Ballistic Brewing open beer bar in Brisbane’s West End

Since their inception in 2016, Ballistic has accomplished much in a short time – earning gold medals at the Australian International Beer Awards, gaining a passionate following at their brewery in the southern burbs of Brisbane, and building a solid range of tasty interesting beers on tap or in cans across Brisbane and Australia.
They clearly aren’t a brewery to rest on their laurels and for their next move they’ve opened up their own bar in Brisbane’s inner city.

Located in West End, Ballistic’s Alehouse and Kitchen adds to the burgeoning number of good beer options in the city and gives beer drinkers from both sides of the river access to Ballistic beer.

In contrast to the expansive and lo-fi brewery location, this bar is a more intimate space that is low-key and cosy, furnished with wooden tables and panels, giving it an English pub feel, in a small bar package. It’s the kind of place that’s perfect for an evening of good chats and drinks with good friends.

I attended the launch event last week and took the opportunity to sample some of the beers that will be on offer. As I pondered my choice from the six taps on offer, bar manager Mitch, recommended his personal favourite, the Grandfather, an oaked strong ale. This is a unique beer on taps right now with a delicious vanilla tone from the oak barrels and a solid bitterness.

Next up, a can of Driftwood, an oaked citra-hopped XPA, barely a week old and tasting fresh as. Strong aromas of grapefruit and orange a light touch of vanilla and lingering bitterness.

Finally, was the Shadow Army imperial porter, a combo of specialty malts to create a complex full-flavoured dark beer that was perfect for a cool autumn evening in a cosy bar.

For those who aren’t beer drinkers, there will be options, with wines, house cocktails, boilermakers & G&T options on the menu. While food includes options like sticky duck wings, that will pair well with beer, but are sufficiently tasty without too.

The pathway to getting beer out on taps or on shelves is becoming more treacherous, with greater competition and tighter margins, so selling direct to the drinker through your own venue makes a lot of sense for breweries like Ballistic. It’s the same model that Scottish brewer (and soon to be Brisbane brewer) BrewDog found so much success overseas with and there may be a similar opportunity for Australian breweries to replicate some of that success.

The ingredients for success are there for Ballistic and it’s a matter of execution and refinement of the concept. I was impressed by the Ballistic team’s attention to their patrons and most of all, the quality of their beers, and if they can maintain that there’s a bright future for the bar ahead. Judging by the brewery’s breakneck pace so far there’s plenty of further developments to come too.

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