The renaissance of Temple is one of the great comeback stories of the modern Australian craft beer world. The original incarnation of the brewery and bar in Brunswick East – itself borne from one of Australia's original "gypsy" breweries in late 2011 – ran into difficulties and was forced to close its doors for a few months in 2013.
When new owners took over later that year, bringing a new look to the beers, a new feel to the venue and, ultimately, new beers too, one wondered how they would fare. Within a year or so it was clear the new Temple was here to stay.
In many ways, the new Temple is like the old Temple: same location off Lygon Street, same highly specced brewery, same eye-catching stone bars bearing "TEMPLE" in huge lettering and walls of glass offering unhindered views into the brewery. But much has changed too.
In particular, that goes for the beers, with the Bicycle Beer session ale and Anytime IPA the first to be launched under the new guise. Since then, those two beers have been rebranded as a summer ale and pale respectively to be joined in the core range by the New World Order American Stout and Powerstance Pilsner. Augmenting that lineup since then have been the Okinawa Sour, a beer made with the juice of the Shikuwasa fruit that’s almost entirely grown in one region of Japan.
From day one, Temple set out to offer food of a quality rarely seen at breweries, initially through a menu that tended towards gastropub fare. Today the focus is on a South American-inspired menu, with cassava, Brazilian stews and pastels (deep-fried pastries) providing the perfect accompaniment to the brewery's beers.
The food offering is part of the reason the venue has, like craft beer venues and brewery bars generally, started to attract a broad congregation through its doors. The opening of a long-mooted beer garden on Weston Street has helped too, while the upstairs function space with its own bar has come into its own and regularly hosts Temple's comedy nights.
The new team has also got Temple involved in many projects outside the beer world via sponsorship and partnerships. In part, it's all about supporting causes with which they share a bond – the Bicycle Beer makes them a great fit for the Melbourne Roubaix – but also those for which they have a personal passion that can help spread the better beer message into new areas.
The Pet Haven regularly pops up in the beer garden to help lost dogs find a home and Temple also supports local music, arts and cultural events both in the local neighbourhood and further afield too.
Award-winning beers, a slick venue, fine food and friends in all sorts of places – what more reason do you need to worship at Temple?