Wandana is a small local brewery set up in an ex-warehouse in the industrial estate of Mullumbimby, with an across-the-paddock view to Mt Chincogan. Where trucks used to load in the old removals area, now drinks, food and tunes are served. The bones of the space are still very much in its original warehouse form – genuinely industrial – but grounded with islands of natural wooden tables with stools and chairs, and comfortable couches recline under strings of warm festoon lights. Large stainless steel brewing vats gleam on one side of the warehouse, and ferns and other plants cascade at the entrance and into the room giving a gentle welcome. A DJ sits a little in from of the brewing gear, and the music creates an uplifting groove.
A long bar serves all the Wandana brews; the only ones in the world that have had non-stop music played to them the entire time they’re in their fermenting tanks. Research shows that sound has an effect on the yeast cells, and each of their custom-made fermenters has its own speaker. Individual beer batches have style-specific music played to them: ‘So we play German Polka to our German wheat beer, Nordic death metal to our stout brew (Number Of The Yeast) and so on. So we’ve got music in every brew you taste’, says Rupert Brown, the locally-raised bloke who’s returned to the area with partner Krissy to start Wandana.
The beer tastes really good, so one would suspect that there is no limp karaoke being played to these brews. As well as a wide range of beer styles Wandana has cider, gluten-free beer, respectable wine choices, and non-alcoholic drinks as well. A great local food truck is parked at the back of the brewery, there’s a different one each time: for our visit it was Mayan cuisine, a van serving fresh and colourful Mexican fare such as tacos, tostadas, empanadas and their great-for-sharing nachos. Other street food styles that grace Wandana are Greek, pizza, noodles, Indian – and more. If you’re a need-to-know kind of person you can check out the website for which caterers are coming when. The food trucks are there from 4pm Fridays, and 12.30pm Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a food truck every second Thursday from 5pm with Open Mic performances from 5.30pm (you might catch the next fledgling Iggy Azalea).
‘We’d like to be a locals hang-out’, says Rupert, ‘a community hub. We’re really keen to support local artists, for example our Open Mic night will be on every second Thursday, alternating with trivia nights. We’ve also been in contact with some great local manufacturers and we’re sourcing local crackers, hams, cheeses and salamis for our charcuterie boards.’
Wandana is a recent and welcome addition to the boutique brewery treasure trove, their beers are small batch and uniquely handcrafted. The space has a relaxed, genuine, unassuming cool, and the variety of fresh local food vendors and live DJs and music make it a one-and-only in a world that can lazily lean towards homogeneity.
Wandana Brewing Company, open Wed–Sun (only every 2nd Thurs; check website). 20 Manns Rd, Mullumbimby www.wandanabrewingco.com.au