For all that Melbourne leads the way as Australia's craftiest city and Victoria is home to the greatest number of brewing companies in the country, there's little in the way of brewpubs around the city. One of those few is the Clifton Hill Brewpub, where a refurb saw a 600 litre microbrewery installed in 2014. Yet, for the first couple of years, you'd rarely find more than three or four of its 16 taps pouring beers brewed on site, with most instead dedicated to other local and international craft beers and ciders. We'd suggested to them they should embrace the fact they were a brewpub and ensure that at least one bank of taps greeting customers was pouring nothing but their beer. As of this week, that's happened – and they're not planning to stop there.
Among the beers currently filling those eight taps is an oaky barrel aged take on their American pale ale and a pair of new drops: a Stout and Irish Red. The Stout is tagged as an American style stout, yet any fruity American hop characteristics play second fiddle to layers of rich chocolate and a touch of roast coffee. It leans towards the sweeter end of the stout scale and is timed well as the colder nights close in. The Irish Red puts its malt centre stage too, pouring a nutty red, and delivering plenty of toffee and caramel, with enough of a toasty character at the end to lend it a dry finish.
Look out for a red IPA brewed with the Merri Mashers being launched at a Good Beer Week dinner on May 18 and, all being well, for 13 of the 16 taps showcasing their own beers in the weeks to come.
- Stout & Irish Red
Clifton Hill Brewpub