Big Niles Brewing Co. is one of the many craft breweries popping up on the South Coast. And this tin shed tap house in Dalmeny is kicking goals with a couple of medals at a recent international beer competition.
Cameron White started his career as a professional freestyle BMX rider in the United States. But when that career finished and he moved back to Australia with his family, he needed some hobbies to occupy his time.
When his wife Michelle bought him a home brew kit 10 years ago, it hit the spot.
“I just fell in love with brewing beer. It’s a way for me to still be creative: instead of inventing tricks on a BMX bike I was mucking about mixing ingredients,” Cameron says.
Although the couple was living in Canberra, Cameron said they were already spending every weekend fishing on the South Coast. So when they saw an opportunity to move onto a mixed commercial and residential block in Dalmeny, it was too good to pass up.
Now Cameron and Michelle run Big Niles – a craft brewery and tap room on the same block as their house. Named after their dog Niles, who they adopted as a puppy back in the US, the now 12-year-old still loves heading down to the tap room to get a few pats from the punters.
Cameron says there’s a strong sense of community among the brewers on the South Coast. Rather than seeing each other as competition, they’re good mates and often swap ideas.
“We’re all making different beers. And it’s good having lots of breweries around because it makes it more of a destination for people to come and explore this awesome part of the world,” Cameron says.
Recently Big Niles was awarded a couple of medals at the Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards. With more than 2800 beers from 400 breweries across 21 countries, it’s the largest annual beer competition in the world.
Harry’s Pale Ale was awarded Gold in the category of Best International Pale Ale, and Silver Bobby’s Black IPA was awarded Silver in the category of Best American Black Ale.
Cameron says his beer preferences have been influenced by his time living in the US, but he’s pretty open to other styles as well.
“I like a bit of everything so we’ve been dabbling in lots of things: there’s about 13 beers on tap at the moment.”
The Big Niles tap house is located onsite at the Dalmeny brewery where all the beers are made. They rotate through different food trucks and often have live music on weekends.
The coastal town’s population fluctuates seasonally but Cameron says he’s fortunate to have the year-round support of the local community.
“At the beginning people probably thought I was a bit crazy, but they like the beer so that helps!”
The Big Niles Brewing Co. tap room is located at 1A Mort Ave Dalmeny, NSW.
It’s open from Tuesday to Thursday 3 pm to 6:30 pm, from 3 pm to 7 pm on Friday and from midday to 7 pm on weekends. Closed Monday.
Follow Big Niles on Facebook or Instagram, or visit the website.