Good Beer Here: Mechanics Institute Bar

‘Good Beer Here’ is a celebration of pubs, bars and restaurants with great beer. They might not be a “craft beer venue” but they can still have a kick-ass beer list. It puts a big smile on my face to see venues paying equal attention to their beer list as they do their food, wine and cocktails. Those who don’t, those who have settled on a beer list that features Cascade Light, Crown Lager and Stella, are well and truly behind the eight ball. It’s kinda like getting all dressed up for an elegant night out, putting all that thought into your hair, dress, make up and jewelry and then wearing your muddy sneakers. Crown Lager is a muddy sneaker.

The Bar …

Mechanics Institute Bar

Rear 222 William St, Northbridge | Open from midday Tuesday – Sunday

The last time I was at the Mechanics Institute Bar it was after a work dinner, we walked into the bar, ordered drinks and when Billy Joel’s Piano Man came on the speakers we all sang loudly. Thankfully a few other patrons joined in too.

My visit before that night was on my own in early October. I enjoyed a chat with the bartender, a friend of mine, and I couldn’t help but stop mid-sentence and smile because Queens of the Stone Age started to play on the sound system. This was followed by Rage Against the Machine. Gold. Having worked in some places with really horrible music, such as a French version of Hit the Road Jack, I do appreciate some good tunes in a bar.

Mechanics is a small bar located in Northbridge near the State Library. Like most small bars it’s better known for cocktails than beer but they haven’t slacked off in the beer department.

Stroll up to Mechanics and get tasty burgers delivered by their friendly Flipside burger neighbours.

The Beers …

Anything on tap?

There are two taps which change pretty regularly, changes that seem to depend on availability rather than a strict rotation schedule. In October they had Tiger and Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider whilst on a previous visit there was one of the Mountain Goat (VIC) Rare Bread beers, their limited release label.

Bottles?

It isn’t a huge list but there’s about a dozen interesting beers in their fridges. There’s local brews like Mountain Goat Summer Ale cans and Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale plus international favourites likes Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss and Saison Dupont. The list is on rotation so expect to see new and different brews on a fairly regular basis.

Mechanics Institute Bar
Photo from my visit in October 2014
Photo from Mechanics Institute Facebook page
Photo from Mechanics Institute Facebook page

Weekend Reading #24

This weeks articles cover off cans, aeroplane beers and the cost of beer … yup, the cost of beer is still a hot button topic

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Beer and Whiskey Brothers | Delta Complicates Craft Beer Offering as only an Airline Could

I saw this announcement a fair amount on Twitter, assuming it was around the time the press release was issued, and my first thought was “Oh Qantas executives, please read this and get cracking!” Maybe if we all wish really, really hard.

However, outside of the press release comes this piece on where and when the beers will be available and opinions on what beers have been chosen. It’s an interesting read from a more local perspective.

Colonial Cans

Dear Qantas Executives,

These are available now. They are brewed in Margaret River, they are tasty. Please call Colonial Brewing. Please also call Mountain Goat and Mornington Peninsula.

Many thanks, Pia aka I wish I could enjoy these on your flights

Sydney Morning Herald | Craft Beer: How much should you pay?

As always with these sorts of articles it is the comments at the end that are really eye opening. As I read them my fingers twitch over the keyboard, structured paragraphs form in my mind in but I resist the urge to type because even though I have my opinion I don’t want anything to do with such a circus of words. It does, however, make for interesting reading.

Incidentally, my answer to the headline is simple – there is no “should”, buy the bottle or don’t buy the bottle and this applies to domestic mainstream beer and premium craft and everything in between. One persons crazy is parting with $70 for a bottle of Nail Clout Stout, another persons crazy might be spending anything more than $20,000 on a car. There’s no right or wrong but there is being a bit of a dick and telling people they are stupid for enjoying things they like.

BRW | Craft Brewers Lead Canned Beer Comeback

Back to cans – here’s a nice little write up of Australian brewers who have been embracing their cans … and you should too!

Eagle Bay Tap Takeover & New Stuff

Last week Mt Lawley’s Five Bar played host to an Eagle Bay Brewing tap takeover. The beer line up included a mix of regulars and limited releases including the current brewer’s series Steam Ale and the previous release, the Cacao Stout

Last week Mt Lawley’s Five Bar played host to an Eagle Bay Brewing tap takeover.

The beer line up included a mix of regulars and limited releases including the current brewer’s series Steam Ale and the previous release, the Cacao Stout; a beer that we had all thought was done for the year. In a wonderful surprise Eagle Bay found the very last keg tucked away at the brewery. After careful deliberation between the crew it was decided to take it to Five Bar.

