It is time to continue with the second leg of what was in effect a monumental pub crawl. Okay, it isn’t necessarily the longest, particularly since you could say that I went on a seven week pub crawl across Europe, but that is another story for another time. Instead we are traveling through the various pubs that I visited during Good Beer Week in May 2017, and the experiences that I underwent, which generally involved drinking some good, and some not so good, craft beers (not once did I touch a Carlton Draught, Coopers Pale Ale, or even a Stella Artois).
If you missed the first chapter, you can visit it here.
Since I wasn’t able to go to the Forrester’s Hall the day before I began my trek today there, Basically it was the Pint of Origin for New Zealand craft beers, something that I had yet to experience until now. Well, if you go to a craft beer bar with rotating taps then you might be able to find some, but I have discovered that most places you go to tend to only have local craft beers and a couple of big name ones (as well as the faux-craft beers, which really don’t count). Here I had a pretty nice IPA, however it was the bar itself that I really like – it has character, and feels like one of those old 1950s music halls. Actually, come to think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if my Mum landed up here in her youth.
My next stop was the Mountain Goat Brewery, a place that I have walked past a couple of times but never went in. One of the reasons was that they are only open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on Wednesdays they offer free brewery tours. Like a lot of breweries, they also serve food – usually pizza – however I came here simply to have some of my favourite beers. I ended up having a new one, a GBW, which was also pretty nice. The bar itself is more like a part of a warehouse than an actual bar, and you can also see into the brewing vats as well. However, due to time constraints I wasn’t able to go on the tour, but it is something I plan on doing in the not too distant future.
Across the road from the brewery is the Royston Hotel, which ironically doesn’t serve Mountain Goat. Mind you, one of the reasons was that this was the Pint of Origin for Western Australian craft beers. Little Creatures is actually one of those beers that came from WA, and has since found itself a staple in many of the bars across the country. However, since Little Creatures is a beer that I regularly drink, I ended up going for something else. As for the pub, it isn’t one of my favourites, and can be pretty difficult to get to as well since it is hidden in the back streets of Richmond.
My next stop was actually a Fish and Chip shop, but after that I headed to The National, one of the pubs with an awesome beer garden. Normally it is pretty crowded, and is also one of the pubs that allows fur babies into the beer garden. Tonight though it was practically empty, which wasn’t all that bad either. I do mention practically empty as there were a couple of couples here whispering sweet nothings to each other, which turned what is a rather hip and happening pub into a romantic hideway.
My final stop on Wednesday was another favourite – The Vic Bar. They were supposed to have some batches of Hong Kong craft beer, however it turned out that the batch never arrived so I was basically left with the same old, same old. Even so they have this lovely terrace out the front where you can sit and watch the world go by, which is what I did. It is one of those places, especially on the quieter nights, that I could spend an awful lot of time sitting at, reading a book, and drinking a beer.
It turned out that I got a couple of pubs mixed up. Apparently the Park Hotel was going to have an American Craft Beer tap takeover, it just turned out that the Park Hotel that was offering this wasn’t the Park Hotel that I every so often stop off at for a beer. As such when I wandered in here all I discovered was the same old same old, so I simply grabbed a beer, and wandered out the back into the beer garden – the Park Hotel is another one of those pubs with an awesome beer garden – and sat down and read my book. Once again it was a quiet night, which is something that you generally don’t expect from a pub such as this which is usually pretty packed.
A little disappointed I then wandered through the back streets of Abbotsford (so named because of the old monastery nearby) and paid a visit to another old favourite – Dr Morse. Well, I had found myself at a Good Beer Week bar, and this was somewhat quieter than what it had been in times past. They also had some beers on tap called Nogvetaum. It turned out to be incredibly expensive, and pretty horrid as well. Yet it wasn’t the beer that I came here for, but the artwork. I have seen that in a number of other innercity pubs were some artist tries to sell their work through the pub. The art was particularly pop culture in nature, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, time was marching on, so I held my nose, drank my beer, and headed home.
It was the end of the week, and also looking at the end of what had been a rather arduous trek. This time I headed over the Yarra to the Belgium Beer Cafe. I remember coming to one in Adelaide and loving the fact that the beer they served was incredibly potent. I even suggested having my team’s Christmas lunch here, which turned out to be a disaster. However, I still like the place for the beers on tap, and it was also the Pint of Origin for Belgium Beers. I even completed my first passport, which meant I got a pot of Leffe for free. He did try flogging off a Stella (probably because it was cheaper), but I specifically requested Leffe. As they say, don’t ask, don’t get.
After dabbling in some Belgium beer it was time to head to South Melbourne and another favourite pub – the Palace Hotel. Since it is to the south of the Yarra, it is a pub that I rarely visit, but since it was the Pint of Origin for South Australian beers, it was definitely one that I was going to. The thing is that having grown up in South Australia, and visiting regularly, I am fairly familiar with their craft beers. Mind you, a part of me wonders whether Coopers Pale Ale is a craft beer, but since it has been around for so long, and is also a staple at most places, I have to say no.
