Luke Robertson and Emma Bemrose were being trapped in difficult lockdown when they made the decision to depart their dwelling in Melbourne and acquire a failed brewery in the remote city of Westport, on New Zealand’s South Island.
That was September 2021.
By Xmas, they’d designed it by means of govt-mandated quarantine in Christchurch, rescued the beforehand Canadian-owned West Coast Brewery from liquidation, and moved into a previous worker’s cottage a lot less than two kilometres away, overlooking the Tasman Sea.
The couple’s new enterprise, Shortjaw Brewing bar and taproom, opened this 12 months.
Observed for its large rainfall, mining heritage and predominantly performing-course inhabitants, Westport is one of the many standard locations of Ngāi Tahu, the key iwi (tribe) of the South Island. It was a single of the country’s first European gold mining settlements.
It’s also a area in which straight-speaking locals have very long claimed that “a 3-program food is two beers and a pie”– but occasions (and preferences) are changing in Westport.
“Talking about food and drink was the mainstay of our daily life in Melbourne,” Robertson claims when Broadsheet visits. “It’s not these types of a point in Westport – so we’re hoping to develop some of that conversation here.”
Robertson was eager to attempt his hand at proudly owning a brewery soon after composing and speaking about beer for yrs – he begun award-successful craft beer system Ale of a Time, which contains a web page and podcast, and wrote Keg Bottle Can: Best Beers for Every Event, a guideline to Australia’s craft beer scene. Digital designer Bemrose is initially from Shepparton and was captivated to the idea of existence in little-city New Zealand. Neither of them needed to see the brewery, which experienced been functioning below several names for virtually 30 a long time, shed for great.
Pay a visit to Shortjaw and you will likely fulfill Robertson, who’s guiding the bar four times a 7 days. Bemrose is centered at the co-doing work area up coming doorway.
Wherever the aim of the former West Coastline Brewery (and Miner’s Brewery just before that) was to mass generate lager and cider for a (typically) export sector, Shortjaw is keeping output smaller and aimed at locals, states Robertson.
“It’s about the encounter. We want individuals to appear in to style something new and master about the brewery. We don’t do formal excursions, but we’re pleased to choose you out back and demonstrate our determination to area producers.”
All the hops are sourced from the Nelson area and the malt is from Canterbury, he suggests. Not too long ago the crew lobbed a 6-pack of sizzling cross buns – practically – from Westport’s Rainbow Cake Kitchen into a batch of boiling red ale.
“We approached [the bakery] and they have been into it. The beer was good and sold out truly rapidly. Our intention is to join with our community through foods and consume. In Westport, there are exciting individuals almost everywhere you search and we’re eager to function with them.”
With its no-frills decor and large ceiling, Shortjaw is a place that invites dialogue. Sit at the bar’s central wooden desk or slip into a brick-lined booth to sample head brewer Marc Gardiner’s little-batch beers and chat to Robertson while you’re at it. The crimson ale spiked with espresso from Nourish Nook (a nearby espresso cart) is a lover favorite.
You can also grab a takeaway pack of Shortjaw’s 3 signature brews – a basic European-design pilsner, a contemporary New Zealand pale ale and the Kiwi Darkish Lager.
Yet another point of variance for the spot is the wine providing. On tap are wines from accredited natural and organic and biodynamic New Zealand maker However Life Wines, now like a rosé, a sauvignon blanc and a pinot noir. There is also Funds Cider from nearby Nelson and glowing drinking water on faucet.
Soon, the pair will throw open Shortjaw’s roller doorways for a pop-up space wherever Westport food stuff makers can showcase their abilities. On the as-nevertheless-unconfirmed line-up are an ex-chef (and latest patron) specialising in American barbeque, and a local cook famous for her topnotch Indonesian rendang.
The faint smell of burning coal permeates the road when a pair drops in. They’re from Small Wanganui, about 77 kilometres north of Westport. They get a takeaway six-pack and inquire to flavor two Shortjaw tap beers whilst eyeing the do-it-yourself cheese toasties on the day’s menu.
10 minutes afterwards, an additional few pops in to fill up a rigger (a flagon, in Kiwi-discuss) for residence.
“It’s terrific to have so a great deal neighborhood assist,” claims Robertson, pouring a compact glass of Shortjaw’s Rakau Pale as he talks.
“People of all ages stroll in off the avenue to notify us they are so pleased we’re below. For us, it is early days. The transfer is nevertheless pretty uncooked. But it’s wonderful. There are certainly moments when you’re going for walks on the beach front, listening to the roar of the ocean and feeling like you’re dwelling on the edge of the earth.”
+64 (03) 789 4079
10 Lyndhurst Avenue, Westport
Wed to Sat 12pm–7pm