Once upon a time, this Thornbury bottleshop was just another run-of-the-mill outlet ticking along steadily without pulling up any trees. Then it was taken over by a former viticulturist raised in the heart of West Australia’s craft brewing culture and things began to change. Ben Carwyn began stocking craft beers, spirits and wines and suddenly, the northern suburbs had a bottleshop worth hunting down.
Since then, it's only gone from strength to strength and continued to expand the bottleshop side of the business before adding a bar, beer garden and tuck shop. And what a bar: the entire back of the venue has been taken over with the centrepiece a huge, wide font pouring 20 taps of all craft beer and cider (except for one tap that pours Negronis...). Its tap takeovers and brewery showcases have become monumental affairs featuring some of the very best beers to be found on these shores – and often, somehow, those that usually can't be.
The bottleshop stocks hundreds of beers, with homegrown brews from Australia’s finest sharing fridge and shelf space with imports from across the globe. Traditional ales and lagers from Europe sit alongside big, intense and cutting edge styles from all corners – the store tends to get its hands on a fair number of uber-rare releases too.
As such, it’s become the epitome of a good local, with knowledgeable staff eager to guide regulars towards new beer adventures. Such is its reputation that when brewers or beer drinkers visit Melbourne and ask where they shouldn't miss, invariably the Carwyn name is immediately dropped. Of course, the most knowledgeable among them don't even need to ask and arrive in Thornbury with their luggage in hand.
But, for all that, it’s not just about the beer. Classy nibbles, a wide selection of wine, cider, Perry and spirits line the walls and the events they throw – pastry stouts paired with pastries kicking off at midnight, anyone – are as innovative as any of the beers they stock too.
For those unlucky enough not to be close enough to call into Carwyn whenever their heart decides they should, the bottleshop's online store stocks a dazzling array of beers, wines and spirits. If it makes for choice overload, then the team has a solution for you: the Schmooze Subscriptions curate the very best of beer from Australia and around the world and sends them straight to your front door.