BentSpoke Brewing Co

Brewer

Name
BentSpoke Brewing Co
Address

38 Mort Street
Braddon
ACT 2612

Phone
(02) 6257 5220
Open Hours

Open 11am to midnight every day

To many beer aficionados, for the majority of its life at Canberra House, the Wig & Pen Tavern was synonymous with one thing above all others: the beers of Richard Watkins. The brewer spent 17 years there, twice winning Champion Australian Brewery titles and creating an unrivalled collection of cask ales, Belgian beers, hoppy ales and, perhaps most famously, barrel-aged sours back before most people in Australia knew such things existed.

Today, both the Wig & Pen and Richard Watkins have relocated. The former is now found within the capital’s ANU building, the latter within the home of BentSpoke Brewing Co, the brewpub he launched with partner Tracy Margrain in Braddon in June 2014.

It launched with a bang, with an estimated 3,000 litres of beer and cider pouring through BentSpoke’s 18 taps on the opening weekend, and has barely paused for breath since. On The Crafty Pint’s first visit, while all other Canberra venues we passed on the Monday and Tuesday evenings had attracted a handful of patrons, at BentSpoke the tables out front and inside were packed; much of the upper floor, which houses the brewery, was populated too.

It’s easy to understand the appeal, not least because of the quality of the beers and cider that flow. At all times, 18 different drops are on offer, some of them permanently, others one-offs or seasonals that come and go. They range from traditional (and less traditional) ales on hand pump to a range of hoppy, US-inspired pales that rise in steps to some seriously high ABV and IBU brews and among which which the Sprocket is a true gem. Then there are spiced ales, beers pouring through the custom-built “hopinator” (Richard is the designer and builder of most you find around Australia today), dark ales, Belgian ales, beers showcasing unique ingredients, such as the Heat Freekeh brewed with the ancient grain of the same name, and anything else that he challenges himself to brew.

Then there’s the look of the two storey joint. Built into the lower floors of a new build apartment block in the revitalised suburb of Braddon, it puts the brewery front and centre. Behind the downstairs bar sit a row of tanks, while as you head upstairs you pass the brewhouse where Richard goes to work.

There’s plenty of clever touches too. The hand rails on the stairs are actually pipes through which beer is pumped from the brewery to the tanks below, kegs are used for seats and malt bags hang from walls, while the tap handles are all individually conceived and handcrafted by BentSpoke regular Peter Rogers. The retired cartographer used to design the decals for Richard at the Wig & Pen and has now taken his creativity to another level, carving and moulding ever more cunning and outlandish wooden, plastic and metal handles.

It’s all in keeping with the dazzling industrial look of the brewpub, from the expanses of timber, glass and steel to the incredible hanging light shades (a term that doesn’t do them any sort of justice) welded from bike parts by Tracy and the Rat Patrol, a local group of bike builders. Similarly, the tasting paddles – or handles – are made with actual handles.

The look is itself in keeping with the ethos of the place, with the “spoke” of the title a nod to the world of cycling. As for the bent, well, Richard is well known for brewing “bent” beers, many of which appear alongside more orthodox beers, all of which you can take home in stylish growlers.

That’s not all that’s bent about the place, either. The food that has played its own significant role in BentSpoke’s popularity isn’t afraid to step outside the boundaries of what you might expect to find on a quality brewpub menu. Sure, there are tasty hot wings, Ploughman’s platters and the like, as well as dishes making use of the beers and their raw ingredients. But there are often offerings for the more adventurous, such as lamb’s brains in a crushed grain crust. And quite delicious they were too.

In November 2015, Richard and Tracy took possession of a second site in Mitchell that serves as their production site and where their significant beer output comes from. Naturally, those first two packaged beers were Barley Griffin and Crankshaft, with plenty more, including their frequent Drifter beers, following in the years since.

This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Stories featuring BentSpoke Brewing Co

Core Range

BentSpoke Brewing Co Easy
Mid-Strength
3.2%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Red Nut
Red IPA
7.1%
BentSpoke Brewing Mort's Gold (Cans)
Lager
4.4%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Barley Griffin
Australian Pale Ale
4.2%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Braddon Bitter
English Bitter
5.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Crankshaft IPA
American IPA
5.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Mort's Gold
Pilsner
4.9%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Dick Tracy
Belgo Nut Brown Ale
5.4%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Sprocket
IPA
6.7%

Limited Releases

BentSpoke Brewing Cluster 10 XXXPA
Imperial XPA
10.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Dick Tracy
American Brown Ale
6.0%
CoConspirators Pint of Origin 2024 Collaborations (ACT)
DDH Hazy IPA & Double West Coast
5.8% & 8.3%
BentSpoke Brewing FreeWheeler
Non-Alc IPA
<0.5%
BentSpoke Brewing Cluster 8
Imperial IPA
8.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Flemm & Muthur Funker '23
Flanders Red & Barrel-Aged Golden Sour
6.0% & 5.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Descent 23
Whisky Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
10.0%
BentSpoke Brewing x Teeling Whiskey Brewers' Share
Whiskey Infused Stout
7.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co How's It Gosen? 2022
Tropical Gose
4.0%
BentSpoke Keep It Simple JAIPA
IPA
6.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Stratus
NEIPA
7.2%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Descent 22
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
10.0%
BentSpoke Brewing & Italian and Sons Regina
Pizza-Fermented Pale Ale
4.2%
BentSpoke & Malt Shovel Brewers BXW
Strong Witbier
6.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Hop Juice
Juicy Pale Ale with Mango & Tangerine
4.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Budding Cells: Flemm
Flanders Red Ale
5.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Descent 21
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
10.0%
BentSpoke & Yakima Chief Hops Hopwheeler IPA
IPA
6.8%
BentSpoke Brewing & Malt Shovel Brewers BentShovel XBA
XBA
6.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co How's It Gosen? Cherry Sour
Cherry Gose
4.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Descent 20
Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
10.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Flemm
Flanders Red
5.0%
Malt Shovel Brewers & BentSpoke BentShovel Belgian Blond
Belgian Blond
6.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co How's It Gosen?
Tropical Gose
4.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Big Nut
Black IPA
6.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Descent 19
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
10.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Drifter Series: Cluster 8
Double IPA
8.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Sprocket (Can)
IPA
7.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co GFG (Can)
Ginger Beer
4.0%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Cans
Pale Ale & American IPA
4.2% & 5.8%
BentSpoke Brewing Co Reflector & Fugg'n'Chino
Various
Various
BentSpoke Brewing Co 1st Birthday Beers
Various
Various