Wayward Beer Open Brewery in a Hidden Camperdown Laneway
Get "lost on purpose" at Camperdown's new brewery.
September 17, 2015
If you've ever strolled down the hidden Gehrig Lane, you'd surely have considered yourself lost. As of Friday, though, you won’t be wandering through Camperdown's catacombs by accident – the Wayward Brewing Company is opening its secret brewery location to eager inner westies and craft beer lovers.
Walk into one of the many white-walled warehouses and you'll find yourself in a mysterious cave with serious mood lighting and rooms that seem to stretch on indefinitely. This is not your standard brewery, and better resembles the buildings roots, a wine cellar since the early 1900s. The Wayward team have maintained the waxed and wine spattered walls, which are softly illuminated, making the place feel more underground speakeasy than craft beer haven.
This covert laneway location was purposefully chosen as it perfectly compliments the meaning behind Wayward: "to be lost on purpose". Owner Peter Philip and his sous brewer Shaun Blissett have been working tirelessly to make sure the brewery epitomises this quote at every turn.
Sitting in the "little labyrinth" of rooms inside his secret cave, Pete explains how the values of this place really fit the brewery's vision. "[It makes patrons think] I know I'm in the middle of no where, but I'm meant to be here," he says. With 'carpe bierum' painted on the wall and a gloriously mounted motorcycle, Pete aims to epitomise this meaning.
This traveller's mentality is present in the Wayward beer itself. "I still consider myself a home brewer at heart," says Pete, and the Wayward crew are "not afraid to go off the beaten track" when it comes to their beers. The Wayward flagship Charmer India Red Ale has won several awards, including the silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards. Pete has also done some wackier brews, like Chockywocky Doppelbocky, a smoked chocolate and sour cherry beer aged in oak. Across the board, their beer is full flavoured but approachable and always inventive, which isn't surprising coming from a brewer who thinks "it's not work, making beer is just fun."
The rooms themselves are furnished with repurposed material, from the vintage, '70s-style couches and tables to the theatre seating along a couple of walls and beer keg lamps hanging from the ceiling. Each upcycled item comes with a story, much like the building itself. If the dimly lit interior has fooled you, though, the open brew room will remind you what you're really here for. The bright, Wayward yellow floors and modern equipment makes this the Willy Wonka's factory of beer and are quite the contrast to the cool atmosphere of the cellar door.
The Wayward team are still ironing out all the kinks, but for now the cellar door will be open weekends, with their core four beers on tap: Charmer IRA, Keller Instinct Bavarian Lager, Raconteur Biere de Garde, and FUSAMI Victory IPL. Along with artwork commissioned by a local and three rotating guest taps for local brewers, you can't get a better community hangout. So go ahead and carpe bierum.
Find Wayward Brewing at 1 Gehrig Lane, Camperdown.
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