121 Great Alpine Rd
Bright VIC 3741
(03) 5755 1301
Though the town of Bright has only got one syllable to its name, it has three pubs: The Alpine Hotel, the Bright Brewery, and one extra. I've been in Bright a number of times, and, as you can imagine, I've found myself in the Bright Brewery a number of times too. The brewery is hard to miss: right on the Great Alpine Road that takes you into town, and with a balcony overlooking the Ovens River. In recent years they've expanded, so now you have full view of their brewing bling from the street (shiny!); meanwhile, their verandah fronting the river is trellised with hops, which makes for a lovely view in summer.
This past Monday I called in to the Brewery again, having heard great things about their Russian Imperial Stout "Stubborn Russian" from other Merri Mashers. I was served by a ginger hipster chap, with the twin corners of his ginger hipster moustache curled up. (How do they even do that? I'm more the kind of 'grow your beard as big as you can for as long as you can until one day they call you hipster' kind of hipster). I took my RIS out to the balcony to swirl it around and gaze into its murky black depths for a while. It was a beautiful day, cold and dark - perfect for contemplating the cold and dark matters of life with a cold, dark beer.
It was very quiet, as Mondays often are. Weekends at the Bright Brewery can be quite busy - on Sunday afternoons bands play (often doing covers but hey, you can't have everything). The Sunday before they'd just hosted their Christmas in July charity benefit gig; at over $50 a seat it was a little pricey but it must have included some sweet beers. Here and there I found a poster advertising their Bright Mash beer club - $75 plus delivery will get you 24 beers, delivered every three months, comprising numerous limited releases from the Brewery, plus some of the old favourites.
The Stubborn Russian RIS was a real revelation; the dark coffee bitterness merging and blending with the malt bitter and sweet. It had a lovely creamy body, and I found myself swirling the glass round and admiring the white clouds that lingered on the surface. The coffee came from Sixpence Coffee, a local brewer; and, all up, made a perfect brew for a winter's day. I should have just gone back and ordered another but, like the fool that I was, I had to finish things off by asking for their saison (wittily named 'Say-Son'. Well, it's witty for drunkards like me.) Not that there's anything wrong with it - I think I had it last summer in Bright - but I was able to appreciate few of its spicey and bready subtleties after the heady heights of the Stubborn Russian.
I really like what the Bright Brewery are doing, and if you visit, you probably will too; but, outside of Bright, you won't see many of their beers. They follow very much the traditional brewery model in this respect: local beers from mostly local ingredients, only stored at local shops (as far as I know they only make it to the IGA, about 100 metres away). They have six or so standards that they keep on tap at all times - a lager, a wit, a pale, an amber, a porter, and a dubbel. They're playing it safe, and judging by the amount of tourists I've seen in there on some occasions, it's working well for them. But - having picked up the odd six pack from them on occasion and then kept the beers around in the cupboard for ages - I can attest they seem to keep well, too.
Next time you're in Bright, call in! And in the meantime, check out their beers on https://untappd.com/BrightBrewery.