When the invitation came to check out The Catchment Brewing Co., I immediately asked myself a question: Is there room for another microbrewery in Brisbane? Teasing as it may be, you will have to read on to find the answer.
In November 2015, owners Allana Robinson and Katie Jorss opened the door to the latest beer drinking Neverland and its culinary siblings, designed to offer West Enders a venue borne as much from heritage and community as it was competitiveness.
For those who remember the location as an old tattoo shop and butcher in Boundary Street, its latest revival is staggering. Individually, those old venues did not seem to have the capacity to become another top-notch venue in West End’s central artery; but fully renovated, they have achieved an enticing open space trifecta. Catchment has a relaxed casual entrance bar, a sophisticated upstairs bar (known as the Hidden Window Bar after windows were discovered under almost a century of cladding), and a courtyard made even more impressive by the stunning local artwork of Maria Hrisafinas, Treazytreaz and Dan Krause.
More than anything, this is a venue designed to be an extension of the community. “The catchment name came from a collective embrace of the West End school area, the river and Brisbane as a whole,” Katie says. Allana adds, “We came up with the idea during dinner with friends. Find a venue, do it better, and make it part of the community: a business in our home.”
Despite being the new kid on the block, much of the Catchment Brewing Co.’s soul comes from the past. “This is a 1930s building,” Katie continues, “but the inspiration for the beer brand came from the old West End Brewery that was operating in the 19th Century. Both elements of the design and the beer pay homage to that grand old brewery.”
The new building is extraordinary in other ways too. Rich timbers and brickwork emerged during a 14-month renovation job, like a phoenix coughing and spluttering its way out of the flames to reveal its true beauty. In order to ensure that the character of the venue matched the fare on offer, general manager Andrew Symes and executive chef Jonno Bryant have added their considerable experience. “When we considered the beer,” Andrew says, “we knew it had to suit both the climate and area.” Both the Pale Select and The Catchment are bursting with character, and yet refreshing and easy to drink.
The excellent selection of food, as described by Jonno, “is created under the guiding hand of young chefs contributing and striving for different ideas”. Confirmed by the evidence of all locally sourced ingredients, including wondrous oysters, ocean king prawns, hamburgers and smokey Memphis barbecue pork ribs. And that was just the specials.
With a myriad of other drinks and food surprises, a great ambience and a genuine sense of West End pride, the answer to that question is more than yes; it’s “Bring it on!”
Words by Colin Bushell | Images supplied by Catchment Brewing Co. and portrait by Colin Bushell