Archive for the ‘Pubs, restaurants, outlets’ Category

I could get used to this

I enjoyed another great food and beer dinner last week. The venue was North Melbourne’s Courthouse Hotel. The idea was to match each course with a beer or two and a wine and determine which was the best match. Its a great idea for a night out and I hope the concept takes off. My palate still has a way to go as does my descriptive writing. I thought I’d briefly capture my impressions anyway and maybe get a few laughs when I look back at this in the future. Thanks to crafty for not only organising the night but also typing up the menu and taking some photos (the italics are mine though). Continue reading

A sign of the changing times?

In some circles dining at Melbourne’s Grossi Florentino may be a common occurrence. I don’t live in those circles so when the opportunity arose to have dinner there with some good friends recently, it was enthusiastically embraced. The plan was to experience this Melbourne institution by partaking in a 5 course dinner with matched wines. The only drawback was my concern that the wines would be wasted on me. If only the beer revolution had reached establishments like this and they would match beers instead! Well, ask and you shall receive. Continue reading

Not all beer and skittles

When I lasted posted, I mentioned that I would be visiting and writing about some other Victorian micro-breweries over the summer. Unfortunately I had some less than inspiring craft beer experiences during December and January and as a result haven’t felt much like blogging about beer (to be fair, there have been other distractions also – sun, surf, kids on holidays, a written-off car, a new car and a new job).

So time for a quick catch-up.

Continue reading

Prickly Moses

A little while ago I spent a weekend with friends in the country Victorian town of Colac. Just down the road from Colac is the Otway Estate Winery and Brewery, where the Prickly Moses beer range – and quite possibly some wine –  is produced. I figured it would be rude not to visit while in the neighborhood so a dozen blokes descended on the brewery on Saturday morning.  One of the brewers, Hendo agreed to give us a tour and soon had us all sharing his enthusiasm for flavorsome beers. In fact if Hendo could find a way to bottle enthusiasm I’m sure he’d be a rich man very quickly.

Continue reading

More great beer locations

Thanks to everyone who has sent suggestions for great bars for sampling Victorian beers. I’d love to descibe each in detail (and I might one day). In the meantime, try these places and send me your comments.

The Royston, Richmond

The Courthouse, North Melbourne

Bar Etiquette, Brunswick

Penny Blue, City

Cookie, City

The Fox, Collingwood

The Terminus, Richmond

Keep ’em coming


So much beer, so little time

I had plans to start writing about the best places to sample Victoria’s brilliant microbrewed beers. Well, I’m pleased to say that places to drink local beer are springing up a lot faster than I can get to them or write about them. For example, I was out for dinner last week at the brilliant ‘Taxi’ at Federation Square and was pleased to note that I could enjoy a Holgate Plisener as a starter and have a sensible conversation with the staff about beer options. Only a few years ago, the finest dining establishments may have stocked a few international brews and some Crown Lager but that was about it.

Anyway, don’t wait for my opinions, just go to the places listed below and then let me know what you think…

Mrs Parma’s – Lt Bourke St

The Local Taphouse – St Kilda

Beer DeLuxe – Federation Square

Young and Jackson’s – Swanston and Flinders Sts City

The Terminus – Clifton Hill

Grumpy’s Green, Smith Street

The breweries listed on your right.

Any other suggestions welcome too.


The Local Taphouse

OK – going out on a limb here. I don’t believe you will find a better place in Victoria to drink, learn about and generally appreciate the variety of beers in the world than The Local Taphouse in St. Kilda. It has a great relaxed atmosphere, very knowledgable and passionate staff, delicious food and most importantly 40 beers ON TAP.

They also run regular beer events and comedy nights and play host to some great musicians.

The beer list is extensive and includes local and international brews. There are frequent changes to whats on offer.

If you aren’t sure where to start (an entirely reasonable reaction) you can get a tasting paddle of 7 small beers and take it from there.

Perhaps the range of Victorian beers is not as extensive as some other places but if your haven’t put any artificial constraints on your beer tasting (as I have) you’ll not find a better place to indulge.


Mrs Parma’s

In light of the parochial nature of this blog, it’s very hard to think of a better place to sample some beers than Mrs Parma’s in Little Bourke Street. They specialise in Victorian microbrewed beers and have a great range.

The staff are friendly and knowledgable and always up for a chat about the beers on offer. The crowd changes from suits at lunchtime or just after work to a very eclectic but generally older (ie not teenagers) assortment later in the night. Due to the very nature of the place, the drinkers are usually discerning and more sensible than your average city bar.

They also serve a huge range of excellent parmigiana based meals. The menu would be the envy of many establishments, even given the slightly parma-obsessed nature of Victorian pubs.

Mrs Parma’s is very well-known among Victoria’s beer lovers and has been written about by a few people. This article from ‘All Ale the Big V’ sums it up nicely.

By the way, if you would like to re-live the bad old beer days of the 80s and earlier, you can always opt for a pot of Carlton Draught.

There are lots of other great pubs around with beers available from all corners of the world (and I’ll write about some of my favourites in the coming weeks) but if your particular interest is in local brews then a visit to Mrs Parma’s is a must.


Lots of great beer but where to drink it?

After a long break (from blogging, not tasting) I find I have lost enthusiasm for posting my thoughts on every beer I taste. I will certainly write about any that stand out from the pack but for the next little while I intend to concentrate on another pressing issue – the best places to sample Victoria’s great craft beers.

Research starts …

I’m baaaaaack

Its been a few weeks since my last post due to some time spent in Tasmania, a state that produces some fine beer but seems to hide it quite well. I was in the North of the state and it was impossible to find an outlet that stocked any local beer more adventurous that Cascade without travelling to Hobart. Seems a pity as there are certainly some good brews to be had.

One thing I did find was a copy of The Great Aussie Beer Book (actually it was a gift from my ever-resourceful brother) . Published in 1984, it outlines the state of brewing and drinking in that era. It claims that there were only 6 brewers in Australian then and includes details for their history and the beers they brewed – only some of which still exist. I’m not convinced this claim is entrely accurate as I am sure I had a few beers at the Loaded Dog Pub Brewery in North Fitzroy in the early 80s but it makes for a good story. The book also some good descriptions of pubs and pub culture though the ages. The variety of beer available now is a welcome change but I’m not sure if pub culture has improved particularly!

On the Victorian beer front, I have been enjoying a few Bridge Road brews recently, in particular their Chestnut Lager and also a few Porters.

I hope to write some more about these in the next few days before another period of blog silence due to a holiday in the sun.