July 26, 2023
Wine & Dine

Kick Back Brewing to launch pizza bar at Port Noarlunga

Sourdough pizza, craft beer and ocean views are shaping up to create a winning recipe for Drifters Pizza Bar – a sister venue to Kick Back Brewing – set to open later this year at Port Noarlunga.

Drifters Pizza Bar

Two years since launching the popular Kick Back Brewing at Aldinga, geologist-turned-brewer Brenton Schoemaker is fitting out Drifters Pizza Bar at Port Noarlunga, set to open in time for summer. Photo: Sam Trezise.

His craft brewery might be named Kick Back, but kicking back is certainly not something Brenton Schoemaker has had time for of late.

Since launching one of the Fleurieu’s favourite craft breweries two years ago, the geologist-turned-brewer has been working to expand the business and is now fitting out a second venue at Port Noarlunga.

Drifters Pizza Bar will offer 16 taps of the same Kick Back craft beers available at the Aldinga brewpub, but with 48-hour fermented sourdough pizzas, local wines, and cocktails.

The new venue is slated to open in October on the ground floor of a new residential apartment building on Saltfleet Street, adjacent the Port Noarlunga Surf Life Saving Club.

“Drifters is about maintaining the Kick Back vibe that we’ve created in Aldinga, but under a new headline,” says Brenton.

Brenton and his dad David Schoemaker are fitting out the new venue by hand, just as they did at Aldinga.

“My dad and I built all the furniture and the bar throughout Kick Back, and all the old surfboards are family items. We’ll bring out a few more of those for Drifters,” says Brenton.

“We’re all involved – Mum, Dad and my partner Sophie; we’re all getting our hands dirty to pull it together.

“We’re a completely independent family-owned business, so it is a big step for us.”

When he open Kick Back in 2021, with his family members as business partners, Brenton did rigorous homework – even plotting out population hubs, tourist spots and proximity to other breweries.

He has been equally diligent in his preparation for Drifters.

Brenton says Drifters will offer patrons a different experience to Kick Back which is just a 15-minute drive away.

“Pizza and beer are such a classic combo and to do that at a very high level will be a real asset to the township. I think it’s going to be really popular,” he says.

Over the past year, the brewer has also been learning the art of pizza making.

“One of the reasons I’ve become interested in pizza is that there are some interesting crossovers with breweing,” he says.

Using a mother yeast, the sourdough will be fermented for at least 48 hours. The aim is to create a Neapolitan style but with a crispier base.

While the menu will include traditional toppings, Brenton is keen to develop unique and modern pizza offerings.

“I’m a big believer in sourcing local produce,” says Brenton.

“We’ve developed great relationships with local producers on the mid-coast, from butchers to our vegetable suppliers.”

The idea to expand the business came about after the brewhouse last year installed new fermenter tanks which increased Kick Back’s brewing capacity.

This created a problem, albeit a good one: extra beer.

Drifters will have a warm yet industrial feel echoing that of Kick Back Brewing’s Aldinga brewpub.

“We’ve now got extra production capacity. At first, we started looking into the wholesale space – selling kegs and cans to bottle shops and pubs,” he says.

“But you lose touch of quality control as soon as you enter a wholesale market. You don’t really know how the pub looks after their beer, is it sitting in a cool room? How clean are the lines? Those classic problems.

“The next option was to come up with another retail outlet so that people would come and drink beer in a glass, fresh out of the keg.

“It allows us to have ultimate quality control over our product, which is important for us.

“Drifters was born out of that.

“It keeps you in control over the quality of the beer, how it’s served, and delivering it in the best way possible. We can train our staff exactly how we want our beers presented and how to talk customers through our large tap list.”

The new Port Noarlunga location brings a sense of nostalgia for Brenton, taking him back to his childhood when his family would visit Port Noarlunga for fish and chips.

“It’s funny because just across from our new venue, there used to be a big grassy bank, right next to the fish and chip shop that has been there for forever,” he says.

“We would pick up our bundle of fish and chips and set up a picnic rug, across the road from where Drifters is now. We’ve done a full loop.

“I think this first summer is going to be crazy. I’m looking forward to getting Drifters up and running and getting into the groove.”

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