You have just got to love the way Melbourne keeps coming up trumps with food and beverage festivals and events. We keep trying to get there to experience these great events, such as Good Beer Week, starting on the 18th May. Now in its second years, this event is going from strength to strength. Showcasing great craft beers from around the country and overseas, this surely has to be one of those “must do” events.

Beer Week in Melbourne 18 – 26 May 2013

As we have previously blogged, the event is centred in Fitzroy, with several pubs in the suburbs of Melbourne taking part. To celebrate this great event we are offering our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app for just 99c. This is a significant cost saving over the normal non – Good Beer Week price. So if you are in Melbourne, download and be guided to the best bars and pubs in Melbourne’s CBD. Sorry, but our app does not cover all the pubs holding Good Beer Week as we only cover Melbourne CBD. Although this maybe something we do next year, organisers permitting.

Bars in theCBD that are included as venues for Good Beer Week include:

  • Beer Deluxe
  • James Squire Brewhouse (CBD)
  • Young and Jacksons
  • 1806
  • Section 8
  • Penny Blue
  • Trunk
  • Dejavu

and you will find these in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars.

But while you are passing the time waiting for the pubs to open, what can you do? Well, why not head out and sample some of Melbourne’s fantastic cafes?

 

Melbourne has some of Australia’s best cafes too!

Melbourne is one of Australia’s top cities when it comes to coffee with some of the best baristas in the world creating coffees with such passion, you’ll keep wanting another. But it can be hard as a tourist to track down those coffee shop that you want to try. The are so many cafes and coffee shops that you can easily walk into one thinking this will do, only to find that it looks good but the coffee is rubbish. If you want to find the best coffee shops in Melbourne’s CBD, then grab Best Cafes in Melbourne.

 

 

As summer is now becoming a memory we need something to keep us entertained and what can be better than a nice pint of beer. Between May 16 and 26, Melbourne is hosting Good Beer Week and that is exactly what it will be!

This year the HQ of Good Beer Week is located at the Terminus Hotel in North Fitzroy, so this is perhaps not an ideal location for out of towners, but for the locals, it’s a pretty good spot. There are trams, trains and buses to get you there and during Good Beer Week, a local luxury car company Uber are offering 50% off their fare to and from the Terminus Hotel (head to Uber.com to sign up for this deal). Although I am sure they will not take kindly to the “have you got room for a slab and pizza” gag.

 

Good Beer Week will showcase some of Australia finest beers and more importantly, the best craft beers from around the country. the Pint of Origin showcase will be at different pubs for each state, except for NT (but Tassie is included). you can sample the following State beers here:

  • Victoria –  Great Britain Hotel – 447 Church St, Richmond.
  • Western Australia – The Royston Hotel – 12 River St, Richmond.
  • Queensland – Dejavu – 525 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne (find it in Best Melbourne pubs and bars app)
  • South Australia – The Tramway Hotel – 165 Rae St, North Fitzroy.
  • New South Wales – Rainbow Hotel – 27 St David St, Fitzroy.
  • Tasmania – The Gertrude Hotel – 148 Gertrude St, Fitzroy.
  • ACT – The Courthouse Hotel – 86-90 Errol St, North Melbourne.

Good Beer Week is also hosting other events throughout the week to inform and enhance on the beer experience. Beer Novice is being held at the Terminus Hotel on Sunday 19 May to educate those wanting appreciate more about beer. The event costs $45 and features 10 enlightening beers and three food pairings as well as 3 informative talks.

And once you have finished at Good Beer Week, where to? Well, our Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars app will guide you over 200 venues in the CBD where you can enjoy another beer, cocktail or just the ambience of a rooftop bar.

Will the real James Squire Please Stand Up?

On August 20, 2012, in CBD, by Jonno

 

The James Squire brewhouse

The James Squire Brewhouse is known all over Australia and there is probably not a major town without one (Canberra doesn’t count as far as we are concerned). But there is something strange about the James Squire Brewhouuse in Melbourne. There are two and it is alleged that they have nothing in common! Customers to the Portland Hotel on Exhibition Street will recognise the James Squire signature and branding about the place. You may also notice the beer vats in the corner which brew a local drop only sold in the Portland Hotel.

 Where is the James Squire Brewhouse?

