Keg & Brew

The first time anyone from The Crafty Pint stepped inside the KB Hotel, we said it would also be the last. It’s not that there’s nothing to like about a heritage-listed pub that has character oozing – sometimes, you felt, quite literally – from the walls, but the KB gave the impression of a classic boozer past its best; a fading star living on 80-odd years of fond memories and little else.

So when rumours began circulating midway through 2014 about the KB being turned into a craft beer bar, we were intrigued. This was especially so when it was confirmed that change was being performed by the team who had done a sterling job of turning the nearby Dove & Olive into a thriving crafty hub. In a whirlwind seven weeks they took over, ripped out the rot, renovated, restored and reopened. The KB had become the Keg & Brew, gaining an ampersand and a new lease of life.

One of the most notable changes happened behind the bar. Considering the relatively small size of the venue, it’s a genuine surprise to find 33 different beers available here. Six of them are dedicated to mainstream mainstays of Australian world – the “Golden Oldies”, as they’re affectionately labelled – though you won’t find any Tooth’s Lager, despite what the old tiled exterior suggests. Instead, elsewhere you’ve got a very healthy selection of local craft beer.

The majority have their origin in New South Wales, including favourites such as Stone & Wood, 4 Pines and Murray’s, through to newer breweries like Nomad, Modus Operandi and Willie the Boatman. There are also three hand pumps which generally feature something local from Young Henrys and a classic drop from the UK. It’s always worth poking your head in during happy hour to see which of the craft beers are pouring – at $4 a schooner it’s one of the best value post-work pick-me-ups in the city.

In terms of decor, the K&B is a bit of a PETA nightmare: animal hide panels adorn the bar while immense trophy heads of buffalo and deer dominate the walls. It’s all part of a Southern USA theme which runs through the place: American oak floorboards, big selection of bourbon and a food menu that operates under the titles Grub, Grill and Fixin’s. What you’ll find on this are such wonders as KBFC, Big Tex bacon bites, Kentucky bourbon black Angus rump, lobster roll and a bucket of buffalo wings with blue cheese dip. If you’re game, the deep fried twinkie with chocolate and sprinkles is as memorable as it is heart-stopping. With the chef having done time in the kitchen at the Dove & Olive, they’ve got their food formula pretty well nailed down by serving a solid range that sticks to a theme but caters for everyone, mixed in with daily specials that represent excellent value for money.

While all of that is a world away from the old KB, there’s one key thing separating the KB then and the K&B now: it’s busy. The handful of staff who have worked at both told us the change in fortunes since the reopening has been monumental. Contrast days when the entire venue was staffed by a single person with current times when the bar team is, at times, seven strong. Compare the days when the kitchen might as well have stayed closed to lunch hours that now bustle with diners. Add to that the re-opened accommodation offering half a dozen affordable rooms and fortunes at this icon of the Surry Hills scene have certainly changed for the better.

Nick O

Name
Keg & Brew
Address

26 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills
VIC 2010

Phone
(02) 92121740
Website
Regular events

Crafternoon ($4 schooners, 5pm-7pm, Mon to Sat)
Tinnie Tuesday ($5 canned beer)
Thirsty Thursday ($5 schooners, $10 jugs)

Hours

Monday to Sunday: 10am to late
Kitchen open all day from 11am

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Free Tasting Paddle with a Main Meal

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On tap at Keg & Brew

Regularly featured brewers

2 Brothers 2 Brothers

2 Brothers

4 Joyner St
Moorabbin
VIC 3189

4 Pines (AB InBev) 4 Pines (AB InBev)

4 Pines (AB InBev)

29/43-45 East Esplanade
Manly
NSW 2095

Akasha Brewing Company Akasha Brewing Company

Akasha Brewing Company

10A Spencer Street
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NSW 2046

Australian Brewery Australian Brewery

Australian Brewery

350 Annangrove Road
Rouse Hill
NSW 2155

Big Shed Brewing Concern Big Shed Brewing Concern

Big Shed Brewing Concern

13/2 Brandwood Street
Royal Park
SA 5014

Blackhorse Brewhouse Blackhorse Brewhouse

Blackhorse Brewhouse

8/29-33 Waratah Street
Kirrawee
NSW 2224

BrewCult BrewCult

BrewCult

10 Superior Drive
Dandenong South
VIC 3175

Bridge Road Brewers Bridge Road Brewers

Bridge Road Brewers

Old Coach House
Ford Street
Beechworth VIC 3747

Cavalier Brewing Cavalier Brewing

Cavalier Brewing

Unit 8/2 Derrimut Drive
Derrimut
VIC 3030

Ekim Brewing Ekim Brewing

Ekim Brewing

11/1 Marina Close
Mount Kuring-gai
NSW 2080

Feral Brewing (CCA) Feral Brewing (CCA)

