Yorkshire Brewery

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Melbourne has a conundrum on its hands. Year-on-year, more people flock to our city. Their reasons are multiple: employment, bearded hipster men, education, souvlaki. These are all good reasons to come to our town, and the more the merrier. But merrier is not what we will be should there be no accommodation to house our new citizens.

This was the point that Martin from SMA Developments made at a launch event for his new project at the Yorkshire Brewery in Collingwood. Located on a historically rich footprint crowned with a brewtower, the Yorkshire Brewery development will add another 350-odd properties to the inner-city market. In today’s Home Truths, we share with you our evening tasting beers at this promotional event to give greater context to the Yorkshire Brewery.

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The Yorkshire Brewery (inset, above) was (until recently) a darkly looming, Dickensian tower off Wellington Street. You’ll recognise its gables, and probably recall the graffiti that has graced its face for years. Heritage listed, such towers (bigger or smaller versions of them) populated Melbourne’s inner suburbs, providing fresh ale for the working communities that surrounded them, much like a bakehouse. Developing such a site into a useful, modern space ¬†is always a conundrum, with heritage, council, community and developers’ voices often conflicting. Where do you stand on inner-urban development? Should some prestigious or leafy suburbs be exempt from high-rise development? Or do we need to change our expectation of the urban environment to provide housing for our ever-growing population? If we hope to contain our urban sprawl, a happy medium will surely need to be met.

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The scene is set: a very swank display suite launched the Yorkshire Brewery’s sales this weekend. It also hosted our beer tasting, which was genuinely educational and wonderful to enjoy in such a historically-loaded space.

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Led by craft beer impresario Costa Nikias, our group of media were told about the history of beer and the trope of our local craft-beer market. Beers were matched with rich fare from Tommy Collins. They were variously fruity, malty, aniseed-y and champagne like.

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The Yorkshire Brewery site itself will have several modern building surrounding the heritage tower – this will include a large piazza where it is hoped a sense of communality will be developed with a cafe and weekend market to come. Other points of differentiation for the Yorkshire Brewery will be two body corporate-owned apartments which will be ‘guest apartments’ for visitors. Developers increasingly need to up-the-anti to differentiate their projects, and this guest-suite is certainly a new offering. A communal dining space, yoga room and library will also feature as amenities.

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Costa talking about the import of water in brewing, and the relative flexibility to create when imagining a new beer. Costa won a prestigious award at Good Beer Week for his La Sirene belgian praline ale. You read right! Vanilla pods, cocoa nibs and more were used to create a uniquely fragrant product.

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 Hops (which are fragrant flowers, compressed into pellets) and wheat (toasted to various darknesses) give each ale its distinctive color, odour and taste.

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Costa’s craft beer was last on the tasting menu, and definitely my favourite! Not only for its dreamy graphic design (as we all judge a book by its cover occasionally…) but for its honeysuckle taste and fragrance, and light, bubbly appearance. Fresh!

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What do you think of repurposing heritage architecture into modern developments? Does presenting an off-the-plan project in context make you more or less likely to purchase property of this nature? I’d love your feedback on this contentious topic.