a beer list in a make-believe bar #2

Welcome to my make-believe bar with six taps and five packaged beers; here’s what I am serving right now. Aka an excuse for me to write beer lists.

At the end of October I decided I would have a make-believe bar so that I could indulge in a little beer list writing. It was prompted by a blog post I wrote a couple of months earlier called ‘A few words on beer lists’ and it was one of my most popular posts for the year. It seems a few people agree there are plenty of beer lists out there that could do with a little TLC.

A few notes on my beer lists –

  • Availability – I will try to only list beers that are available here in Perth
  • Price – Whilst I don’t know the cost of goods on all beers, nor am I inclined to go and get them for a make-believe bar, I will try my best to have a good spread of beers across a reasonable price.
  • Limited space – capping things at just six taps and five bottled/canned beers.

You can check out the last (and first) beer list here and now it’s time for a little change.


a beer list for the crazy / festive season …

ON TAP

  1. Pirate Life Throwback IPA | Hoppy, mid strength and fabulous
  2. Feral Karma Citra | One of my favourite Black IPAs and one of my most beloved of the Feral range
  3. Eagle Bay Pale Ale | A go-to pale ale, consistently great and tasty
  4. Last Drop Pilsner | There aren’t many local pilsners and this is one of the best
  5. Two Birds Taco | Light enough for summer, interesting enough for the geeks, a freaking great beer
  6. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale | Fast becoming a classic and perfect for the onset of summer

Pirate Life Throwback IPA

IN THE FRIDGE

  1. Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose | Have been enjoying a few of these lately and I’m totally in love!
  2. Epic Hop Zombie | Bring out the hops!
  3. Colonial Small Ale | A fantastic reduced alcohol beer with one of the most satisfying cans you’ll find
  4. Young Henry’s Newtowner | I’ve only seen the tinnies on Facebook in the last few days so I figure it’s kinda new and I know they’re tasty so why not chuck them on the list for summer?
  5. Holgate Temptress | Something a little dark but not overpowering, even when the weather is hot who wouldn’t want a chocolate porter with a luscious dessert?

Holgate Beers

a beer list in a make-believe bar

Welcome to my make-believe bar with six taps and five packaged beers; here’s what I am serving right now. Aka an excuse for me to write beer lists

(above) A set of beer taps at Lalla Rookh, Perth CBD

In August I wrote a blog post called ‘A few words on beer lists’ and it was one of my most popular posts for the year. It seems I am not the only one who feels beer lists are often the forgotten lost souls of a venue, doomed to a life of neglect and boredom.

Inspired by the interest from that blog post and just for some fun, I have decided to indulge in a little make-believe and pretend I have a bar. I’m going to pretend that this bar has six taps and not a huge amount of fridge space so just enough for five packaged beers too. As you’d expect, my beer list will change every couple of months.

A few notes things I will consider for my beer lists –

  • Availability – I will try to only list beers that are available here in Perth
  • Price – Whilst I don’t know the cost of goods on all beers, nor am I inclined to go and get them for a make-believe bar, I can have an educated guess so I will try to have a good spread of beers across a reasonable price.
  • My employer – Initially I was going to exclude anything from Nail Brewing but, as this blog will show, I have always loved the beers from Nail so I will not actively exclude the beers from my lists.

Ok, so here’s what my make-believe bar will be serving for the next couple of months and a brief reason why I picked each beer.


a beer list as we come into summer

ON TAP

  1. Colonial Small Ale | One of my absolute favourite low ABV beers
  2. Eagle Bay Kolsch | An easy drinking, approachable, well made beer
  3. Mash Copy Cat | Something for the hop heads and beer geeks, you gotta have a big pale ale on tap
  4. Nail Red Ale | Something a bit ballsy but not too over the top
  5. Last Drop Hefeweizen | Wheat beers can be one of those “love them or hate them” styles but I love them and this is one of the best Hefes going around
  6. Cowaramup Pilsner | A fantastic pilsner and not often seen on tap

