In his early twenties Matt King developed a love for making his own beer and began dialling into what was happening globally. “I got the opportunity to have a go at commercial brewing through some work experience with Stone and Wood in Byron Bay,” he says.
It was a gamechanger. Back in Sydney, along with friend Glenn Wignall and housemate Trent Evans, Matt got the opportunity to dabble in contract brewing. “We’d go in nights and weekends and make our own beers,” says Matt. “We did one batch, then we did two, then three and people seemed to respond.”
The Grifter Brewing Co was born. That was in 2011, and in 2015 they moved to a former laundry warehouse in Marrickville. A decade on, they were named 2022 Brewery of the Year in the Vintage Cellars Best Of Beer Awards.
“Initially we just wanted to focus on locally made products that we thought tasted better than what was already in market,” says Matt.
At the time, the focus of the industry was pale ales, but things changed today. Now, they use their smallest tank for experimental batches. One of the biggest successes has been Serpents Kiss, a watermelon pilsner made for an event.
“We went into that event thinking we were just going to do a plain old lager, but then we got scared it was going to be boring,” says Matt. “So we cut up some watermelons, threw them in and some sort of magic happened. It’s a bit leftfield, but when you try it, it’s very clean and easy to drink and not too crazy,” says Matt. “It’s become a bit of a cult beer in Sydney.”
When taps everywhere began pouring sours, Matt began trialling: “I had a concept to do a sour with raspberries and lemons. People went nuts for it.”
Looking for something to please a crowd? The Grifter Pale Ale is a golden colour, with a light malt body and zesty hop-forward finish, made for sheer drinkability.
There’s space for a hundred people in the former warehouse, where the brewing operation takes place in the space beyond the bar. Being early adopters, they have an old-school license that only allows them to sell what they make. That doesn’t seem to have affected their popularity at all, with weekends especially pulling in punters from the inner-west and beyond.
“It’s us inviting people into our brand,” says Matt. “When you walk in, and see where the beer’s being made, you start to understand it more.”
There are 12 taps pouring the core range as well as seasonal beers, like summer’s Gold Crush Pineapple & Rosemary Sour. On the weekends, Rico’s Tacos food truck serves up Mexican treats for the hungry masses.
Products featured are available from 01/02/23 to 07/03/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.