brews...? series here.