Crafty Pint / 28.09.12
Twenty four hours in a day. Twenty four taps at Ipswich’s new home of craft beer, Alehouse 24. Coincidence? Yes or no, are the beer-loving locals going to care? We think not, now that this shrine to better beer is up and running at the Yamanto Tavern. It’s a venue that only dipped its toes into crafty waters around 18 months ago when advocate and brewer Wade Curtis persuaded them to put his 4 Hearts Pale Ale on tap. Today, it is not only giving the people of Ipswich a rather sizeable reason not to trek into Brisbane for good beer, but must surely be tempting the people of Brisbane to head in the other direction.
With a capacity of 230, a large wooden decked beer garden for 100 and beers from the likes of Stone & Wood, Moo Brew, McLaren Vale, 4 Hearts, Burleigh Brewing, Bacchus Brewing, Bridge Road, 4 Pines and Holgate on tap, it appears to have wasted little time drawing the crowds.
“Within two weeks of opening we were changing flavours on the taps,” says manager Peter Coultas, the man who bought into Wade’s vision – and then some. “The regulars and the locals are loving it. They’re coming back to see what’s new already and we reached capacity at nighttime on the first two weekends.
“We’re very happy with it. It’s everything that we wanted. The reaction I’ve been enjoying the most is seeing people walk in and smile. They realise they’ve got somewhere to drink and that’s the biggest gratification.”
Alehouse 24 forms part of the Yamanto Tavern, an operation that also includes a gaming room and large bistro in the centre of Yamanto’s shopping precinct. After seeing how popular craft beer was proving when they turned over a few taps in the bistro, Peter and his team set about gutting one end of the building and completely refitting it as a beer bar. As well as the rows of 24 taps (currently pouring 20 beers, a couple of ciders, a wine and Canadian Club and Dry), there are booths, tables, a huge mural of the pro-beer Prohibition demonstrators, the aforementioned outdoor area and a private dining room. In essence, this is no half-hearted gesture of support for craft beer – it’s a total commitment.
“The mural takes peoples' breath away,” says Peter. “We put extra spotlights in so now you can see these people holding placards [stating "WE WANT BEER”] from across the car park.
“Unsurprisingly, the Stone & Wood has sold very well. We’ve got their Pacific, Jasper, Amasia and Stone Beer on, while Moo’s Belgo is doing really well too. [The Alehouse] has brought new business in and in the first two weeks, the bistro’s patronage has increased too.”
Support from the local media has helped, while word of mouth is playing its role too. With a couple of other venues in the city starting to turn over taps to craft beer too, things certainly look rosy.
“The excitement is there,” says Peter. “With these other places opening, people don’t have to go to Brisbane to enjoy themselves. They can create a night out for themselves here. It’s great to see it all coming together.”
Alehouse 24 is at 502 Warwick Road, Yamanto.
Photos courtesy of Robert McEniery.