Feral Brewing (CCA)

152 Haddrill Road
Baskerville
WA 6056

Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor

Fortitude Brewing / Noisy Minor

165-185 Long Road
North Tamborine
QLD 4272

Grifter Brewing Company Grifter Brewing Company

Grifter Brewing Company

1/391 Enmore Road
Marrickville
NSW 2204

Hargreaves Hill Hargreaves Hill

Hargreaves Hill

25 Bell Street
Yarra Glen
VIC 3775

Hawthorn Brewing Company (Salt Brewing) Hawthorn Brewing Company (Salt Brewing)

Hawthorn Brewing Company (Salt Brewing)

PO Box 2037
Hawthorn
VIC 3122

Holgate Brewhouse Holgate Brewhouse

Holgate Brewhouse

79 High Street
Woodend
VIC 3442

HopDog BeerWorks HopDog BeerWorks

HopDog BeerWorks

2/175 Princes Highway
South Nowra
NSW 2541

Illawarra Brewing Company Illawarra Brewing Company

Illawarra Brewing Company

4/83-85 Montague Street
North Wollongong
NSW 2500

La Sirène Brewing La Sirène Brewing

La Sirène Brewing

2 Wingrove Street
Alphington
VIC 3078

Little Brewing Company Little Brewing Company

Little Brewing Company

Unit 1, 58 Uralla Road
Port Macquarie
NSW 2444

Little Creatures (Lion) Little Creatures (Lion)

Little Creatures (Lion)

40 Mews Road
Fremantle
WA 6160

Lord Nelson Lord Nelson

Lord Nelson

19 Kent St
The Rocks
NSW 2000

Mash Brewing Mash Brewing

Mash Brewing

10250 West Swan Rd
Henley Brook
WA 6055

Matilda Bay Matilda Bay

Matilda Bay

89 Bertie St
Port Melbourne
VIC

Matso's Brewery Matso's Brewery

Matso's Brewery

60 Hamersley Street
Broome
WA 6725

Modus Operandi Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi

14 Harkeith Street
Mona Vale
NSW 2103

Moo Brew Moo Brew

Moo Brew

655 Main Road
Berriedale TAS 7011

Moon Dog Moon Dog

Moon Dog

17 Duke Street
Abbotsford
VIC 3067

Mornington Peninsula Brewery Mornington Peninsula Brewery

Mornington Peninsula Brewery

72 Watt Road
Mornington
VIC 3931

Mountain Goat (Asahi) Mountain Goat (Asahi)

Mountain Goat (Asahi)

Corner North and Clark Streets
Richmond
Victoria
3121

Murray's Murray's

Murray's

3443 Nelson Bay Rd
Bobs Farm
NSW 2316

Nail Brewing Nail Brewing

Nail Brewing

323 Collier Road
Bassendean
WA 6054

Nomad Brewing Nomad Brewing

Nomad Brewing

5 Sydenham Road
Brookvale
NSW 2100

Prickly Moses Prickly Moses

Prickly Moses

10 Hoveys Road
Barongarook
VIC 3429

Red Hill Brewery Red Hill Brewery

Red Hill Brewery

88 Shoreham Rd
Red Hill South
VIC 3937

Riverside Brewing Company Riverside Brewing Company

Riverside Brewing Company

Unit 3, 2 North Rocks Road
Parramatta
NSW

Rocks Brewing Rocks Brewing

Rocks Brewing

160 Bourke Road
Alexandria
NSW 2015

Shenanigans Brewing Shenanigans Brewing

Shenanigans Brewing

66 Marian St (OFFICE)
Enmore
NSW 2042

Six String Brewing Six String Brewing

Six String Brewing

4/330 The Entrance Road
Erina
NSW 2250

Stone & Wood Stone & Wood

Stone & Wood

4 Boronia Place
Byron Bay
NSW 2481

Sydney Brewery Sydney Brewery

Sydney Brewery

389 Pitt St
World Square
Sydney 2002

Thirsty Crow Thirsty Crow

Thirsty Crow

153 Fitzmaurice St
Wagga Wagga
NSW 2650

Two Birds Brewing Two Birds Brewing

Two Birds Brewing

136 Hall Street
Spotswood
VIC 3015

Vale Brewing Vale Brewing

Vale Brewing

6 Jay Drive
Willunga
SA 5172

Wayward Brewing Co Wayward Brewing Co

Wayward Brewing Co

3 Gehrig Lane
Camperdown
NSW 2050

White Rabbit (Lion) White Rabbit (Lion)

White Rabbit (Lion)

221 Swanston Street
Geelong
VIC 3220

Young Henrys Young Henrys

Young Henrys

Units D & E, 76 Wilford St
Newtown
NSW 2042

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