When Midway Cellars first opened its doors in 1978, not only did craft beer as we now know it not exist, it would be another couple of decades before Australia would even get its first widely available American style pale ale.
Fortunately for punters in modern day Denistone East, Ryde and surrounds, the Midway team has joined forces with Porters Liquor. Now known as Porters Liquor Ryde, it is taking its considerable knowledge and experience in the wine industry and applying it to the local craft beer scene.
The first thing you’ll notice when walking into the shop is the amount of glistening aluminium in the beer display fridges; in what was an unimaginable sight up until the middle of the current decade, cans outnumber bottles nearly two to one. It's great news for fans of fresh and hoppy styles, with three of Australia’s best brewers of hop forward beer, Modus Operandi, Pirate Life and Akasha, among those to feature prominently. And, in a show of support for their local brewers, there’s a full range of Nomad tinnies and Stockade bottles on hand too.
While the focus is very much on Australian beer, you’ll also be able to pick up gems from Kiwi stalwarts Yeastie Boys, Garage Project and Kereru plus the odd beer from much further afield. Ever considered drinking a litre of Russian lager? Da? Well, fill your boots, comrade!
The addition of a growler filling station and CANimal machine in 2017 gave them the ability to tap limited release kegs and start packaging 'em up – in some cases it means this is the only place where you can get a draught-only beer in takeaway form. And, should you time your visit right, you can also tuck into one of their Friday tastings so you can sample before laying out your hard-earned.
Of course, you don’t survive in the booze business for decades without amassing an encyclopaedic knowledge of wine and spirits so the team at Midway Shopping Centre has you covered in all manner of fermented grains and fruits should water, malt, hops and yeast not be on the menu. The reward for their all-round efforts has been scooping the top gong in their local business awards four years running.
Forty years on from when it opened, to see a longstanding family run business embrace the independent beer world so enthusiastically is heartening indeed and another win for those on the ongoing quest towards good beer for all Australians.