When I started this blog in 2011, the beers were a changin’, but even then I could never have envisaged craft beer would be what it is today. Craft beer is no longer the lonely guy sitting in the corner, it’s the life of the party, and everyone’s invited.
Across the country craft beer deserts are quickly becoming oases and you can find good beer just about everywhere now. This point was hammered home a recent roadtrip, when I stopped off en-route at the town of Wagga Wagga.
Wagga Wagga is not only home to the excellent brewpub Thirsty Crows and their brilliant Vanilla Milk Stout, but I was also shocked upon arriving at the pub to find they had 5 of the celebrated American brewer Stone’s beers on tap. Stone beers on tap in Wagga Wagga, who would have thought this would ever happen a few years back!
Elsewhere across the country, Sydney seemingly opening a new brewery every month. Wayward Brewing is open, Grifter Brewing is on the way, Staves Brewery has opened up in Glebe, and Akasha is almost there in Five Dock too! And I’m sure there’s some I’m missing. While in Canberra, Bentspoke is set to expand with the aim of becoming the first retail beer both brewed and packaged in the ACT.
And while Queensland may not have been a leader in craft beer over the years, things are happening there too. There seems to be a spate of brewery and bar openings and one that caught my eye was the opening of a self-service taps beer venue on the Sunshine Coast in Mooloolaba, which is a first of its kind for Australia.
Tasmania now has its own Tasmanian beer trail website to help its cause and help those on the craft beer hunt there. One of its most unique breweries, Two Metres Tall are making waves and have the ambitious aim to brew an estate beer. That is a beer brewed with all ingredients grown on site!
WA has always been a leader and Feral has perhaps cemented its reputation as the best brewery in Australia with some tap takeovers this year of a size and quality no other brewery can rival.
While perhaps the greatest sign of the beer market maturing came in Melbourne when Boatrocker opened up their barrel room in the outer suburbs just last week. This is a one-of-a-kind for Australia with its barrel ageing program and collection of experimental beers, this one has potential to be a real destination for beer geeks and lovers across not only Australia but the world.
In Melbourne it’s also become evident that you can’t open a new bar or restaurant or even a shopping centre food court anymore without a decent craft beer selection. Hawkers Hall, a hot new restaurant from the owners of super popular Chin Chin, opens today with much fanfare but also 18 beers on tap. Yes craft beer is the trendy new drink to accompany good food. Check out the details of their blind tasting to make the beer selections.
And even in the craft beer desert of Melbourne’s East, the new development at Eastland Shopping Centre includes a kind of gourmet food court, where I couldn’t help but notice that every restaurant in it, had its own local craft beer selection including beers from the likes of Barrow Boys, Two Birds and Boatrocker.
So we’ve made it, good-beer-loving friends. The war is over. Enjoy the spoils now it’s peace time.
Don’t look for the shadows of our enemies, as large as they may loom. Enjoy the exciting beers flooding in from overseas and spreading from within Australia too.
Enjoy the good beer everywhere. Because the beers they are a changed.