It was time to basically head to the other side of the city, and this time the Caewyn Cellars, which was the Pint of Origin for US beers. Well, I’m sure that there are lots and lots of craft beers in the US and I suspect that trying to get a sample of each would be near impossible. On the other hand, I suspect that you will not find any out the in country, or more regional cities, and are probably limited to California and the North East. Still, there was a huge selection, even though I was only able to have one. As was typical, the Caewyn Cellars was also packed, but I did manage to find a seat before heading back home to watch a movie at the local cinemas.
The second to last day of the festival, and time to hit a bunch of pubs before heading back home for another movie. The first pub was the Grosvenor, what was basically a huge trek, but it was the furthest south which meant that every pub from then on was heading closer to home. So, the Grosvernor was the Pint of Origin pub for Queensland beers, and not surprisingly the offering was pretty much on the small side – Queensland doesn’t come across as being a haven for craft beers and craft beer lovers. I ended up having an American Wheat Ale. The other thing that stood out was that I was not surprised to find myself in a pub in St Kilda that was playing the St Kilda football match.
I was planning on going to the Local Tap House, but when I got there it was closed, so it was on to the Windsor Ale House. Unfortunately I missed the tram so I ended up having to walk. Now the Windsor Ale House isn’t one of my favourite pubs, if only because of a snide comment they put on my Facebook post years ago. However, it was the Pint of Origin for regional New South Wales beers, so I decided to pop in for a drink. I ended up having the Shark Island, if only because of the name, but also because it was a summer ale, which was nice. Maybe it is time for me to forgive and forget, but being on the other side of the city from where I usually travel it isn’t a pub I’ll be visiting again in a hurry.
My next stop was the Windsor Castle, not because it was a Good Beer Week pub, but because it has an awesome beer garden, and some pretty cool pink Elephants on the roof. Sticking with the theme of craft beers I ended up having a Little Creatures pale ale, namely because I can never go wrong with a Little Creatures. I stayed here for a little, and had a drink in the beer garden before moving on once again.
It was a little bit of a walk to the next one, the Ladro Tap, which is actually more of an Italian Restaurant than a bar. Well, it is a bar, but it takes after the Italian style, though if you have been to Italy you will know what I am talking about. Anyway, this was the Pint of Origin for Italian beers, which baffled me a bit because other than Perroni, Italy isn’t really known for its beers. Mind you, Italy isn’t like Germany where everybody thinks that the national beer is Becks when in reality everybody drinks Bitburger (sort of like Australia and Fosters). In my mind, Italy equals fine wine, especially in Tuscany. However, there is obviously a craft beer scene here because they had a few interesting drops to try.
So, I then headed up back to the Cherry Tree hotel (by tram this time) where I discovered that it was the Pint of Origin for Regional Victoria. Well, I had completed my second passport so that meant I got a free beer. What was even better was that they let me keep the passport, which was odd because I thought that they needed that to get paid for the beer (and the guy and the Belgium Beer Cafe refused to let me touch it after he had stamped it). Well, it isn’t one of my favourite pubs, but I’m going to have to meander down here in the future some time.
My final stop for the day was Beer de Lux in Hawthorn. Actually it wasn’t my final stop because I popped into The Vic Bar to discover that there still wasn’t any Hong Kong craft beers. However, Beer de Lux was the Pint of Origin for ACT beers (that is from Canberra because all the ACT happens to be is Canberra). As it turned out there was a reasonable selection, much more than they had for Queensland. However, time was getting short, and I had to make it back home to go and see another movie, so I finished my beer and headed off.
So, my adventure was coming to an end, and it was the last day. Fortunately the last two Pint of Origin pubs were near by church, so afterwards I jumped onto the tram and headed to the Spotted Mallard, a bar that I have had a long relationship with, namely because it is one of my friend’s favourite bars. The Spotted Mallard was the Pint of Origin Pub for Tasmanian beers, but because it was basically the end of Good Beer Week the beer that I wanted, the Moo Brew, had run out. However, I did end up having the Hobart Brewery IPA which, as I have suggested previous, there is nothing better than a good IPA.
So, it was back to where I had begun, sort of, because I found myself back at the Brew Cult Bar which was the Pint of No Origin. I’m not really sure what that was all about because pretty much every beer has to have an origin of some sort. I’m not sure if it was a proper Pint of Origin Pub, but I did stay around for a bit with another craft beer, and also being somewhat impressed that a couple of the patrons were playing soccer on one of the big television screens. Then again, modern televisions do go really well with video game machines.
However this wasn’t the end because there was one more pub I wanted to visit – the Woodlands hotel. The reason for that was because it has this beer garden that really pushes the definition of beer garden. While it is technically outside, it still feels as if you are inside, but then again for an area to be a smoking room, it has to have at least 25% open to the air, which they simply do by opening up all the windows. The other thing about this pub was that the last time I was here they had this really nice grapefruit beer, but unfortunately it had been rotated off. The other thing was that earlier in the year I had pretty much visited every pub on Sydney road trying to find the pub that had this beer garden, and it wasn’t until I landed up at the Woodlands, one of the last pubs to visit, that I found it.
I did visit one more pub that night – The Browns Corner Hotel, but while they have some nice beers on tap, it is still a rather tacky pub, and the only reason I end up here is because it is where I have a beer while waiting for my bus to come.