Hudson Brewing threw open their taproom doors in December 2020, which was surely the best thing to happen to Wynnum since the opening of the railway line back in 1889.
Local beer tends to be a win for a suburb and Hudson Brewing was one of two planned to launch in the southern bayside suburb of Brisbane in 2020, although plans for the second fell through, with that space ultimately becoming a fish and chip shop.
Naturally, that left Richard and Sarah Hudson to fly the flag for independent, family-owned, locally-brewed beer in the community. Having lived all over Australia, the Hudsons settled in Wynnum ten years ago, where they made a home and embraced the community around them. Five years ago, they decided to build on the roots they’d put down and set out on the road to opening their brewery.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find Hudson Brewing set back a few streets from the water in a vaguely industrial setting near the train line. The space is bright and warehouse-style, with high ceilings and steel beams, a big timber bar, polished concrete floors, and those beautiful, gleaming stainless steel tanks visible from anywhere you perch.
Take a close look at the beer list and you’ll spot something unusual – what locals would call a pot, the Hudsons call a middy. It’s a nod to one of the quirks of beer drinking around Australia with our differently-named beer sizes; using the NSW and West Australian terminology in this Queensland brewery has proven to be a great conversation starter with visitors.
Pouring into those middies is an approachable core range consisting of a lager, session ale, IPA and a pale ale, alongside a seasonal kettle sour and a couple of small batch brews. There’s no kitchen, but on Fridays and Saturdays you’ll find a food truck parked outside to sate your hunger while you sip.
It’s a tight-knit community that surrounds Hudson, as evidenced by the first keg sold outside the brewery going to local venue Cedar & Pine Bar, and much of the beer that doesn't go across their own bar goes to local venues. This sense of community carries through the brewery, from the relaxed and welcoming vibe, to their drive to employ locals and their support for other local businesses and programs. Peek at the art around the bathrooms and you’ll find they’re pieces for sale from local initiative Blue Tongue Collectables, with each work created by a young person with disabilities.
It all adds up to an inviting and unpretentious spot in which to hang your hat, enjoy a beer, and feel like a local, even if you're not one.
To find out more about the brewery, we caught up with Richard as part of our Who Brews? series.
Who are you?
Sarah and I (Richard) have lived right across Australia.
I joined the navy straight out of school at 16 where I completed a fitter machinist apprenticeship. After doing my time, I’ve worked in industry everywhere from Sydney, Perth, Gove, Hunter Valley and Dalby.
I started homebrewing over 20 years ago, progressing from a Coopers kit to all-grain. It was about five years ago we decided to turn our dream into a reality by opening a brewery here in Wynnum, having put down roots here in 2011. I was probably more hesitant about the brewery but Sarah was the driving force and, without her, we’d probably still be talking about it…
We knew that if we were going to do this seriously I needed to understand the science behind the craft, which led me to complete a Grad Certificate in Brewing at Federation University. Being Wynnum locals, it was important to us both that we found a space close to home. The Gibbs Street locale ticked all the boxes and it really was about time that Wynnum had a brewery to call its own, and we’re proud to be part of Wynnum’s growth.
Where do you brew?
We brew in the heart of Brisbane’s bayside at our own brewery and taphouse right here in Wynnum.
Why do you brew?
Because we love making and drinking beer.
For me, it's a creative outlet and I get a real thrill seeing someone new come into the taphouse to drink your beer and actually enjoy it.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
There are so many great beers I remember but the one that sticks out in my memory most is Dogbolter. I was in Fremantle in 1989 and wandered into a bar and had a Dogbolter – it was the first craft beer I’d ever had and it left such an impression that I bought a glass and still have it today.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
We tried to think of a name that would belong to us, describe who and what we are about. In the end, we decided to use our surname. What better way to describe who we are? The brewery is about the community, and we are part of it.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
It would have to be our pale ale, named after our very own Australian blue cattle dog Mr Magoo. We wanted to include Magoo and have him spend more time with us down at the brewery but he gets too excited around people, so he gets a beer named after him.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Most likely Australian rock from 70s, 80s and 90s.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Black Hops Pale Ale, Newstead 3 Quarter Time and our own Fort Lytton Lager and All Seeing IPA
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
I recently volunteered as a steward for the RQFWS beer awards and I got to try a great number of beers that I normally wouldn’t have typically bought. A few that come to mind are the Iggy Hop from Moffat Beach and Felons Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout.
Where can people find your beers?
At our brewery for the moment. We’ve recently started canning so you can also pick up takeaways and we've also had a few kegs out to local bars from opening in December 2020.
[NB: At time of publication, Hudson Brewing were advertising for a sales rep, so if you'd like to help those beers get into more parts of Brisbane, here are the details.]
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
We have a few goals that we are quietly aiming for.
We hope to be employing an increased number of locals from the Wynnum community and become a recognised brand our consumers can rely upon for quality and consistency, as a "go to" beer.
It’d be great to have the grandkids starting to brew by then – the eldest is five now – so we can one day hand over the reins to family.