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Thunder Road Brewing Collaboration

We are delighted to announce Will Kemper owner of Chuckanut Brewery USA will join Thunder Road Brewing Company in Melbourne Australia for the February 2014 “ Summer Invitational International Collaboration Brew Series”.


Essentially, this will be the World’s First “Skype Collaboration” . Will Kemper will be  brewing the first two beers by Skype with our brew team  and 6 weeks later, tasting the beers   when he arrives for a well earned holiday in Australia.

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen is based in Bellingham, Washington State, and is one of the most technologically sophisticated brewpubs in the world.

Created by Will Kemper, an American microbrewery pioneer, Chuckanut Brewery has become one of the most award winning small breweries in the United States.


Will Kemper from Chuckanut Brewery and Thunder Road Brewing Company’s Master Brewer Colin Paige together with Senior Brewer Marcus Cox will lead the 2014 brew event.

Will Kemper started in the 1980′s as a home brewer when there were less than 30 total craft breweries in America. Will was one of the first graduates of the Master Brewers Program at UC Davis California under the guidance of Prof. Michael Lewis . His brewing attitude and beer philosophy speaks for itself “ We will never be known for our PR or BS abilities. Our beers are simply right on for the technical aspects. To that end we are cutting edge as far as many modern day brewing techniques and procedures. “


Will Kemper and Chuckanut beers  inspired Thunder Road Brewing Company  to focus on quality, innovation and   balanced yet flavoursome beers.  We feel honoured and proud to have Will and Mari Kemper finally visit Australia and brew with us.


Chuckanut’s fine beers and Awards include :

12 Great American Beer Festival  + 2009 Small Brewpub of the Year + 2011 Small Brewery of the Year Awards

Kolsch German Ale: Gold GABF, Silver GABF, Silver World Beer Cup, NABA Gold, NABA Silver

Helles Lager: Gold GABF, Silver NABA, Gold NABA 2013, Gold WA Beer Awards 2013

Pilsner Lager: Bronze GABF 2010, Silver GABF 2009, Bronze NABA, NW Readers Choice Gold 2010- 2011-2012, The Brewing Network Beer of the Year 2012, Silver WA Beer Awards 2013

Alt German Ale: Bronze GABF and Gold NABA 2013

Dunkel Lager: Silver GABF, Gold GABF, Gold World Beer Cup, Gold NABA, Gold NABA, Silver NABA 2013, Bronze WA Beer Awards 2013

Vienna Lager: Gold GABF, Silver GABF, Gold GABF, NW Readers Choice Gold 2012, Silver NABA 2013

Schwarz Bier: Silver GABF

Bock: Silver NABA, NW Readers Choice Gold 2010

Fest Bier (Lager): NW Reader’s Choice Gold 2011

Yellow Card Golden Ale: Gold NABA 2013, Silver WA Beer Awards 2013


Historic Terry’s Ale On Tap Y&J’s Every Day!

August 30 is Melbourne’s birthday – the day the city was founded when settlers landed on the north bank of the Yarra River from the schooner Enterprize in 1835.



Each year we hold events to mark the day Melbourne was founded. Pubs, hotels, cafés, restaurants, retail and city attractions want to give you a present for Melbourne Day. A week-long program of events includes many free and family friendly events. To Join in the Celebrations, Thunder Road has brewed 4 amazing authentic Melbourne Colonial beers from our recipe archive library. Our Lord Mayor , the Honourable Robert Doyle was quick off the mark, getting in early! So come join the party this year and celebrate. These rare Ales specially brewed for Melbourne’s 178th year are only available in Chloe’s bar.


Melbourne’s Early Colonial Beer Brewing Beginnings 1840’s – 1899

Melbourne was built on beer. The water was contaminated. But beer was safe. You could never die from beer. And it tasted good most of the time. And Government support was strong. They realised the importance of locally produced beer as a temperance drink, which with lower alcohol than rum and spirits, would also combat the effects of excess drinking. But a compelling reason was encouraging local employment and growth of both primary and secondary industries like barley, hops and the factories that would lead to other industries.

