Opening just a few short months ago, Bodriggy Brewing Co has converted an old mechanics warehouse into a stunning 400-person brewpub.
From the same people who brought you Dr Morse across the road, Bodriggy Brewing Co has revved into gear with its tantalising 64-tap list of brews, Latin American food, and an array of music gigs on the horizon.
“We’re all settled in now, the honeymoon’s over and we’re ticking over pretty good,” says co-owner Peter Walsh.
When asked how they managed to launch this new brewpub project right across the road from their home ground at Dr Morse, Walsh laughs.
“Sitting in Dr Morse three years ago, we all really enjoyed the concept of a brewpub model. It’s a pretty high standard in Melbourne, and to come up with an authentic model where beer is made onsite – we really liked that idea.
“We thought, ‘Let’s have a casual look’, and about three days later the place directly across the road came up for lease. We overcame some council bullshit and we’ve been brewing here for over a year now. We have a big soundproof roof for music events. Eventually we’ll have a little bottleshop at the front and a function room upstairs.”
A key factor in Bodriggy’s early success has been to adopt the philosophy of not treating food as an afterthought. It didn’t come easy though, with the team trying to find a cuisine that accommodates beer-drinking and an inspired chef.
“We were sniffing around for a chef for over a good two years. We wanted food that could be made super-fast, because of the size of the venue, and was easy and adaptable with beer. We met the right person, a young professional Mexican dude – John Dominguez (Vue de Monde, Dinner By Heston) – that was a bit of a guru. We got lucky, he was at the time in his career when he wanted to step up and take on something for himself.”
Bodriggy’s menu features light and zingy Latin American food that includes favourites with some interesting diversions; pulled pork tacos, whole grilled cauliflower with chimichurri, and fried jalapenos tacos with smoked fish.
Seven weeks in, the brewpub is looking to expand its live music draw as it quickly finds its feet in terms of what works and what doesn’t at a such large venue. The atmospheric space could potentially become one of Melbourne’s go-to live music venues as the brewpub uncovers what it wants to be.
“We had a bit of jazz, but I don’t think jazz is quite for us. We want something a bit livelier. We’re doing some funk and soul on Thursdays. We’ll do some country music during the day on weekends. Maybe a bit of punk and rock on weekend nights. We want to do a lot of world music, live Afro-beat kind of stuff. We’re still feeling it out, only 20 shows in.
“Ramping up our shows slowly, we want to feel out what works and what doesn’t – we have gigs on Thursdays and Sundays and we’re starting to integrate stuff on weekend nights now, too.”
If you’re heading down for beer, Bodriggy doesn’t let up on its mainstay. There are light beers for the faint of heart, but for those a bit more adventurous there is range of obscure styles such as lichtenhainer and kettle sours. When asked for his favourite brew, you can hear Walsh’s mind ticking.
“My all-time favourite would have to be Cosmic Microwave – that’s our New England IPA. I also really like Speccy Juice – it’s a session IPA we’ve got. Today, we just kegged up a Kiwi and Ginger Sour which tastes incredible.”
Bodriggy’s strength is that beer is not its only strength. With food inspired by one of Melbourne’s most exciting chefs, a vibrant atmosphere, and Speccy Juice galore – Bodriggy has set sail and is headed to eclipse its sister haunt, Dr Morse.
Bodriggy Brewing Co is open seven days from 11:30am until late at 245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford. Find out more via their website, bodriggy.beer.