Down by the powerful surf breaks of Coffs Harbour, there’s more than waves and riptides brewing. Three guys with very different skillsets have come together for a single purpose: the relentless pursuit of awesome beer.
Head brewer Glen McCann lays the foundations in the lab while Kurt Ramsay adds a generous dose of craft industry experience and design skill. This already potent concoction is rounded out by Tom Pritzler’s eye for hospitality and a marketing style which lets you know exactly why the fruits of this project should be filling your next schooner. Together, this dream team forms Gallows Brewing Company, named after one of the boys’ favourite surf spots and representing their love for all things dank and heavy.
Since they’re a beer-focused microbrewery, their doors aren’t always open to the public, but when they are, you can expect to find every genre of metal churning up their stereo. Don’t think this intensity makes Gallows an unfriendly place though; these guys really love their community.
“Coffs is a city, but we love that small town feel and being able to contribute what we can to local business,” is how they put it.
To that end, Gallows have previously opened their space for an art show, and you’ll often find their brews featuring as coveted prizes in local competitions.
“The Gallows vibe is laidback, fun – what beer should be” Kurt says. “We love beer, you love beer, so let’s hang out!”
Speaking of beer, their philosophy is to “brew the beer we like to drink first and fill out the gaps later,” according to Kurt. “We have a great local following, so it’s easy to keep true to what we like without feeling like we have to cover every base all at once.”
Just like their favourite surf break, Gallows is one spot off the beaten path in Coffs you can’t afford to miss, but we’ll let the guys tell you more themselves as we find out Who Brews Gallows beers…
Gallows Brewing Co
Who are you?
We’re three mates hell-bent on producing good beer.
Glen McCann is the experienced head brewer. He’s created a range of award-winning beers and has received positive feedback on his Gallows brews so far.
Kurt Ramsay has a detailed understanding within the craft beer industry through extensive experience in alcohol retail, including management. He also has design and sales experience.
Tom Pritzler has hospitality management and marketing experience across a variety of roles, plus a strong professional background in social research.
We met in a Brisbane share house over 15 years ago, and quickly bonded over our appreciation for beer. After going our separate ways to pursue careers, start families and travel, we reconnected in 2018 in Coffs Harbour – our childhood home. It was around this time that we decided to explore our passion for beer once again and try and turn it into a business. We realised that each of us brought with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that complemented each other and created a foundation for the early success we are experiencing today. This was the beginning of Gallows Brewing Co.
Where do you brew?
We currently contract brew out of Wicked Elf in Port Macquarie. We’ve put quite a few brews down there now and the guys are always super helpful. Shout out to Wicked Elf!
Why do you brew?
We brew because it’s something we are passionate about. We love beer! We love everything about it and we tend to brew beers that we love to drink, as well as making beers were proud of and want to share with our friends and every beer lover out there.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
There was a beer. Glen our head brewer started out homebrewing. After years working on his craft, he started to produce some top quality beers. One of these early beers was a choc coffee stout. He entered it in a few local competitions and it did well.
Because of this we realised that perhaps the world of brewing was something we could take on; this was the beginnings of Gallows Brewing Co and that choc coffee stout was our launch beer named Catalyst.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
We really wanted to epitomise what it means to be a local brewery and therefore eventually settled on naming ourselves after a Coffs surf break, Gallows. It also has a double meaning; we are interested in the darker side of things too like heavy metal, so the name just suited all round.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
Trapdoors really resonates with who we are as a brewery. It's one of our two original launch beers, it's full flavoured with a solid ABV and stylistically it’s on trend. Plus, we are still in love with the label. Trapdoors is all of us rolled into one!
If you could have any person in the world join you on a brew day, who would it be, and why?
Sam Calagione (of Dogfish Head). He is a master at his craft and it would be awesome to be able to pick his brain about his creative process and unique take on beers.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Chances are what you’re going to hear is something pretty heavy. We love heavy music, so much so that the style influences our label designs and even our merch. Whether it’s hardcore punk, metalcore or death metal, we love it!
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Definitely a bunch of Gallows. Our new hazy pale, Lost Days, is perfect for the warmer months and is pretty sessionable at 5 percent. I have a few four-packs in there at the moment. I also have some Sanctus beers, and Kurt has a beer advent calendar!
What would be your desert island beer of choice?
How long are we on the island for?! Instinct says let’s smash a solid IIPA but common sense probably says a solid session beer haha. Being an unbiased bunch of blokes, were obviously grabbing a never-ending esky of Lost Days Hazy Pale.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
King Tide Brewing are throwing down some excellent beers lately. Josh King’s Baltic Porter is a stand out definitely.
Is there a particular style, ingredient, or trend in beer you'd like to explore further?
We love everything about the creative process of brewing beers. Unfortunately, as gypsy brewers we don’t have as much freedom to explore everything we want to. We’ve thrown around the idea of a few small batch beers and when given the chance we’d love to explore variations of anything and everything, especially IPAs.
What beers have you released to date?
We initially brewed two beers for launch, a West Coast IPA called Trapdoors and a choc coffee stout called Catalyst. We expanded a range after this with a mango and pineapple sour and a tropical pale ale called Tempest. We also brewed a limited release collab beer with Grassy Knoll called Children of the Koast that was a hit.
Where can people find your beers?
Our beers are currently stocked at the Coffs Hotel Bottleshop, Boambee IGA Bottleshop, Jetty Cellars, The Seaview Hotel, The Pier Hotel, The Hoey Moey, Element Bar, Sam’s Place in Woolgoolga… all great local businesses.
Online via mybeerdealer.com.au, thebeerdrop.com.au and a handful of Brisbane stockists too, thanks to brewing our first few batches in Brisbane.
We are super active on social media so if you’re struggling to find a beer message us and we’ll get back to you with more information. Cheers!
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
We hope to soon establish a brewery that we can call our own. That’s a long road so, in the meantime, we want to continue producing great beers that appeal to our customers but still stick tight to our values and who we are!
You can find Gallows Brewing Co on Facebook and check out more entries in our Who Brews...? series here.