Although one of the leading names in Brisbane’s thriving craft-beer scene, David Kitchen of Ballistic Beer Co. acknowledges that any wave of mass excellence eventually leads to an increasingly competitive market. No matter how good one’s product is, there is no such thing as guarantees – especially as far as demand is concerned. For David and his team, one way of furthering Ballistic’s brand recognition (beyond featuring in a bar’s rotation) comes by possessing some taps of its own. A few years after getting Ballistic Beer’s Salisbury brewery up and running, David expanded by opening Ballistic Alehouse and Kitchen on Montague Road in West End. Although an experimental move at first, this alehouse quickly found a local following, proving that establishing a collection of Ballistic’s own welcoming watering holes was one way to cultivate strong and reliable community engagement. The search for Ballistic’s next move kicked into high gear when consultant and now venue manager Wade Curtis discovered a potential site in Springfield Central, tucked away behind USQ’s campus on Sinnathamby Boulevard. This site – known to many as the former home of Springfield Central Tavern – was ideal for David’s vision. The sprawling grassy lawn, sizeable interior space and location in the heart of a community craving an authentic and independent hospitality experience ticked all of David’s boxes, and soon plans were in motion to transform it into Ballistic’s next brewery, alehouse and community-oriented hub.
Although once a cheerful hub of casual hospitality, over time the Springfield Central Tavern premises became in need of some TLC. Once the space came into the possession of David and the Ballistic Beer team, they immediately got to work blasting out the cobwebs – removing televisions, disco balls, fake plants and all sorts of leftover ephemera before overhauling the bar and installing the brewing apparatus. Ballistic Beer Springfield’s interior aesthetic is reminiscent of its Salisbury sibling’s light-industrial feel, with an open roof and sparse palette of white tile, concrete and timber unifying the space. One end of the space has been given over to the 800-litre microbrewery apparatus, which is to be used in a research-and-development capacity to concoct limited-edition, collaborative and experimental brews (all of which will be poured out of one of 20 taps at the bar). Double bifold doors open to an alfresco dining space, which boasts booth seating and long tables suitable for large groups. If your kids like to roam, the large green space will give them plenty of room to tire themselves out, but if you like to keep the kids close, an existing playground has been moved to the rear of the venue, allowing little ones to clamber about in view of parents dining inside.
The food and drink
As one would expect, Ballistic Beer Co. is delivering a bang-on craft-beer experience, starting with its array of core beers and expanding out to a collection of stellar small-batch brews. To commemorate the location’s arrival, David and head brewer Lachlan Crothers have concocted a Springfield Pilsner – a crisp, European pilsner made using Australian ingredients that sits at a solid 4.5%. Initially distributed to Ballistic’s other locations as a way to promote Springfield’s opening, the brew has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response. While not officially a member of Ballistic’s core-beer range, this drop is available off tap and takeaway to ardent fanatics. Ballistic’s taps also feature the likes of its Mulberry Twang sour and Southside Cider, while non-beer drinkers can also sip on a selection of Australian wines and spirits. The venue’s food menu (crafted by chef Rhett Allen) is chock-full of what is best described as ‘great beer food’, meaning its cross-section of recognisable favourites all pair perfectly with a cold one and some good company. Ballistic’s fare is a few notches above simple pub grub, with the likes of beer-brined chicken wings, Ballistic beer-infused sausage balls (with meat sourced from local outfit Two Butchers), steamed dumplings, petite tender steaks, Ballistic beer-battered cod, pizzas and burgers offering plenty for groups to pick at.
Ballistic Beer Co.’s Springfield Central alehouse and kitchen opens today, Wednesday October 23. For more information, head to the Stumble Guide.