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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Friday 19 September 2014

Great Northern Hotel

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When you hand over the reins of a pub to one of the men responsible for founding Feral – the West Australian brewery named Australia’s best at the 2009 Australian International Beer Awards – you know the commercial beers hogging the taps are going to suffer. And that’s what happened when Al Carragher took over North Carlton’s Great Northern Hotel in August 2009. Within weeks, 14 of the 18 taps had been switched to craft beers, offering a mixture of Australian micro brews and premium imports – all of which are genuine imports rather than foreign beers brewed in Australia under license. Two handpumps are now in place too, with one pouring genuine cask-conditioned ales from 3 Ravens.

Today, the last of the contracted taps is long gone, with the last of them, Pure Blonde used as an educational tool before it was canned: Al bought a giant tin of jelly beans and offered one to everyone ordering a pot. Why? That’s how many calories you save by choosing a low carb beer over a normal one.

It also has the only two permanent Feral taps in Australia’s East, usually pouring Hop Hog – Australia’s 2009 Champion Beer – and Feral White, while more taps have been added to the outside bar serving its massive 140 seat beer garden and Holgate has installed a traditional hand pump to pour its ESB and Temptress ales. In total, you’ll find more than a dozen different breweries on tap and a “No contracts” policy that allows for easy rotation. You can sample five of them for $12 with one of the pub’s tasting paddles.

The kitchen uses beer in many of its dishes, including a hearty Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout and Wagyu beef pie, which can be enjoyed in the main bar, restaurant, beer garden, snug or private dining room. There’s pool in the front bar, sofas in the lounge and regular events throughout the week, including the raucous Funky Bunch Trivia nights.