Most Australians have probably heard of Bodalla because of the now discontinued brand of eponymous cheese. I don’t reckon many have heard of Dalmeny. These two South Coast villages, which are only 11kms apart, should be known to all lovers of craft beer, because both each have a terrific brewery.
Of the two Big Niles Brewing Co is older and claims to be the oldest brewery the Eurobodalla region. The brewery is a family business. The beers and indeed the brewery are named after their dogs or children. The brewer was a pro BMX rider and he competed on the US circuit. Mrs brewer worked in a dog shelter to keep herself amused, whilst the hubbie competed and they adopted Big Niles 11 years ago. Big Niles is still alive (11 years old), and features prominently on all their livery.
We made a very quick visit a couple of years ago and were impressed then. They’ve made some changes to the inside layout and there’s a substantial number of taps. 10 taps were pouring beers ranging from their founding Lawnmower Lager to a very impressive Black IPA (named after a new dog) and a stunning Imperial Red Ale. I thought I’d had Beer of the Trip at Broulee Brewhouse, but the Hellraiser Imperial Red Ale was the weekend’s winner. Illiards and I were also dazzled by Bobby’s Black IPA. There’s a couple of big screens and I love sitting in amongst the tanks. With beers so good and hospitality so friendly – it is little wonder that we’ll be back the next time we come down this way.
For a relatively famous name, Bodalla is tiny. According to Wikipedia, there are only 740 people in Bodalla. Still, it manages to offer travellers along the Princes Highway a pub, a Bowlo and now a brewery. Malt Man Brewing opened in December 2021 and what a fabulous job the still enthusiastic owners have done.
The indoor and outdoor spaces that have been created are fabulous. The bar is in what feels like a dolls house, and there’s a surprising amount of room in a side room, an upstairs and a veranda. The large outside has alternating lawn and hard packed gravel areas and a hop garden. Our group of 14 had no trouble sitting together. There’s a tight little food menu and I’ve got to say that there fries were fantastic.
What is it about the South Coast and amber and red beers. Malt Man makes it three from three for fabulous amber/red beers. Tiny Toro Amber Ale is a delicious malty, toffee treat. Not as unctuous as Hellraiser, but still punchy. Opinion was divided on the Booster Brut IPA. I personally loved the bone dry finish that was preceded by crisp hoppy bitterness.
It is another really nice place to sit, drink and chat. Like Broulee Brewhouse it is far from an industrial vibe and really quite bucolic amongst the green of the gardens that are clearly lovingly maintained. The Malt Man branding is terrific and the boys picked up no shortage of merch.
As far as breweries and great drinking experiences go, the South Coast is killing it.
Big Niles Brewing Co: 1A Mort Street, Dalmeny NSW
Malt Man Brewing: 160 Princes Highway, Bodalla NSW