It’s been a long wait, but the 4 Hearts brew pub in Ipswich, The Pumpyard will finally be opening tomorrow, March 11, 2015. Wade Curtis, head brewer, has made quite the splash already in Brisbane these past few years with his signature Pale Ale (which ranked 49 in this year’s Hottest 100 Beers) as well as many other once off beers that have turned a few heads. Wade, however, was a gypsy brewer, meaning he relied on equipment from various other brewers in the Brisbane area. Now, 4 Hearts has a place to call home and a brew set up all its own.
Along with this shiny new brewery is a staff to go along with it. Late last year, 4 Hearts head hunted some of Brisbane’s finest. Head chef, Ali Orchard, was the first to be brought on board. Her menu fame includes Tippler’s Tap, Tomahawk Bar, and her new venture, Sunbury Street. With events such as the Bacchus Slow Braised and Barrel Aged food and beer pairing night, Ali’s ability and flair really shine. Her move to 4 Hearts signifies a boost in culinary quality to Ipswich’s portfolio.
Along with a rising star in the kitchen, 4 Hearts has also brought on board venue manager Jim Gold who is a master behind the taps. Jim was originally the top dog at Tippler’s Tap and helped them reach the status they’ve enjoyed since their inception. Along with running the bar, Jim is also the assistant brewer, which means he gets to not only sell 4 Hearts, but make it as well. Having a heavy weight like him around just adds more legitimacy and prestige to this fresh new location.
I was privileged enough to be allowed a sneak peek into the space back in January. I braved an early morning train and took the hour and a half trip out to Ipswich. I’ll admit, I haven’t been out this way in a VERY long time, and remember it as being a very simple town. It would appear that not much has changed in the 6+ years it’s been, but there are signs of modernization and gentrification slowly creeping in. A few fancy cafés are popping up, and the opening of the brewery will be the feather in its cap.
I met up with Jim and he gave me the tour. The building itself is actually an old TAFE college, now called Limestone 88. The brick walls are broken up with eerie chalk boards in empty classrooms, giving the feeling of being on the set of a horror movie. These rooms, however, are part of a future refurbishment, and not part of the bar, so after the quick ghost tour, we made our way over to the section of the building that would lend the name of its former function to the new venue: The Pump Yard.
Unlike the creepy rooms that we wandered before, the Pumpyard’s space is much more inviting. When I arrived, there was still a fair bit of construction going on, but the overall shape and feel of the place was prevalent. Distressed metal light shades, filament globes, and old exposed pipework work beside shiny new mash tuns, fermenters and bright tanks weaved together past and present. The bench tables are repurposed wood from an old bridge, which helps add to a nostalgic air.
The focus for the new brewpub is on an easy, relaxed atmosphere. Pumpyard will be a place to go for some enjoyable drinks with mates or a nice dinner out with the family. Music will fill the background, but not so much so that the simple act of a conversation will be disrupted.
The Pumpyard has many seating areas, including separate function rooms, a dining room area, and an outdoor patio. The patio is situated in such a way that there will really only be a few short hours of blistering, Queensland sun on it in the early afternoon, leaving the rest of the time with a decent shade to enjoy a cold beer outdoors. It will also be part of a thoroughfare that will link the adjacent park with the rest of the complex.
From what I gathered, there is a lot of room for expansion as well. The whole of Limestone 88 is going through stages of refurbishment, with spots for additional retail locations and office space, but what’s exciting for The Pumpyard is the potential for new private function rooms or an on-site bottle shop. Personally, I believe the spaces will be snapped up by restaurants and classy beverage establishments, making Limestone 88 the go-to entertainment precinct for Ipswich and ushering in a new and slightly more sophisticated era.
All thanks 4 Hearts and crew.
The Pumpyard opens tomorrow at 12pm and can be found at 88 Limestone St, Ipswich.
Be sure to follow them on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/fourheartsbrewing