There will always be a place for McCoppins Abbotsford in The Crafty Pint's heart. It was the place where, following our weekly titanic battles for the Goat Army's indoor cricket team (former Northcote Indoor Cricket League Division 4 Champions, no less), we'd be able to call in to collect a celebratory beer after all other bottleshops had closed.
Back then, it was a drive-thru on Victoria Street with limited fridge space out front that often meant the best beery treats weren't on display. Today, following restructuring of the street outside and the building itself - plus the addition of bold Mountain Goat-themed graffiti outside - it's very much like its Fitzroy sibling. In other words, one of the finest bottleshops you'll find in Australia.
Venture inside the glass-fronted store and you'll find row after row of wines, one of the longest walls of fridges we've seen and, most importantly, a large section dedicated to craft beer. Like the Fitzroy McCoppins it's a section you can lose time in; sure, you knew what you intended to buy, but look what else they've got. And what's that the staff is recommending? Maybe you need one of those too. What's more, if they're recommending, it's worth listening as they know what they're talking about (after all, the till looks over the craft beer wall, not the wine racks...).
As well as a wide and ever-evolving range of imports, the store, which was first opened here in 1995, has a no "brewed under license" policy regarding commercial beers in stock. Similarly, the extensive wine selection leans heavily on smaller vineyard and boutique producers. There are regular free tastings of both beer and wine (usually on Friday evenings) and a selection of beer-friendly snacks too.
If you're after something more substantial food wise, it's worth checking out McCoppins' two delis in Clifton Hill and Hawthorn East, both of which stock great selections of wine, a decent amount of beer and seriously droolsome arrays of cheese and charcuterie.