Quite often when you ask a brewery where the inspiration for the name came from, it’s a throwback to their beery roots or a pun built on the foundation of brewing. For Dan Hall and Steve Germain of Tallboy and Moose, their inspiration becomes instantly apparent upon meeting.
Yet, despite Dan’s towering height of two metres and Steve’s clear Canadian accent, it surprisingly took a suggestion from the latter's girlfriend to lead them towards the Preston brewery’s final moniker.
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.
Since then, they have both moved in around the scene, with stints at BrewCult, distributor Phoenix Beers, Southern Bay and Hawkers between them. 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 specialty 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 than their previous one to six keg runs, the Preston brewery’s first priority is filling the taps at its own bar. When they launched in October 2016, the first beers to pour through them saw a return to their Make Beer roots, with Deep Steep, a chamomile infused American amber ale and the very first beer they ever released, one of the first beers to flow at the new premises.
When you visit, you’ll find a rotating roster of beers coming out of their on-site brewery, including their best selling Cream Ale and the Only series, for which they keep the base recipe the same but mix up the hop bill for each brew. Other releases have included their 7.6 percent ABV Tropicalismo IPA, Tallboy’s ESB and experiments such as a summer porter.
Outside of the Tallboy range, guest beers from the likes of Bad Shepherd, Napoleone, 40 Ft Brewing Co and other local Melbourne breweries share space with wine and cider options. For those keen to try the wares at home, one litre CANimals are available for takeaway.
Add in food from Scottish WeeMan's kitchen, a beer hall style fit out complete with mish mash furniture, table tennis and a striking blue and red mural mimicking their labelling and you've got a neighbourhood brew bar that's set to 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.