The Cacao Stout, now a couple of months on, was as silky smooth as ever and seemed like the red berry flavours were creeping out a little more compared to when it was first released in winter.

Bahen & Co are the bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Margaret River who collaborate with Nick for the annually released Cacao Stout

Eagle Bay’s beers were matched to a range of dishes including food by two beer loving chefs – Mitch aka Beersine with a Bahen & Co Cacao Stout Chocolate Chilli Tart and Wendy aka Me & Mabel with some Corn Tamale, the latter was paired with the Steam Ale and proved a beautiful match.

Eagle Bay Brewing

Eagle Bay Tap Takeover at Five
Smoked Pork Belly with Chorizo Foam
Eagle Bay Tap Takeover at Five Bar
Citrus and Vodka Cured Salmon

new stuff?!

Margi, Eagle Bay’s retail and marketing manager, was able to reveal that plans are well under way to bottle their next core range beer! Drum roll please ……………

Hello, ESB!

Yup, that’s right folks. A tasty, locally brewed, year round ESB will soon be at your finger tips.

[Crafty, I’m looking at you, I know you will be excited about this!]

The exact timing is uncertain but Margi says they are aiming for the end of January/beginning February. Stay tuned for more details!

PLUS Eagle Bay’s next brewers series beer is almost ready to launch, it’s a summer ale and I think will be best paired with white sand and clear blue ocean, BBQs and water balloon fights. The launch will be happening Friday 19th December at 4pm at Mane Liquor. In fine Eagle Bay launch tradition there will be food too – this time provided by Chicho Gelato. Find out more here.

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout 2014
Eagle Bay know how to throw a launch – this was the Cacao Stout launch with Me & Mabel back in August

 

 

girl+beer @ Frisk Small Bar

Frisk is a gin speciality bar that doesn’t shy away from good beers and in the spirit of good beers I was delighted to be asked by the crew at Frisk to collaborate on their beer menu

Frisk Small Bar is a gin bar, there are lots and lots of gins. There is also lots of pretty good beer too.

If you haven’t been to Frisk Small Bar yet it’s on Francis Street in Northbridge, not far from where the old Taipan Room nightclub used to be (for those old enough and not ashamed to remember).

Frisk is a gin speciality bar that doesn’t shy away from good beers and in the spirit of good beers I was delighted to be asked by the crew at Frisk to collaborate on their new beer menu. Every month or so, depending on how fast the beers are enjoyed, there will be three featured beers on the menu hand picked by yours truly around a particular theme.

Frisk Small Bar

November’s locally themed feature beers

For the “beer curious” there will be something that I hope will light the beery love on your palate, then for the “beer lover” maybe something of a classic, maybe something new but definitely something tasty. Then for the “beer geek” something extra special.

Frisk Small Bar

These are the latest beers on the menu, though I have been told they are selling fast, and they are all beers which have been recently released, or re-released in the case of Bootleg’s The Coconut One – a hefeweizen with toasted coconut.

Be sure to get into Frisk and see what beers are kicking around and if there’s anything you’d like to see on the menu please comment below!

Weekend Reading #23

This week featuring a couple of articles on Cricketer’s Arms, a word on beer education and the dispute on beer contracts happening here and now

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Straight | Craft Beer Education Classes Make Learning Fun in Vancouver

There isn’t anything particularly surprisingly or revolutionary here but I just liked reading this article because it makes me smile to see the craft beer bug spreading.

Hospitality Magazine | Hospitality Staff in Need of Craft Beer Training

I agree with the headline but I don’t like the comparison to wine –

“You could technically say craft beer is like wine and it’s going to become more like wine as you go and we get different classifications and different levels.”

Craft beer isn’t wine, it’s not even close to wine and it’s not where, in my opinion, where we want to be as an industry. I understand comparing things to help people understand, give them something familiar but please don’t use wine. For me, as soon as you compare, you’re already starting on the wrong foot in presenting craft beer in the right light.

It’s also interesting to see what Cricket’s Arms will do, how it will be received, as a brand owned by Asahi.

Crafty Pint | Clean Bowled

More on Cricketer’s Arms that gives a much better idea of what the brand is about beyond merely who owns it.

“… clearly, there are plenty out there that rate the equipment and skills of the brewers”

ABC News | Craft beer brewers ask for action in fair trade dispute

I have never understood how CUB and Lion have been allowed to present contracts to customers that claim 100% share of beer. This is a really interesting read/listen (video available) and I’ll be very curious to see what comes from this.