There’s something special about the part of Melbourne where Thornbury and Preston meet. Whether you want to call it Thornbury North or Preston South, it’s an area that’s become one of Melbourne’s most interesting, with cafés, band rooms, bars and restaurants all making the suburb a place locals don’t have much reason to leave and the rest of Melbourne frequently heads to.
Tallboy and Moose have been a major part of the area’s appeal, with the brewpub opening in the second half of 2016 and instantly connecting with that community. Respectively, the “Tallboy'’ and the “Moose” behind the brewery are Dan Hall and Steve Germain, with Dan’s towering height of two metres and Steve’s clear Canadian accent inspiring the brewery’s name.
The pair first met at Moon Dog around 2012 where Steve began his first adventures into the Melbourne beer scene after relocating from Toronto. Dan was on the brewing team at the time and the pair hit it off quickly. With a shared love of certain beer styles and similar impressions of the burgeoning Australian craft beer industry, they kept in touch to see what opportunities might arise for them to work together.
While their roles took them in different directions, they continued to discuss ideas for a future project, which soon turned into their first brewing partnership – Make Beer, an experimental nanobrewery from which they released small run beers and speciality kegs from December 2013 until early in 2015.
Over time, it became clear that they needed to go bigger to make their efforts worthwhile, and the search began for possible brewing premises. Conveniently, Dan took up residence in Preston just a stone’s throw away from the row of warehouses that would come to be the site for the Tallboy and Moose brew bar. After checking out a few different spots around the northern suburbs, Preston still rung true for Dan and Steve, as the craft beer scene was just starting to take hold thanks to venues such as the Raccoon Club, Stray Neighbour and Dexter, each bringing more of the good stuff into the suburb.
While the goal was to go bigger, Tallboy and Moose has always been a brewpub first and foremost, with an impressive range of beers pouring across their taps. True to their experimental Make Beer roots, the Preston brewery has always been incredibly innovative, often being among the first to make use of new brewing ingredients (and ingredients not often used in brewing) in Australia. In 2023, Steve decided to leave the brewery to focus on other opportunities but with Dan still very much at the helm, the Tallboy commitment to quality beer and innovation has never slowed.
When you visit, you’ll find a rotating roster of beers coming out of their on-site brewery, including their core range Deadset Lager and Sunray XPA while their kitchen serves modern Australian fare and perfect sides for drinking beer, like poutine and wings.
From late 2019 onwards, the brewery started canning their beers with some regularity and a Tallboy tap or tins have become common sights in spots for good beer across Melbourne. But undoubtedly the best place to enjoy those beers is their Preston home beer hall-style fit out complete with a beautiful beer garden for summer, warming fireplaces for winter and a striking blue and red mural mimicking their labelling. In short, they've created a neighbourhood brew bar that's become a regular haunt for Preston natives.
And, with the 86 tram route and Bell train station both in walking distance, beer lovers from further afield would be remiss to leave it just for the locals.