Colonial Small Ale - Brews in the Beer Garden at The Blvd

IN THE FRIDGE

  1. Gage Roads Single Fin | Staying local and I like the new(ish) branding 
  2. La Sirene Saison | Love all their beers and you just have to throw a saison in there, right?!
  3. Bootleg Raging Bull | Just one dark beer for a summer list and this is a cracker
  4. Pirate Life Pale Ale | Believe the hype, this beer is just so damn good and I don’t mind having a big hoppy beer on tap as well as this given how popular American style pale ales are.
  5. 4 Pines ESB | Something malt driven and delicious

A few words on beer lists

It isn’t that I think every bar and restaurant should be serving barrel aged Belgian quads, mouth puckering sour beers and barley wines, though it would make for a beer enthusiasts paradise, but every beer list should still be great.

The case of five international lagers …

Sadness is a beer list that is half international lagers; I’m looking at you Stella, Heineken, Peroni, Corona, Becks, Kirin and Asahi. It’s like having a food menu with five chicken breast dishes. Even if you really like international lagers/chicken breast two choices is probably enough. Lets have some variety please.

There’s more than two Australian light beers …

Following in the footsteps of Little Creatures Rogers’, a 3.8% ABV amber ale, more and more craft breweries are adding lower alcohol beers to their range. Responsible drinking never tasted so damn good. By all means, keep a light lager beer but why not a something crafty too?

Everyone has to stock it …

Corona isn’t compulsory. Yes it’s popular but it’s not mandatory. I have had many conversations with people who don’t want to stock Corona yet believe they must. Has anyone ever walked out of a bar because they couldn’t get a Corona? I doubt it. If you want to sell it, that’s fine but if you don’t want to then don’t, honestly, I reckon it will be fine.

Show some beer love …

Weeks if not months of work go into putting a food menu together, same for wine and cocktail lists so why does it sometimes feel like the beer list gets about ten minutes of consideration? It’s like getting dressed up for a black tie event and then wearing your thongs. I am not saying all beer menus should be 100% craft but they should represent the venue. Take pride in a wine list that is all West Australian? It is super easy to approach your beer list in the same way. Make noise about the kitchen sourcing local ingredients from small producers? Chat with local craft brewers.

Bigger isn’t always better …

Really long beer lists aren’t always great. As always it is quality and not quantity that counts most. Extensive beer lists can be great in the right place but in some cases it’s a matter of lots of overlapping beers, hard to view fridges and aging stock. Small and high rotational lists can be just as interesting as long, complex ones.

 

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

Good Beer Here: The Classroom

‘Good Beer Here’ looks at the great bars, restaurants and pubs who might not be a craft beer venue exclusively but do have some kick ass brews …

‘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.
Venue: The Clasroom | 1/356 Charles Street, North Perth

They might not have any events in the WA Beer Week calendar but The Classroom in North Perth have been quietly satisfying beer geeks since they opened in 2012.

Wonderfully themed, The Classroom brings back fond childhood memories of primary school days with blackboards and hopscotch markings, metal lunch boxes and hooks for impossibly big bags.

Whilst they are not specifically a craft beer bar they do boast an excellent selection across their four taps and 20 bottles.

The beer lists changes frequently, working with the seasons and whilst they might not have the biggest selection they do hope it’s one of the best.

During WA Beer Week there will be some extra special beers on their taps including Coopers Vintage 2014, a “particular favourite” of Andrew Bennett’s, one of the owners of The Classroom (pictured below). Boatrocker’s Hop Bomb IPA, Nomad Jet Lag IPA and Feral’s Boris, a Russian Imperial Stout, will also make appearances.

Photo from The Classroom's Facebook page
Photo from The Classroom’s Facebook page

If you visit The Classroom during WA Beer Week Andrew recommends having the Boat Rocker Hop Bomb IPA with their Roast Duck Dumplings – the umami flavours should go nicely with the beers bitter hop character.

