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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Thursday 17 April 2014

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Few venues come with such a colourful story as Josie Bones. Its owners met on a TV cooking show, it has the longest beer list of any restaurant in Australia, the menu makes a major play of using every part of an animal, there’s a massive portrait of a skinned, headless rabbit hanging over the bar and you’re welcomed at the front door by a pair of immaculately cast bronze pig trotters.

But, while Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins' appearances on Masterchef and Iron Chef no doubt played their part in getting his long held dream of a beer-centric restaurant off the ground, it’s best to ignore the gossip and focus on the detail. Especially the beer list containing around 200 beers drawn from all over the world in every style imaginable, including many of the best from Australian brewers and eight taps that rotate constantly. It’s a lovingly curated list mixing classics with the unusual and unexpected, giving the kitchen plenty of room to experiment as they seek to create exciting food matches.

As for the kitchen, it’s not all about trotters, heads and glands; there is enough on a menu of predominantly small sharing plates to satisfy the less daring. That said, if you’re up for a bit of rolled pig’s head or some octopus and bone marrow cigar then all the better.

The bare, dark walls, overhead industrial aircon units, imposing bar and lampshades modeled on Chimay bottlenecks all help create a suitably epic environment for gorging on beer and beasts, while there’s a charcuterie cabinet on the way too and plans to convert upstairs into a dedicated function room for beer events.

Positioned in the heart of the strip at the Gertrude Street end of Smith Street in Collingwood that is fast becoming a must-go destination in Melbourne, it’s a unique and welcome addition to the Australian beer scene. And one that – if you want to enjoy it in full – we suggest visiting with an open mind, a stuffed wallet and a willingness to take your seat and tell the passionate staff: “I’m in your hands.”