Not only will you enjoy the beers of Melbourne’s past, but also hopefully learn about the long forgotten history and characters that made Melbourne such a liveable city.

Condell’s Entire Ale 1840’s –: A blend of two beers, Montgomeries Ordinary Ale and Terry’s Ale. The best of both. Blending beers helped make Henry Condell rich, a beer he called Condell’s Entire.

Henry Condell’s Story – Brewer and Melbourne’s First Lord Mayor

The first mayor of Melbourne in 1842 until 1844 , Henry Condell, was a brewer and astute businessman. Port Philip before December 1842 had no municipal council, rather a committee system.

“Condell’s Entire” -as he called his full-bodied ale which blended two beers, usually a strong beer and lighter ales – flowed that night for the asking. As a result, the enthusiastic meeting decided to “place in nomination” Messrs Condell. On 9 December the new Council met at the Royal Hotel behind closed doors and Henry Condell was chosen as the first Mayor of Melbourne. No doubt, thanks to his fine ale!

Edward Latham – boom to bust – a true Melbourne Beer Baron 1870’s-1900’s

Latham’s Colonial Ginger Stout . This unique stout is brewed with real ginger. Ginger Stout was often sold as a low or no alcohol temperance drink, with health benefits. It wasn’t unusual to see Ginger Stouts promoted as “non intoxicating” and “improves stamina” . Little did the drinker ( or brewer) realize, these non intoxicating ales often re-fermented in the barrel to 5-8% alcohol content.


Edward Latham’s Story – Boom to Bust




Edward Latham was born in Liverpool England on July 20 1839. In Australia, Latham looked for a business venture and decided on brewing. He bought a small brewery in Bouverie Street called the Carlton Brewery. He acquired the land around the brewery and extended the brewery buildings The brewery became a Melbourne landmark for more than 100 years.

Edward Latham became one of the wealthiest but would soon lose it all. By 1883 he had sold out, a rich man. He bought for £6000 a holiday home at Queenscliff for the use of Anglican clergy of the Melbourne diocese. He also contributed generously to the building of St Paul’s Cathedral. He had also helped to establish at the Carlton brewery one of the first volunteer fire brigades in Australia. He also built which is now The Pratt’s family home Raheen in Kew.

Edward’s daughter Bertha married William Baillieu a founder of the Real Estate Bank and subsequent political Melbourne family. But Latham was drawn into land speculation by guaranteeing Baillieu’s overdrafts. Both lost heavily when these banks were suspended during the Victorian Great Depression of the 1890’s. Latham now having lost most of his money, took over the Findlay’s Southern Brewery in Richmond but his finances did not recover. Aged 65 he died at his home, Knowsley, Camberwell, on 3 July 1905 with a fraction of his original wealth.

Alfred Terry – Rebirth of the Australian Running Ale – Terry’s Ale 1870’s

Terry’s Ale : Rich, orange, thick and lush , unique small batch slow brewed with Mauritius sugar and English hops…the taste of Colonial Melbourne



Alfred Terry’s Story

Alfred Terry became the brewer at the Carlton Brewery in 1865 alongside Edward Latham . The chance discovery of Alfred Terry’s notebook in 2013 and its documented detailed recipe enabled this recreation of an early Colonial Ale. The fact the recipe was bound into his notebook indicates how important it was to Terry and therefore was most likely the one that he brewed for the original Carlton Brewery. Many a pints of this Colonial Ale would have been enjoyed at Y&J’s from the 1870’s. Terry’s brewing knowledge and experience helped turn the brewery into a successful business. He stayed on as brewer until 1881. But Terry’s Ale lives forever.

Montgomeries New Brewery and Young & Jackson




Montgomerie’s Ordinary Ale . A highly drinkable sparking ale with a mild bitter finish. Perfect with dinner, lunch or even breakfast!

Robert King Montgomerie’s Story

R.K. Montgomerie was Head Brewery of a City Brewery in Collins Street during the 1880’s. Montgomerie was paid on result and was reputed to earn as much as £12,000 a year in the early 1880s. Enough to build his own brewery , “the NEW BREWERY” at the corner of Jeffcott Street and King Street Melbourne.

