The first brewery to open in Ipswich in more than 100 years, 4 Hearts Brewing, is making malty magic in the Pumpyard at the heritage 88 Limestone Street precinct.
This brewery proudly produces full flavour, chemical-free beers made with local ingredients and nothing artificial.
Committed to sustainability, 4 Hearts also leaves nothing behind by distributing its spent grain to local farms, providing free feed to farmers and reducing its contribution to landfill.
After a tasting of four delicious brews, we spoke to 4 Hearts Brewing owner James Long and head brewer Ken Friend.
What inspired you to buy Pumpyard and set up a brewery?
James: “As an Ipswich local, I always admired the heritage buildings in town, so when the whole site and buildings came up for sale, I decided to buy them. Afterwards, my wife and I were in the laneway between the buildings with our architect. It was a hot summer’s day and we all said that this place would be fantastic for a refreshing beer. We knew that the best beer is the beer consumed in the shadow of the brewery.
So we undertook research for craft beer and brew pubs. We went to New Zealand and China looking at brew pubs and breweries, and we ended up designing and building our own brewery. Luckily I have my own construction company. It was a struggle in the first few years but we are now very happy that we have a product that we are very proud of.”
What makes your beers special?
Ken: “Our beers are brewed with a passion for the beer we are making and beer in general. All of our beers are brewed in a very natural way and, except for a few select limited-release beers, they are brewed in line with the intentions of the German Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law).”
Which beer is the top seller? What’s your favourite?
Ken: “Sunshine Lager is our most popular beer in the bar and the Kickback Red IPA is the most popular in a can. My favourite of our beers — tough one and it depends on my mood and season — but currently I am loving our Belgian IPA.”
James: “My favourite beers change with the seasons. In the cooler months it is our Kickback Red IPA. The brewer keeps improving this beer with every batch and it is excellent. During summer I like a more easy drinking beer like Sunshine Lager or Super Model if I have to drive.”
Do you have any other new or seasonal beers coming up?
Ken: “We aim to release a seasonal beer each month. We have just released our dry hopped Belgian IPA, a De Honig Belgian Tripel, made with local Hoodlum Honey, and we have a Czech Pilsner and Dopplebock in the works.”
Is Ipswich a growing destination for beer lovers? How many other breweries are here?
James: “I think Ipswich is a growing destination of good food and beer lovers. Customers want the option of great food to accompany great beer.”
Ken: “Currently there are two breweries in Greater Ipswich. Us in Ipswich Central and another in Springfield.”
Which 4 Hearts Brewing beers are currently offered in the tasting at Pumpyard?
Sunshine Lager, Super Model Pale Ale, Kickback Red IPA, Bremer Brown Choc Hazelnut Porter.
Sunshine Lager (4.6% ABV, New World Pilsner)
Light and crisp mouth feel with citrus, fresh lemon peel and tropical fruit in the form of mango and passionfruit.
Super Model Pale Ale (3.5% ABV, Australian Pale Ale)
Light malt character and restrained bitterness for easy drinking; passionfruit, red berries, pineapple.
Kickback Red IPA (7% ABV, Red IPA)
Rich caramel and toffee, with firm bitterness; tropical fruit, pineapple, citrus.
Bremer Brown Choc Hazelnut Porter (4.7% ABV, English Brown Porter)
Malt body with roast, toast and dark cocoa chocolate on the palate, finished with a smooth hazelnut character.