James Street in Fortitude Valley is a classy precinct. Historically, most of us visiting there were just window shopping in the fashion boutiques and wondering why pulverised avocado on quinoa costs twice as much as smashed avo on sourdough. But no longer – now we head straight to Tippler’s Tap.
This is the second Tippler’s venue (the other being in South Bank), in a location chosen to be close to its original home in neighbouring Newstead. It’s not as fancy as the rest of James Street, and it’s not pretending to be – Tippler’s has always had a down-to-earth personality, winning us over with its roguish charm and stunning array of beer.
Having said that, the Fortitude Valley Tippler’s has introduced an offering to beat the rest of James Street at its own game: top quality breakfast. The brekky menu ranges from humble standards (scrambled egg and bacon rolls) to gussied-up classics, and from veg masterpieces like spicy tofu scramble to downright snazzy delights. As well as benefiting the general riffraff, this is particularly welcome to the guests of the Sage Hotel upstairs – Tippler’s and Sage have teamed up to put together bed and breakfast packages.
Since the Powers That Be aren’t fond of beer being served before 10am (what a buzzkill), Tippler’s has formed an alliance with Single O to provide us with our second favourite beverage. Single O is one of Australia’s best coffee roasters, and their Killer Bee blend is pouring at Tippler’s every day. For batch brew and filter coffee, Tippler’s takes the opportunity to showcase other roasters, including a few closer to home, like Fonzie Abbott, Almanac and Parallel Roasters.
When lunchtime rolls around, Tippler’s isn’t afraid to get back to its roots with all the grease and pickles you can handle. The Chicago-style lunch and dinner menu could have blown in from the Windy City itself. They have dry spice-rubbed wings and five different hot dogs that put Bunnings sausage sizzles to shame. It’s a style of bar food that’s simple and familiar, but Tippler’s pulls it off with finesse. And it’s perfect for pairing with beer (not to mention ideal for lining your stomach).
You can’t get very far into Tippler’s without noticing the beer list. It’s directly next to you when you walk in the door, and it’s taller than you are. Fourteen taps provide a broad selection of styles, with a few extra sours and session beers during summer, and leaning towards more dark beers in winter. Expect a bit of decision paralysis – picking a beer here is like choosing what to watch next on Netflix. Luckily for you, it’s hard to go wrong.
If you can tear your eyes from the beer names just long enough to peek to the left, you’ll notice that each beer has the Brew Mileage (distance from tun to tap) listed beside it, and that each of those numbers is under 100km. Because, while the South Bank venue has beers from all over, the Fortitude Valley venue serves up South East Queensland brews exclusively. The industry’s ripe for this kind of commitment to supporting local, with Queensland beer going from strength to strength.
With an abundance of breweries on its doorstep – from Brisbane and surrounds, up to the Sunshine Coast, and down to the Gold Coast – Tippler’s looks no further for world class beer, and is at an advantage when it comes to freshness. They’re not just looking for what they can get out of the beer scene, but what they can add to it; the team gets its hands dirty by doing collaboration brews wherever it can, looking to tick every local brewery off the list at some stage.
They’re keen to champion breweries by talking about the people behind the scenes who create the beers we drink. They even made a video showing the process of their collab with Newstead Brewing and Single O to give us a glimpse behind the curtain.
This zeal for local extends beyond beer to their other bar offerings – namely, their selection of predominantly Australian spirits and their Queensland-focused wine list. It goes further again with their decor; the kitchen wall mural is the work of a local artist, and Tippler’s holds regular exhibitions of artworks from the Culprit Club, a nearby gallery that supports local artists.
When they say, “drink local” they really mean it.