Montgomerie’s Ordinary Ale was the official beer at the opening of Princes Bridge on 4 October 1888 and exhibited at the Colonial Indian Exhibition in London during 1886. Montgomerie was smart and sold out of the business in 1888, at its peak. R.K. Montgomerie was destined for a great future in Australian brewing , until he fell off his horse, struck his head and died before the age of 49. His business was sold and without his great skill went into liquidation in 1899.

TJ Jackson, Young & Jackson’s and Montgomeries Brewery



Thomas Joshua Jackson was the lesser known of the Irish cousins (the other being Henry Figsby Young) who managed Melbourne’s Princes Bridge Hotel, on the corner of Swanston Street across from Flinders Street station, from 1875. The hotel became known as ‘Young and Jackson’s’, and has since been frequented by hundreds of thousands of Melburnians and visitors alike.

Both Jackson and Young invested their reputations and perhaps some capital when Montgomeries Brewing Company was floated in 1888 on the Melbourne Stock Exchange. Prior to this, Robert King Montgomerie built the brewery and the beers had a fine reputation. The new owner, David Munro floated the company. But when the great depression hit Melbourne, shares collapsed and in 1897 Montgomeries went into liquidation.

Disgruntled investors sued the directors, including Jackson – but not Young, who by this time had astutely managed to divest himself of his shares. The judgement of the court was in favour of Montgomeries’ shareholders and he had to pay up the losses. It didn’t destroy him financially, but he must have felt that his reputation at least was damaged, perhaps permanently. The pressure on him may have contributed to his death less than three months.

Brewing minnow thunders against giant in bid to review historic brands

Foster’s will face off against inner suburban craft brewer Thunder Road Brewing on Tuesday at a two day trademark hearing that will test ownership of a portfolio of heritage beer brands, many of which haven’t been in full commercial production since before World War II.

Clink on the images below to see the full article published in The Age on 16th April 2013


Brewers Hop Through History

By Eli Greenblat, Senior Business Reporter, Fairfax. YOU could call it ”Raiders of the Lost Beer”. An adventure through time, space and breweries, from the flowering beer industry of colonial Melbourne in the 1860s to an antique bookshop in the US state of Maine. It will climax on Monday, when a beer recipe not seen or tasted in 130 years will come to life.

While the taste and colour of the beer remains a mystery, what is known is that a team of brewers will create Melbourne history in a glass. They will give today’s drinkers a sense of what Melburnians were swigging from beer glasses when the city was a mere 20 years old and the capital of the Victorian colony.

Rather than a timeworn treasure map leading to hidden relics, brewers at Brunswick’s Thunder Road Brewing will rely on a recipe jotted down by Alfred Terry, a brewer who came to Melbourne in 1851 and who was a pioneer of Australia’s beer industry.

Alfred Terry, the brewer whose recipe the craft brewery will be using to revive the old Carlton beer.
Alfred Terry

It is his recipe that Thunder Road senior brewer Marcus Cox and Jason Oliver, the brewmaster of Devils Backbone Brewing Co, Virginia, US, will faithfully re-create. In doing so they will resurrect a beer first made for the Carlton Brewery, which traces its history to Melbourne’s Bouverie Street in 1864 and is a forerunner of today’s Carlton & United Breweries.

”Nobody is around today that drank that beer; it’s back from the dead,” Mr Cox said on Friday as he checked over his calibrations and ingredients at Thunder Road’s inner-city craft brewery. ”I think it’s a unique experience, a moment in time for Melbourne that we are trying to re-create.”

Mr Oliver said: ”To re-create a beer like this is a snapshot of time, and that’s one thing I really like about beer, that it can take you on a journey, and this beer will maybe take you on a journey back in time.”

Thunder Road Brewery. Alfred Terry's note book with the recipe for one of Australia's first beers.



