Brunswick’s beloved Alchemy Brewing is closing down, with a final hurrah this weekend

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Brunswick’s beloved Alchemy Brewing is closing down, with a final hurrah this weekend

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Lygon Street micro brewery, bar and restaurant Alchemy Brewing has announced the sad news that it will close down, with a final party on June 29.

“Dear friends and loyal patrons, it’s with a heavy heart I’m announcing Alchemy Brewing will close at the end of the month,” owner Pim Muter said.

“I am incredibly proud of the venue I built but we’ve had a rough ride and it’s time to call it quits. We are having a big farewell party on June 29 please come down for a final beer or two.”

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We spoke to Muter back in 2022, when he shared with us his journey from brewing coffee to brewing his unique range of beers.

“I see alchemy as a mixture of science and magic, which I think is quite apt for the whole brewing process,” he told us back then.

“The whole feeling of alchemy is kind of mythical, superstitious, of doing things that you don’t really fully understand. Back in the Dark Ages people were making beer when they didn’t understand what yeast was and what was actually happening. They just thought it was magic.”

Muter’s passion for beer is unmistakable. There is an artistry to brewing beer in the way the brewer balances flavours and aromas while the scientific side monitors the chemical reactions between the grain, hops, and yeast. Alchemy Brewing has a welcoming atmosphere that is strongly complimented by the timeless funk, soul and blues music that Muter, who is particularly fond of Muddy Waters and The Meters, likes to play at the venue, which he refers to as a brewpub.

Muter was born and raised in New Zealand to Dutch parents and first came to Melbourne when he was 19, where, despite living in Amsterdam and London, he calls home. Muter’s time in Europe and living in close proximity to Belgium and Germany with their rich brewing histories has had a significant influence on the beers that he brews.

“Melbourne has quite a diverse beer market,” says Muter. “A lot of different styles – I think most of them heavily influenced by the American beer scene. I like to embrace all the different facets of the brewing world. I enjoy making English and European style beers, as well as a range of American-styles and also experimenting with new and interesting flavours. I wouldn’t say I’m pigeon-holed to a certain style or brand.”

“I’ve always wanted our beers range to be approachable, but also diverse,” says Muter. “I brew some old-school classics such as our Czech Pilsner & West Coast IPA as well as modern styles such as our Hazy Pale Ale plus some more out-there experimental beers such as Feijoa Gose or a Hibiscus Saison. I also like to represent some beer styles that aren’t necessarily widely brewed currently such as a Belgian Wit beer or American Brown Ale.

“I’ve always wanted to make real beer for real people. You won’t see me making a Peanut Butter Marshmallow Imperial Pastry Stout or anything like that. That’s not my style.”

Muter started working at a café when he was 16 and worked in the specialty coffee industry around Australia as well as in Europe. After returning to Australia after a stint in the Netherlands and being appalled at how expensive beer was in comparison, Muter started brewing his own beer.

“I bought a simple Coopers home brew kit and started brewing beer at home and from there things quickly escalated until I was essentially brewing craft beer at home, making beer in the same way that big breweries do. Having always worked in hospitality, I enjoy creating things and have a good understanding of flavours and balance, so I very quickly went from making basic beer to striving to make the best beer I possibly could.” says Muter. “After sitting around in the backyard drinking delicious home-made beer for many years, batting around the idea of opening a brewery, I took the plunge. I went from making 20 litres of beer to 500 litres of beer”.

For Muter, his journey from barista to brewpub owner is simply a devotion to quality hospitality: “making people feel welcome and serving them a quality product”. At the start of 2019, Muter and Samuel Percy turned their idea of opening a brewery and venue into a reality and undertook the mammoth task of transforming the former building of Cleggs Fabrics into the brilliant brewpub that it is now.

“It was arduous,” Muter laughs. “Me and Sam essentially done everything ourselves from demolishing what was Cleggs and building what we have now. We were on a extremely tight budget. We jackhammered up the tiles, ground the concrete floor, installed the ceiling and everything all ourselves. It took about a year. I was a shadow of a man that year, but it was fun being such an integral part of that process and seeing it evolve into what it is now.”

Percy is now a silent partner, so Muter runs the venue as owner, operator and brewer. Alchemy Brewing is bright and spacious, filled with plants and natural light which makes it appealing to all walks of life, it has an inviting and relaxed quality with polished concrete floors, wooden tables, timber ceilings, pool table, and a warehouse bar with over a dozen beers on tap while their 500-litre brewhouse is tucked at the back providing an industrial backdrop to the space.

“My vision for Alchemy was for it to be a venue first and a brewery second”, we brew a wide range of styles catering to beer enthusiasts and traditional beer lovers alike, we also pride ourselves in keeping a great wine list plus a tailored selection of spirits and house cocktails. The venue has a fabulous gastropub-style menu and DJ Manchild can often be seen playing a diverse range of records on Friday and Saturday nights”.

The venue opened on 27 December 2019 and a few months later, Melbourne entered the first of its six lockdowns. The local community supported the brewpub by buying cans during the lockdowns, which was a helpful way for the venue to remain connected to the neighbourhood, but business was difficult, even with the grants from the government.

The venue has had live music in the past, which Muter hopes to revive once Melbourne stabilises again: “I have high hopes for the coming summer season, Melbourne has had an arduous few years and I feel this is the first real summer since COVID hit, it’s certainly the first summer for Alchemy Brewing without heavy restrictions. We all deserve a beer in the sun after that ordeal”

The brewpub owner is most inspired by the community and enjoys nothing more than speaking with customers chatting all things beer and inviting suggestions on the styles of beer that they could make.

Alchemy Brewing is located at 396 Lygon Street, Brunswick East. For more information, visit Alchemy Brewing.

This article was made in partnership with Alchemy Brewing.