Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Boy, you've been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down.
For Beatles fans, these lyrics will take you straight back to the idiosyncratic joys of John Lennon's I Am The Walrus. They've gained greater relevance for Adelaide's beer fans recently too, courtesy of the team behind Brooklyn Park’s new brewery, Yellow Matter.
They opened their venue in late June 2023, inside the repurposed and renovated old council buildings in Marion Road. And it's as idiosyncratic a brewery venue as I Am The Walrus was a pop song, with a vibe transported from another era. You half expect Sean Connery-era James Bond to appear through one of the arched doorways with Martini in hand, to find Sophia Loren holding court on the curved couch of a booth (pictured below), or maybe even peak blue-eyed Paul Newman hustling on the pool tables.
At one end of the undeniably stylish space sits the brewery, the 850-litre brewkit and four accompanying fermenters providing a shiny contrast to the soft, warm hues elsewhere. At its helm is head brewer Tristan Barlow (pictured below), who brings with him years of brewing experience both in Australia and overseas, including stints at Kooinda, La Sirène and, most recently, Bodriggy.
The beers on tap are constantly changing but the core concept behind them remains the same: Tristan is a big fan of lower ABV beers suitable for a session. Hence the initial offering centred on approachable, well-made beers featuring the odd interesting tweak of a well-known style. Case in point, his amber sour utilising two forms of yeast: Lallemand's Philly Sour strain to lower the pH and Nordic kveik to finish things off.
As with the beers, the food menu is also designed to change over time, initially consisting of small vegetarian sharing plates and a selection of vegetarian pizzas.
While the venue has only been open a few weeks at time of publication, the owners are definitely not new to the hospitality world. Janie Kammer, founder of the Sonic Yoni group, is known to many for Richmond Road café Karma and Crow, while other ventures in the Sonic Yoni portfolio include online booze store Get Wet Wine Supply, with Leonard Cohen-referencing restaurant So Long, Marianne set to open next door to the brewery.
To find out more about the brewery, we invited the team to take us on a magical mystery tour down the long winding road to Yellow Matter. I've got a feeling you're going to like this entry into our long-running Who Brews...? series. Don't let me down...
Yellow Matter Brewing
Who are you?
We are lovers of good beer, good food and great hospitality. Collectively our backgrounds vary, but together we make a dynamic hospitality company. The team has 30-plus years of hospitality experience combined, with Tristan brewing for more than ten years.
Where do you brew?
Right here in Yellow Matter, Brooklyn Park!
Why do you brew?
The production side of beer has always been a fascination to the team, and creating a venue that has a strong hospitality focus combined with a producer’s perspective is really exciting to us.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Tristan: I don't think it was one beer in particular. But I moved to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 2011 and my eyes were opened to breweries like Driftwood, Phillips, Lighthouse, and Moon Under Water. Such an interesting and high quality variety of local beers that completely blew me away.
I'd done a couple wine vintages back in Australia and loved being in the cellar – moving that skillset into the brewery ended up working out alright!
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
We’re big fans of The Beatles and their song I Am The Walrus is a favourite, so Yellow Matter just fell into place as the perfect name for the brewery.
As a happy accident, it also lends itself really well to branding being two six-letter words with a double letter in the middle. As you can see with our new branding, we’re so excited about it.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
Tristan: There's an English Pale Mild on the menu which is a pretty mellow style of beer that I've wanted to make for a while. It's not over the top and in your face, but it's super comfy and approachable.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
A mix of 80s hits and classic tunes. Always fun, always upbeat and always a vibe.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
A real mix of everything really: Little Bang Face Inverter seems to be a staple as well as some incredible Wildflower beers which everyone should try. Hop Nation and Molly Rose are there too.
In the venue, we have a non-alc option from Heaps Normal as well as a mix of tinnies from other SA breweries.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
Tristan: I loved all the beers I had at Crafty Robot recently, and Shapeshifter have never made anything I didn't like. Kick Back's Welcome Stranger was tasting unreal when I was there, and the Session + Lime at Mismatch goes down an absolute treat.
Where can people find your beers?
For the moment, just at our home base in Brooklyn Park. Oddio had our Kolsch on tap a few weeks ago and that went down a treat, so we’re really looking forward to expanding into more venues around Adelaide. The feedback has been incredible so far, and we can’t wait to be on tap at your local.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
In everyone’s fridge, Esky, and hand! We have some big plans coming up in the future so watch this space...
You'll find Yellow Matter alongside hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues in the free Crafty Pint app, designed to help you find your nearest good beer wherever you are in Australia.