Alfred Terry’s notebook with the recipe from the late 1800s. Photo: Justin McManus

Historian and author Andrew Bailey, whose chance discovery of Terry’s nearly 150-year-old brewing manual will guide the rebirth of the beer, said Australians would have the opportunity to taste something that was believed lost forever.

”It’s fantastic and amazing to think we can get reasonably close to tasting what an old beer tasted like in Victoria back in the 1870s,” Mr Bailey said.

The story of how Terry’s notebook found its way back to Melbourne is deserving of its own drama. Researching a book on Australia’s struggle to brew its first beers in the rugged colonial days of the late 1800s, Mr Bailey discovered via Google that a bookshop in York Beach, Maine, had a manual dating from Melbourne’s burgeoning brewing community in the 1860s.

When it arrived in the post Mr Bailey realised it was owned by Alfred Terry, whose innovations in styles and production helped make Carlton Brewery the most successful brewer of its age.

Even more exciting was a notebook attached to the back of the book that contained Terry’s instructions for one of his first brews, including boiling temperatures, timing and ingredients for a traditional English ale-style beer. It is believed his beer was created some time between 1870 and 1880.

When Thunder Road owner Philip Withers was offered the book he jumped at the chance to re-create the 130-year-old beer.

”This is very precious find because it was at a time when Carlton Brewery was totally independent,” he said. ”They were pioneers and brewed beers that always remained a mystery to us, so this is a lost beer.

”We don’t even know what style it is, what it will taste like, but we will be tasting the history of Melbourne.”

Mr Cox added: ”I’ve got an idea it will be an older style beer, with sweeter flavours; it has got a heavy use of hops. But it’s really a case of make it and see.”

After brewing, about 4000 litres of the beer will be conditioned over 30 days and offered free to the public, with some sold and the profits given to charity. It will be called Terry’s Ale, in honour of Alfred Terry.

Those lucky enough to taste it may also get a sense of what a 19th-century hangover felt like.

Thunder Road and Devils Backbone Collaboration!

Thunder Road Brewing Company of Melbourne, Australia and Devils Backbone Brewing Company of Virginia, USA, Jointly Announce International Brewing Collaboration

Award Winning Brewmaster Jason Oliver from Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Marcus Cox, Senior Brewer and Manager of Thunder Road Brewing Company will Lead Innovative Collaborative Brewing Program in Melbourne, Australia


January 23, 2013 – Philip Withers, CEO, Thunder Road Brewing Company and Steve Crandall, President, Devils Backbone Brewing Company announced today that Jason Oliver, Brewmaster of Devils Backbone Brewing Company, has been selected to join the company from a highly competitive field of brewers in Thunder Road’s Inaugural Summer Brewer’s Invitational.  Oliver and Cox will jointly lead the collaboration program in January and February 2013 in Australia.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company, based in Nelson County, Virginia has become one of the most award winning breweries in the United States. The phenomenal rise of the brewery, in just a few short years, is unique in the craft brewing industry.  The success of Devils Backbone Brewing Company is directly related to its industry leading accomplishments in creating internationally acclaimed beers.  Since opening its Basecamp Brewpub in 2008 at the foot of Wintergreen Mountain in Nelson County and then their production facility the Outpost in 2012 in Lexington, Virginia, the consistent quality of their beers has propelled the company into a leadership position in Virginia and the wider craft brewing industry.

In the last four years, their prestigious collection of awards includes seventeen Great American Beer Festival medals and five World Beer Cup awards.  Devils Backbone Brewing Company has also been recognized internationally at the 2010 World Beer Cup as Champion Brewery and Small Brewpub and most recently for Small Brewpub and Small Brew Pub Brewer of the year at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.  Devils Backbone brewmaster, Jason Oliver, has 16 years of brewing experience and holds an international accreditation in brewing science.

In selecting Oliver, Thunder Road Brewing Company was impressed with how similar the two company’s brewing philosophies were.  According to Oliver, “My brewing philosophy is one of traditional expansiveness.  I take inspiration from traditional and contemporary methods and techniques then expand upon them.

