welcome to the pilot room
the pilot system
What exactly is a pilot system? – In our case, it started as a cross between a home brew setup and a professional brew house; over the course of the next couple of years in an effort to keep up with demand, it has become a custom built and designed brewhouse to mimic those that the big boys have, conveniently fit into the room we have available at the bar. For larger breweries, a pilot system is where recipes and ideas are tested before committing to a scaled-up brew. For us, the pilot system allows us to brew whatever our hearts desire, to pour through our taps for all of you to try. Nothing is off limits and where larger breweries may be hindered when it comes to experimentation due to the sheer scale of their operation, we are free to play with flavours, additions and ideas until our hearts are content.
so why pilot room?
When opening the bar in 2017, our dream was to include a small brewing operation alongside it. We weren’t willing to over extend ourselves. Having a large, shiny, new toy to brew on would have been nice, but not aligned with what we were wanting to achieve.
With no intention of competing on a large scale in an increasingly saturated market and not having to rely on large distribution channels for wholesale packaged and keg sales or additional funding to keep the brewing operation afloat. We’re not here to attempt to take over the beer world. We want to share our brews with our local following. To put it simply, we have a pure passion for beer, brewing it ourselves, sharing it amongst friends and enjoying it. We were never approaching this from a pure ‘business’ idea thinking that it would be cool to open a brewery just because there was a gap in the market locally. Doing so would have been the antithesis to the past 3 years of work and who we are as people.
Shortly after opening the bar, Tim embarked on furthering his brewing knowledge. With years of practice at home, it was time to formalise and extend that knowledge base with training. Over the course of the next 2 years, weekly travel to Sydney ensued, attending The Institute of Beer in between working at the bar. During this time, Tim was taught by, and brewed with, some of the best in the industry who were located in and around Sydney. Work began on the Pilot Room quietly in the background.
Combined with a community that has embraced The Monkey Bar with open arms, we have completed years of market research, paying close attention to the styles and flavours that our loyal following were enjoying us pouring. All the while still tinkering on our system and processes in the background.
Then Covid hit. We were knocked on our arses like everyone else in the hospitality industry, looking around for guidance on how to move forward but consistently turning inward for a source of direction, kegs became harder to come by as breweries turned to packaged stock to keep them going during lockdown, it was an opportune time to convert plans into a reality. Lockdown gave us the time to step back, assess everything with a fresh perspective and generate a plan to move the pilot system into the bar.
Quite simply, there is a pilot brewing system in the back room of the bar. After throwing names and ideas around since we opened, and true to style with how we operate – we decided to keep it simple. Pilot Room was born.
what to expect from the pilot room
That’s easy – we brew beer that we, and the community that surrounds the bar want to drink. Don’t expect crisp, dry lagers. That’s not our style. And, to be honest, it’s the style of beer that moves the slowest through our taps. Think sessionable pales, big, hoppy IPAs, pastry stouts, fruited sours and sometimes pure experimentation simply for the joy of it.
We plan to run the brewing system in the same way we already run our taps, constantly rotating through different beers, with a fever for flavour and pushing boundaries. Further cultivating the community we have already built around the bar and continuing on this epic journey into beer that we embarked upon when we first opened our doors.
Whilst we consider the beer itself an art, brewing has enabled us to further explore our little known passion for art of the more mainstream variety. Tapping our beer at the bar meant that we needed to come up with label art to display alongside the other offerings at the bar. Unbeknownst to everyone, digital art and drawing has been a hobby of ours for years and what better way to put it to use than implementing it for each of our beers. All of the illustration and art used for the Pilot Room is done in house and on display at the bar.