Felons Brewing Co has opened on the banks of the Brisbane River, nestled underneath the iconic Story Bridge on the edge of Brisbane CBD.
Located within the newly opened Howard Smith Wharves precinct, the Felons name pays homage to the four pioneering convicts who discovered the Brisbane River. The spirit of the felons is captured subliminally — their names emblazoned on the four large beer tankers behind the bar — representing the brewery’s mission of freedom and discovery.
Founder of Felons Adam Flaskas has lived and worked in Fortitude Valley for 20 years, and in the creation of his newest venture, he wanted it to have “something for everyone”. Covering all bases, the brewery boasts an indoor pavilion, alfresco seating branching out over the river, and a restored 13.5 metre trawler in the spacious beer garden as an ode to the dock’s previous life. “It is something that children are going to love playing in, but equally adults will love experiencing the art piece,” said Adam of the boat, which will be revived by street artist Anthony Lister.
General Manager Ash Cranston reminisced how in the early days the team used to discuss “how good it would be to have fresh beer served out of the tankers, drinking it on the Brisbane River”. His dream has quite literally come true.
Ash and Adam knew from the moment they stepped onto the heritage listed site that they had uncovered something special. “Once I saw it, and the space, I was absolutely sold,” said Ash. “There are a lot of passionate people involved. There is definitely a sense that we can do something for Brisbane that they haven’t yet seen in the beer world.”
Ash himself grew up in pubs and his love of beer formed naturally from serving it across bars. He “fell in love with the stories of beer” which is a trait that appears consistent with Head Brewer Tom Champion. Being fiercely proud of the Australian beer and cider industry, it was important to Tom to keep the beer of Felons true to its origins. “We wanted to use as many Australian products as we could in everything we make,” he stated. Much like the ambitions of inclusivity for Adam, Tom shared the “philosophy that there is not only a time and a place for each of our beers, but there is a beer for everyone”.
The pints are inspired by nature, celebrating locally grown ingredients and brewed to a high quality, but like the brewers “shouldn’t be taken too seriously”, he said. To feed the masses, inside is a woodfired oven complementing the metallic tankers brewing hops, together with an expansive menu of burgers, bowls, snacks and sides. The salty breeze seasons the traditional fish and chips offering, where foodies are encouraged to grab a picnic rug and sit ‘seaside’ with fine seafood and takeaway brews.
Adamant that the brewery should be as iconic as the bridge it is sheltered by, the modern day Felons’ unbeatable passion for beer and idyllic location has Felons Brewing Co well on its way to becoming a Brisbane institution.
Readers also enjoyed seeing Adam Flaskas’ Q+A feature.