 

The beer taps reflect the standard James Squire range in the Portland Hotel, so anyone would think that is was just a James Squire Brewhouse. Catch a tram down to Docklands where a new James Squire Brewhouse has been built.  This James Squire Brewhouse looks nothing like the Portland Hotel, but is a modern tavern with some rather splendid water views. The tavern itself is nothing special with common pub style furniture in a commercial shell that could have been a supermarket. But on a warm summers night, there are not too many better places to be sipping a cold beer, than overlooking Docklands harbour. Although as nice as the location is, during the day Docklands is quite dead and uninviting. It’s a pity really as Docklands is an area that should be buzzing, not dying.

 

The other James Squire

So back to the Portland Hotel that resembles a more traditional English style pub, with stripped wood floors and a more intimate atmosphere. Oh and home brewed beer, which on my visit was the called “Craic”. Located close to the centre of the CBD, the Portland Hotel is a good pub to meet with friends. Its easy to find in Best Melbourne Pubs and Bars.

 

Best real ales and ciders of Tasmania AustraliaIn January I wrote about a terrific pub, brewery and boutique beer bar crawl or walk I did in North Carlton and East Brunswick – mostly on Lygon Street and Rathdown Street. 1 pub, 1 brewery and 3 boutique or craft beer bars in Melbourne – heaven!

Not that I am going to make it a habit to do a pub, bar and brewery crawl or walk every 2 months, but in March 2012 I wandered down the east coast of Tasmania and stumbled upon some great spots I encourage people to check out. If you value fine beers, crafts beers and unique breweries here are some of Tasmania’s best ales, pubs and breweries.

1. Weldborough Pub – all craft beers in Tasmania available!

Weldborough Hotel - great craft beer pub in TasmaniaThe publican, Mark, was a friendly and knowledgeable chap. He obviously loves Tasmania’s craft beers and is a huge supporter of up-and-coming brands, like Morrison’s and Van Diemen’s (both brewed in Launceston), Iron House, Two Metre Tall and Moo Brew.

If you are in this gorgeous part of Tasmania invest a little time – even stay overnight if you can – and sample from Mark’s extensive knowledge and collection of wonderful Tasmania craft beers.

2. Pub in The Paddock, St Columba Falls Rd , Pyengana, Tasmania

Great little pub in the paddock with a beer drinking pig in TasmaniaNow this is a classic Australian outback pub. However, instead of it being dusty and on the edge of a desert (as depicted in the great Crocodile Dundee movies) this pub is in a lush green paddock in gorgeous Tasmania!

Out the back they have a pig which likes to be fed (light) beer we are told, but we didn’t venture sharing our beer – even light at that. They also had the wonderful Morrison’s red ale on tap, as we had just had at Weldborough. It went down a treat and we’ll certainly be looking that beer up again in the future.

3. Ironhouse Brewery, Bicheno, Tasmania

One of the best breweries in Tasmania - Ironhouse BreweryThis brewery is a bit of an eclectic mix of new and old. The new brewery is built on the edge of an old seaside resort. The brewery is named ‘Ironhouse’ as on this land the first house in Tasmania with an iron roof stood.

We sampled some excellent lagers and ales, I particularly rate their Pale Ale. I’ve seen Ironhouse ales and lagers offered all around Tasmania, and being the oldest brewery in the state, I am sure it is only a matter of time before we start seeing it more on the mainland.

4. Iluka, Coles Bay, near Freycient National Park, Tasmania

Iluka Tavern or pub is near Wine Glass Bay in Freycinet National Park - Coles Bay

Troy overlooking Wine Glass Bay in Freycinet National Park - working up a thirst for Hazard's Ale in Coles Bay, best tasted at the Iluka Tavern after an 8 hour hike

While I have been to this pub a few times over the years, one great night was for a quiz we held the night before a huge wedding – this time I found the food to be amazingly expensive.

We got some fish and chips to takeaway and when perched on our fold-out chairs on Richardson’s Beach in the National Park, our salivating came to an abrupt halt when we saw 3 tiny pieces of fish. Maybe 6cm long each and 2cm-3cm wide, if we were still at the Iluka Tavern I would have asked if they had accidentally served us the kids menu! For $28 it was not only a disappointment, but a rip-off. As was the $3 they tried to charge me when I asked for lemon, which was not included with our meal.

At least the beer is cold and there is plenty of Hazard’s Bay ale on tap. Probably our favourite brew on this trip. But, that could have been due to them being consumed after a long day of hiking in Freycinet National Park and at Wine Glass Bay – one of the top 10 beaches in the world we are told.