I like to say I’m ‘inspired by tradition… not handcuffed to it.’”


During Oliver’s assignment he will lead a number of projects including at least 10 collaboration beer developments between Thunder Road and Devils Backbone that will be marketed in both countries under the name “Devils Thunder.”   To celebrate the collaboration, a special beer will be brewed to raise funds to aid research for the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University in Australia and The Chesapeake Bay Foundation in the U.S.A.

Thunder Road Brewing Company is a leading independent brewery in the working class suburb of Brunswick in Victoria, Australia.  Since opening its doors for business in 2011, the brewery’s beers have taken Melbourne by storm and are now expanding nationally throughout Australia.  Thunder Road Brewing Company brews year-round flagship beers including Full Steam Pale Lager and Brunswick Bitter, as well as limited release seasonal beers, for on-tap sales.  The company is well known for its fanatical focus on freshness and quality and produces beers that appeal to a broad audience.

For additional information on Thunder Road Brewing Company, please visit:

For additional information on Devils Backbone Brewing Company, please visit: or contact:  Heidi Crandall/Marketing at

For additional information on the Institute for Glycomics, please visit

Established in 2000 at the Gold Coast Campus of Griffith University, research at the Institute for Glycomics involves the study of the glycans and glycan-binding proteins in various biological systems, and the design of novel drugs and vaccines. This approach presents an exciting therapeutic platform for the control of a wide-range of medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, inflammation and immune disorders.

The Institute is the only one of its kind in Australia and only one of six in the world. They seek to collaborate with leading scientists around the world to build a critical mass around carbohydrate-based research. Global collaboration together with a multi-disciplinary approach to research, are essential to achieving their vision to bring forward novel medicines and vaccines to the community.

For additional information on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, please visit:

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation mission: The Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers, broadly recognized as a national treasure, will be highly productive and in good health as measured by established water quality standards. The result will be clear water, free of impacts from toxic contaminants, and with healthy oxygen levels. Natural filters on both the land and in the water will provide resilience to the entire Chesapeake Bay system and serve as valuable habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic life.  Clean Water, Save the Bay!






Announcing Return of Grafton Bitter – “The Pride of the North”

Thunder Road Brewing Company Announces Return of Grafton Bitter – “The Pride of the North” – After Decades of Absence, Grafton Bitter Flows Again in Northern New South Wales

Thunder Road Brewing Company today announced the reintroduction of the heritage beer Grafton Bitter in the town of its birth, Grafton N.S.W.

Known as “The Pride of the North” Grafton Bitter – and the Grafton Brewery that produced it – were enormously successful in the years after the brewery commenced operation in 1952.

Founded at a time of widespread beer shortages after WWII, the brewery and beers flourished, but like many regional beers became a victim of its own success and was targeted by much larger brewers in Sydney, including Tooheys.

Utilizing cheap subsidized rail freight, the Sydney-based brewers flooded the market with cheep beer and in 1961 Tooheys took over the distressed Grafton brewery, and promptly killed off the “Grafton” brand.  The Grafton brewery continued to produce Tooheys’ beers until the company shut the brewery down in 1997.[1]

Like many regional towns, the economy in Grafton is tough, but the reintroduction of Grafton Bitter has received broad support from pubs, clubs and local beer lovers.  Unlike many of Australia’s heritage brands that have failed and never returned – Grafton Bitter is back – and along with it, a tangible sense of fighting spirit and pride in the town that gave this beer its name.

In researching the original Grafton Bitter, Thunder Road’s management team and brewers held extensive discussion with one of the last remaining employees of Grafton Brewery, who worked for the company prior to and after its take over by Tooheys Brewery.  These discussions led to a very solid understanding of the ingredient profile and brewing processes used at the time – and have been instrumental to the reintroduction of Grafton Bitter.

Grafton Bitter is brewed with 100% all malted barley and real Australian hops.  The beer is unpasteurized, and delivered chilled on-tap for peak freshness and a robust flavor that cannot be matched by mass-produced national beer brands.  Grafton Gold, a mid-strength beer, is currently being developed and will be introduced in the first quarter of 2013.

