Victoria’s Castlemaine is having a moment right now, to the point where most Melburnians would casually throw out a “could see myself living here, mate” after their weekend sojourn to the regional mecca. There are plenty of reasons why, however, the most recent drawcard is Love Shack Brewing Co, a new brew-pub built in the back of the Theatre Royal.
Behind Love Shack is two mates, Conna Mallett and Harrison Cox, who met sinking knock-off frothies after a shift at Melbourne’s Stomping Ground Brewery. Mallett went on to be the lead brewer while Cox jumped ship to Hop Nation Brewing Co before reuniting for this bucolic, beer-y venture—yep, it’s safe to say the duo know their way around a cold one.
“I have always loved Castlemaine and when my family and I moved here, we saw so much potential in the town for a business like this, we just had to find the right site for it,” said Mallett.
The site is indeed unique. You’ll find it around the rear of the Theatre Royal built into some of the sheds—which is, of course, all part of the charm— before opening up into a breezy 300 capacity beer garden.
Mallett had been hunting for sites in Castlemaine when he bumped into Tim Heath, one of the owners of the heritage-listed Theatre Royal. “I told Tim what I was doing and he said they had an old shed out the back of the Theatre, why don’t we do it there,” says Mallett. “Just like that Love Shack Brewing Company was born”.
Along with the signature space, Mallett and Cox have managed to cart in a six hectolitre brewhouse and a 12 hectolitre fermentation tank. What that means for those not privy to the lingo is a lot of beer—in which they’ll be releasing a core range consisting of a classic lager, a pale, an IPA and a summery passionfruit and pineapple sour.
They’re also throwing a big ol’ party on opening night with indie legends The Murlocs playing in the theatre, which happens to be on new year’s eve. Not a bad excuse to check out of Melbourne for a hot minute, right?
Make a weekend of it and check out Victoria’s most charming country towns here.
Image credit: Mattin BGN