5. Moo Brew Brewery, MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

If you haven’t yet heard of the phenomenon which is MONA, we recommend you check it out on your visit to Hobart. On the site of the stylish Morrilla Bay winery – and Moo Brew Brewery – the world-class museum of new and modern art is providing Tasweigians and visitors alike, a wonderful experience. The Moo Brew brand is becoming more omnipresent on the mainland of Australia, and we are definitely advocates of these great beers. The estate is set up for the perfect beer in the sun – with giant Mojo cushions on the lawn, a stage for music acts and a lovely cellar door / wine bar thingy.

 

Great craft beers and brewery map of Tasmania

The kind of map of Tassie we love - look at all these craft beers and breweries!!

While we usually write about the best pubs and bars in Melbourne – as that’s what we present in our very popular Best Melbourne Bars & Pubs iPhone app – the above pub and brewery crawl is a wonderful trail to take along the east coast of Tasmania if you are flying into Launceston and out via Hobart.

Over the coming years Jonno and I will keep an eye out for the currently 14 craft Tasmanian beers from the glorious Apple Isle, in many of the Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars – especially the boutique craft beer bars in Melbourne.

 

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In January 2012 I took my best mate from Uni, Spud, on a 5-stop beer crawl / walk (actually, cycle) starting in Carlton and finishing with a great boutique beer bar on Lygon Street, Brunswick. We had a terrific afternoon sampling the craft beers at each, and soaking up the ambience of one of Melbourne’s newest breweries, Temple Brewery in Brunswick.

When to start this Carlton and Brunswick bar hopping, and where to eat

We kicked-off at 2pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but mainly because Spud had to be home by 5pm to help with the little ones. I’d suggest you start at or after 3pm though, as Atticus Finch only opens from 4pm. You could also reverse the order we did it and eat at The Great Northern, the nosh looked nice. Alternatively, do it in the order we have it below but after Atticus Finch skip the Alderman, head down to Mr W then have The Alderman as your last and either order food in there (which is passed in from next door, some great Sicilian food from we Bar Idda we’re told). Or, a few doors down (left out the door) is the highly rated Rumi, great middle eastern food.

The map or route for this top Melbourne bar crawl

As you can see from this map of our happy trail, the area is a little further north than Jonno has covered in our Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app, but I felt it was good to share this route:

1. The Great Northern, 644 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Web: www.gnh.net.au

This wonderful oasis boasts 18 craft beers on top. What a find! For a co-founder of The London Pub Crawl Co. this pub held a special place in my heart. The variety of beers on tap reminded me of the 160 English pubs Jonno whittled down from the 7,000 in London, and stuffed in our London pub iPhone and Android app.

2. Temple Brewery, 122 Weston Street, Brunswick East

Web: www.templebrewing.com.au

A sleek and modern brewery in an industrial pre-fab concrete park, tucked away just off Lygon Street (close to the Quarry Hotel). We found the staff pleasant, the beer spot on and from the look of the dlighted faces on other punters eating there – the food looked OK too. Our favourite beers straight from the tap that day were the Temple Bicycle Beer (of course) and Temple Saison.

3. Atticus Finch, 129 Lygon Street, East Brunswick

Web: www.atticusfinch.com.au

This stylish bar has some exquisite beers in the fridge. Some of the blurb from their website evokes the best picture I can convey:

“Enjoy a locally sourced epicurean treat while sinking into one of the comfy booth seats or relaxing in the spacious rear courtyard. Escape the everyday and become immersed in old world charm with a distinctive modern day twist.”

4. The Alderman, 134 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Web: n/a

This was our favourite for the day. Maybe it was the fact we were the first ones through the door soon after it opened at 3pm, or that the owner was working behind the bar that day and entertained us with a good chat and some history of the place. The selection of craft beers were impressive and the art deco interior and really well done courtyard outback captivated us for more than the mandated “1 beer per place” rule. In the colder Melbourne months the fireplace is perfect to cosy up to for a wintry ale. Check out the rustic dart board in the little courtyard.

5. Mr Wilkinson, 295 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Web: www.facebook.com/Mister.Wilkinson

My cousin Chris first introduced me to this gem. We were dining at Hellanic Republic and – knowing my love of beer and all things pubish – he suggested we meet here beforehand. It is a top little bar at the north-end of Lygon Street. The staff know their beers, are friendly and the décor of a lot of wooden surfaces with some old televisions thrown in make it a unique feel.

 

While none of these pubs, bars or the brewery are in our popular Best Melbourne Pubs & Bars iPhone app, when we do get to collecting all the data on pubs and bars further afield than the CBD and Docklands each and every one of the above will make the list. Both Spud and I highly recommend this beer walk, and our preferred mode of transport is the good old bicycle. Be sure to drink and ride responsible of course!