Grafton Bitter can be found fresh on tap at the following venues:  The Great Northern Hotel, Jacaranda Hotel, Good Intent Hotel, Royal Hotel, The Grafton Golf Club and will be available throughout New South Wales in 2013.

For additional information on Thunder Road Brewing Company, please visit:

For product images and additional information on Grafton Bitter, please visit:



[1] The Revival and Decline of the independent breweries in New South Wales, Dr. Brett J. Stubbs

Grafton Bitter – on TAP NEXT WEEK!

Well we’ve managed to pull out all the stops and Grafton Bitter will indeed be flowing in time for Christmas! Deliveries will be rolling into pubs in Grafton next Wednesday so you can raise a glass of “The Pride of the North” just in time for Christmas!

We’d also like to thank the many people in Grafton who have supported us in this effort!  We’ll be publishing a list of pubs that will have the beer on tap next week so stay tuned!

Building Bridges to Great Beer!

Check out Lachlan Thompson’s article from the Grafton Daily Examiner on Nov. 23rd about a creative signage idea for Grafton Bitter – unfortunately, its only possible with the wonders of Photoshop! (Click on thumbnail image to enlarge.)

Grafton Bitter for Christmas!

We’re in the final stages of preparing for the reintroduction of Grafton Bitter in Northern NSW! We’ve had such a great reception so far we wanted to update everyone on our progress.

Because our beers are unpasteurized to maximize taste and freshness, refrigerated storage and delivery are essential.  We are finalizing arrangements now to be able to do this from a local base – and deliver Grafton Bitter on tap to local pubs and clubs.

We’ve been delighted by the interest and support so far in Grafton for the reintroduction of this legendary beer, and our plan is to be up in the next month or so with kegs and sampling.

So stay tuned, with any luck Grafton Bitter will be flowing again by Christmas!



Grafton Bitter Returns!

Read Lachlan Thompson’s article in the Grafton Daily Examiner about Thunder Road Brewing Company’s soon-to-be-released Grafton Bitter. Cheers all around!

Bitter Brew Returns by Lachlan Thompson

SIXTY years after the first kilderkin, or 17 gallon keg, of Grafton Bitter went on sale and 15 years after the brewery closed its doors the old Clarence brew is on its way back.

Sadly it won’t bring back the 42 jobs the Valley lost in 1997 but it may be just the tonic to wash away our current woes.

The beer is being re-made by Melbourne brewers in Brunswick and the boutique Thunder Rd company believe they will be able to deliver kegs anywhere in NSW.

According to the new makers’ website it will be “brewed better, brewed longer and have a flavour, body and texture never found in big mass-produced beers.”

Although the new beer will not be entering a marketplace where beer shortages were common, like the original beer did, the makers tell us it will be “delivered chilled for peak freshness and a consistently robust Australian character”.

The Daily Examiner would like to extend a huge thank-you to Frank Mack from the Clarence Historical Society for opening the museum on his day off to help bring to life this great story from Clarence’s past.


Can’t find Brunswick Bitter on tap?

19 December, 2013

“Monopoly is a terrible thing, till you have it.”
Rupert Murdoch ( The New Yorker 1979)

At the Pub: Drink Locally, Think Fresh. Beer is a Perishable Product

6 August, 2013

Beer is a foodstuff. As with most foodstuffs, beer is perishable-it deteriorates as a result of the action of bacteria, light, and air.

Great Australian Beer and Food Guide

15 May, 2013

At last, a simple and but clear guide that answers all your questions about beer and food. What’s good beer? And how do l pair great food with good beer? Simply click on each page and enjoy!

Craft Beer or Great beer? – An Australian Perspective

11 December, 2012

If you live in Australia, if you are young and money is tight, cheap beer is typically the brand of choice. You might spend a few dollars on VB or Tooheys New or even a bit extra on Corona. In the USA, you are likely to drop a few dollars on Coors or a Budweiser. Let’s face it. You know this stuff is not “craft” beer.