In other news The Classroom team are working hard on getting their second venue up and running – Lucky Chan’s Laundry & Noodle Bar which is set to become Perth’s first permanent crowd-funded bar. Located on William Street in Northbridge, Lucky Chan’s plans on serving up traditional Japanese ramen noodles, hand-made no less, and dumplings.

Construction has started but there is a long way to go with doors not looking to open until the new year. You can see the progress, or even contribute to the campaign, here.

For beers at Lucky Chan’s Andrew says they will be “reminding people it’s not just Bintang, Sapporo and Asahi”. Beers will be matched to the food, the same synergy between beer and food that you might find at a hawker’s market.

“We’re not going to stick beers on just because they are Asian”

Just like The Classroom it sounds to me like the beer list at Lucky Chan’s will be carefully selected to be interesting and suitable to the food being served. Hear hear for great beer!

Lucky Chan Sneak Peek in early October
Lucky Chan Sneak Peek in early October

 

 

 

Great Beer Menus – The Precinct

But just because you’re not a “craft beer venue” doesn’t mean you can’t 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. It’s time to put the spotlight on these great places, starting today with The Precinct …

I love craft beer and going to venues who share my passion, pubs likes The Sail & Anchor and Clancy’s Fish Pub and bottle shops like the International Beer Shop are WA institutions for great craft beer. It’s what they love, it’s what they know, it’s what they do.

Feral Tap Takeover at The Sail

But just because you’re not a “craft beer venue” doesn’t mean you can’t have a kick ass beer list. I’m delighted to find more restaurants, small bars, local bottle shops and pubs whose fridges were previously filled with European lagers have been invaded by a few local and international craft beers.

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.

It’s time to put the spotlight on these great places, starting today with The Precinct in East Victoria Park where their classic food with a twist and epic long table dinners have put smiles on many faces (I’m looking at you Laura Moseley!).

The Precinct

Here’s front of house manager Daniel Morris talking about the beers at The Precinct –

Tell us a bit about The Precinct ...

The Precinct is a speak easy bar, cafe and restaurant where people can come in at any hour of the day and enjoy a coffee, beer, glass of wine, small eats or a full three course meal. It’s a very multipurpose type venue with an ever changing beer & wine list which makes it the perfect place to try and be recommended new products (beer or wine) that we have featured every week.

What's your inspiration for your beer list?

We want to feature small breweries, interesting styles of beers and beers that are in short supply. Beers for the “beer nerds”, but saying that we serve a couple of well known ones with a Precinct twist.

What do you hope the beer menu says about The Precinct?

That we LOVE BEER!! That we like a diverse range, that we are individual.

How many beers are currently on your menu and
how often will you update the beer list?

How many beers? I think about 40, but there are usually some treasures hiding in the fridge as we can’t fit them all on the menu! The list updates weekly, we usually buy a couple of cases of a individual beer then keep on changing it up, so it stays interesting and fresh!!

Big Beers at The Precinct

Any memorable customer moments in someone trying a
new beer at The Precinct?

One guy destroyed a magnum of Moa Stong Ale [St Joseph’s] by himself…pretty cool

What beer and food matches would you recommend for
entree, main and dessert at The Precinct?

We don’t do a lot of pairing with beer and food just yet, it’s more about giving people that freedom to try different styles or beers from boutique brewery’s. Its about the “whole experience “. Our food has lots of strong rich flavours so we tend to get into the IPA’s and ales instead of lagers and pilseners.

The Precinct

What I love about beers at The Precinct …
♥ Big format beers for sharing
♥ Weekly changing beer list
♥ Limited release and rare beers
Thank you to Sarita and Daniel at The Precinct for letting me bug them with beery questions and providing photography from the very talented Jessica Wyld – check out here site here.
If your favourite local bar, restaurant, cafe, bottleshop, anything has a great beer list, I’d love to know about them!