‘Zymurgy’ is a hard word to pronounce. But it’s the perfect word to encapsulate the food and beverage venue created by the founders of Footscray craft brewery Hop Nation, Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson, and the renowned chef at Yarraville’s Navi restaurant, Julian Hills.
Inspired by Duncan
“The name Zymurgy is inspired by Duncan’s and my interest in fermented beverages. And then Julian is really into fermenting foods,” says Sam. “Zymurgy means the practice of fermentation – so the word encompasses everything that we do, from the alcohol through to the food.”
Winemaking friends Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson started their independent brewery in a former whale fat candle and wax factory in Footscray in 2014.
Wanted to start the brewery in Melbourne
“I was making wine in the Mornington Peninsula, Duncan was making wine in the Yarra Valley. But we wanted to start the brewery in Melbourne, and we really liked the inner west and moved our families here when we started the business,” Sam explains.
While Hop Nation continued to expand, Sam and Duncan kept kicking around another business idea – a place in the inner west where they could serve their beers with food. Sharing this idea with their friend Julian, the trio decided to open Zymurgy in 2021 in West Footscray.
“We’ve always liked Barkly Street and an opportunity came up for this venue with a beer garden. After the COVID outbreaks, it seemed like outdoor dining was the way to go.”
Zymurgy offers tap beer from Hop Nation, minimal intervention wine from their label Site Wine and their Dart Distilling small-batch gin.
The Heart Pale Ale
A favourite tipple amongst regulars is The Heart Pale Ale, while Sam’s personal favourite is the Rattenhund Pilsner, which won the Award for Best Pilsner of the Year at the Australian International Beer Awards 2021.
Sam further explains they are working on something new to add to the mix – ageing brown spirit whisky. However, customers will have a two year wait to get their hands on it, as in order to get the fermentation right, Sam predicts its release won’t be any earlier than 2024.
Seasonally-inspired shareable plates
As for Zymurgy’s food menu, in summer, it’s all about seasonally-inspired shareable plates as the beer garden opens up to warm sun rays. During the colder months, while the beer garden is closed, the kitchen changes it up to serve free-range charcoal chicken, chips, and house-made pickles.
“Our vision for Zymurgy is that it’s a place for customers to enjoy a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere and to try high-quality drink offerings matched with some really interesting food in the heart of West Footscray.
“We will continue to evolve Zymurgy and to serve the local community with what we do best.”