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Sipping suds by the seaside on the Redcliffe peninsula

The Weekend Edition

Breweries come in all shapes and sizes – some are crammed inside industrial storage units and warehouses while some sit on rooftops. Moreton Bay’s newest booze maker enjoys a primo perch on the water’s edge at Scarborough Marina, where beer lovers can quaff frothies and snack on locally sourced seafood as the sun sets over the Glasshouse Mountains in the distance.

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Two-level brewery and restaurant Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. opened last month and has already become one of the most popular spots on the peninsula. Read on to find out why …

When most of us travel abroad, our sightseeing itinerary usually involves stops at local landmarks, stellar eateries and nearby natural wonders. For Sonia and Guy Schweitzer, their travels are similar, but they also make a point of exploring the local craft-beer scene if there is one.

When you think about it, it’s a great way to get the lay of the land and interact with a few locals (after all, the best travel tips always come from those who live there). But after a six-week holiday spent travelling (and tipple seeking) across Canada in 2018, Guy and Sonia returned home to Scarborough with much more than memories – they came back with inspiration.

The two decided to take it upon themselves to help expand the burgeoning Southeast Queensland craft-beer scene up to Moreton Bay, tapping into a groundswell of demand for a brewery that locals of the Redcliffe peninsula could call their own.

The couple’s location hunt quickly yielded a prime site close to home over at the Scarborough Marina. Waters Edge, a two-level waterfront function and event space that had been operating for nigh-on 20 years, was vacant and aligned perfectly with the couple’s desire to open something different to the common industrial-vibe brewery.

Though the pandemic and an elongated approval and development process drew out the planning phase, Sonia and Guy finally celebrated the opening of Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. on Easter Saturday, with locals turning out in droves to wet the head of their new locale.

When it came time to finally pick up tools last September ahead of the fit-out process, the Schweitzers sought to instil an aesthetic that celebrated the area and made the most of the structure’s bones. It wasn’t a simple process – walls were knocked out, kitchen equipment was removed and new windows installed.

All of the hard yakka has been worth it though – Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co. cuts a dashing and composed figure from the outset. The team has given the upper level, with its soaring ceilings and views that stretch north across Moreton Bay to the Glasshouse Mountains, an open and airy makeover that maximised the vantage point from as many angles as possible.

The 200-seat dining room upstairs is bracketed on one side by a sizeable feature mural by BoHDi depicting Hercules, a trawler belonging to the artist’s grandfather that was credited with rescuing a sunken aircraft that crashed into the bay in 1971.

The piece looks out towards the upstairs bar and the 80-seat deck space beyond, which itself is shaded from the sun by navy umbrellas. Downstairs boasts a contrasting look, having been intentionally designed to be darker and moodier to reflect the breweries the Schweitzers scoped out in Canada.

This brewing area and 100-capacity taproom features a newly constructed bar, gleaming copper light fixtures, sturdy timber furnishings and chic arched interior portals that help channel sunlight from the outside. Behind the bar sits the brewery’s two-vessel, ten-barrel Tiantai brew house, which, once fully operational, will be able to churn out a yearly volume of around 150,000 litres of beer.

As for the beer itself, Scarborough Harbour Brewing Co.’s offering has been formulated by head brewer Sam Nunnikhoven, a former Green Beacon brewer who has been contract brewing at Ballistic Beer Co. and Slipstream Brewing to get the first batch of Scarborough Harbour brews ready.

Featuring on the taps currently is the easy-drinking Reef Point lager, the Thirteen Hills XPA, a mid-strength drop called the Mariner and The Bay west coast IPA, with a hazy IPA and pale ale also on the way.

These mainstays will eventually be joined by limited-run beers (think stouts and Belgian-style brews), but non-beer drinkers can already wet their whistle with ginger beercider and cocktails on tap, an elevated selection of craft spirits, and a wine list comprised of independent and predominantly Australian labels.

Much like the drinks selection, Scarborough Harbour’s menu has been carefully considered and curated. Though the seaside location screams seafood, the Schweitzers have decided to broaden the menu’s scope to ensure there was something for everyone.

The offering kicks off with snacks like sticky bourbon barbecue wingsCajun-style street corncob loaves and buckets of fresh prawns. From here the menu diversifies with a selection of salads, morsels from the sea (think soft-shell crab slidersfish tacos and salt-and-pepper squid), five kinds of burgerssteaks, and one seriously giant parmi. Even the kids are catered for with beef sliders, fish and chips and pasta on the menu.

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