Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Bar Stuff Episode 2 – Tippler's Tap, Newstead, Brisbane

I recently wrote a loose review of a Brisbane bar. Well, here's a very loose preview of a new Brisbane craft beer bar - yet to be opened! Tippler's Tap is due to open very soon. "Not soon enough!" says my beer drinking habit.

Carl Rhodes (ex-manager of Nectar Beer & Wine, West End) and his new venture will be located in the up-market Brisbane suburb of Newstead. It joins an ever-growing list of interesting venues located in the area which includes established bistro Bitter Suite and the forthcoming brewery - Green Beacon.

In terms of notable places to enjoy a decent beer, Brisbane lags behind it's southern state sister cities (try saying that after a couple of DOTLS!) especially after we recently witnessed the unfortunate demise of Underbelly. I'll be there for a beer or two or three or four as soon as Carl opens the doors. I encourage everybody to do the same. I hope the local residents are up for it too. It certainly has the potential to be a win/win situation for Carl and the area.


Tippler's Tap, 22 Masters Street, Newstead, QLD 4006  info@tipplerstap.com.au

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Arvo Lager - Marketing Genius or Gimmick?

I've written before about the sheer stroke of genius behind some of the world's beers. The latest marketing drive from a brewery to hit me in the face is Arvo Lager.

They have two beers (both of which are 4.9% ABV) to offer you:

Brew 34 - 'with a subtle malty character, authentic hop bitterness and fruit driven aromatics'

Brew 51 - 'a light, refreshing taste with subtle hops and a clean finish'

Here's the clever marketing part (solely to entice you to pick it up off the shelf).....when you buy a 6 pack, you get three of each kind i.e. 3 x Brew 34's and 3 x Brew 51's. When you buy a carton, you get 12 of each kind. They've taken it a step further by incorporating the gimmick into the artwork of the packaging too by literally halving the colour of the box...
Even more cheeky is that you can go to their website here and vote for your favourite of the two.

Brewed in Yenda, NSW by the Casella Family (the guys responsible for Yellow Tail wine), it's yet another Aussie attempt to prise some of the beer market away from the 'big boys' namely Lion Nathan (Kirin) and Foster's (SABMiller) that jointly occupy a giant 90% share of the market. Good luck to them.

Marketing genius or gimmick? Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Bar Stuff Episode 1 – The Platform Bar, Brisbane

Until just over 18 months ago, Platform Bar on Brisbane’s Ann Street was known for being one of Brisbane’s ‘places to be’ for craft beer. It can’t be - and I don’t think it ever was - deemed as a ‘boutique bar’. It does, however, pose as one of the most accessible inner-city venues pouring craft brews. On 8 taps no less.

There’s good food, wines, spirits and cocktails aplenty too.

Situated alongside the larger and possibly more well-known venue - Grand Central Hotel, 'The Platform' (as it is affectionately known) is quite easy to miss. Tip – don’t walk too fast along Ann Street past Central Station or you will stroll straight past! If supping VB or quaffing XXXX Gold is your pastime, or you don't mind the noisy hubbub of a sticky-floored pub then the main bar in the Grand Central Hotel is for you. If you’re keen to explore a beer of the craft variety then sneak next door and give the Platform Bar a go.

Upon entering, you’ll be welcomed with a smile by one of the friendly staff (Lauren and Lucas, you will remain nameless. Oooops! I lied). The atmosphere is very relaxed and you can choose to sit up at a tall table or chill-out on a lower, softer seat. After a few of my visits spanning the past 4 years or so with chaps from the office (mainly members of the BPA), I can personally recommend that it’s safer to go for a lower situated, softer seat. It’s not as far to fall to the floor when squiffy.

The taps rotate every so often and regularly include a limited edition or a single batch beer from the likes of Mad Brewers and Little Creatures.

You don’t have to settle for a tap beer. The fridges are always topped up with a huge selection of bottled beers – mainly from Australia and NZ. The stock usually mirrors the bottles that are available next door in the bottle shop on the other side the building – Grand Central Cellars.

Whilst respecting and understanding that the owners have contractual commitments to Lion Nathan and Fosters I have to say that I would spend more of my hard-earned cash in this place if the variety of beer on tap changed a bit more frequently. Sadly, I believe that it's the limited variety that has knocked these fine folk down the pecking order in the list of Brisbane's purveyors of fine beer.  

Now, I’m not hoity-toity enough to write about lighting, ambience, feng shui and the like but the d├ęcor and general feeling of the place works very well. Bizarrely, a not-very-well known fact is that the bar is situated right on the other side of the wall to Platform 1 of Brisbane’s Central train station. During my first ever visit to The Platform Bar, I wondered what the rumbling was. Thinking I should’ve been spending my lunch money on actual lunch to stop my stomach rumbling, it turned out that the minor tremors were in fact a train heading south to the Gold Coast. If you’re fortunate enough to be sitting towards the rear of the establishment, you’ll note that you’ll be sitting on the right side of a huge one-way mirror looking out across the station’s platforms – at the poor souls that don’t have a beer in their hand like you! Very quirky indeed and a nice touch.

If it’s a quick, CBD-based, lunchtime beer you’re after. I can recommend The Platform Bar. If you fancy a relaxed evening session with colleagues after work. I can recommend The Platform Bar. If you’re stuck for somewhere to hold a function (I organised a successful ‘Christmas drinks for clients’ in 2011), then I can certainly recommend The Platform Bar. If you want to drink VB or XXXX Gold and scream obscenities at your rowdy workmates give the place a miss.

The Platform Bar, 270 Ann Street, Brisbane Central Station, Brisbane, QLD 4000. Phone: 07 3220 2061

Monday, 2 July 2012

Green Beacon Brewing Co.

Fellow BPA beer club member, KT, recently brought to my attention a new Brisbane-based (Helen Street, Tenerife to be precise) brewery called Green Beacon Brewing Co. He read about it online.

This is great news for the beer appreciators of Brisbane and Queensland as a whole. In my (somewhat beer lovingly biased) opinion Queensland needs more of these ventures. I believe that there is now a firm breed of beer-heads like myself in Brisbane - core support - that will assist Adrian and Marc by getting Green Beacon through its first few tough months by purchasing their brews - if it's nice of course! If they serve up fizzy orange-coloured water similar to another Brisbane brewery that shall remain nameless then we're in trouble!

They will no doubt have the added support of popular craft beer haunts in Brisbane namely The Scratch in Milton and Archive in West End.

I note that the fellas are throwing a taste of England into their brews. As a Pom that hails from south-east London (pronounced by the locals there as 'sarfeast Lundun) this is very interesting and somewhat appealing. My eagerness to try it gained momentum at that point.

It's a beer lovers dream to be able to step up from home-brewing to opening up a brewery but I can't imagine it's a cheap thing to do and I'm presuming there are quite few legal hoops to be jumped through (liquor license etc). I wish them all the luck in the world. I truly hope they succeed. If they can replicate the achievements of other craft breweries in Queensland such as Burleigh and Sunshine Coast then we're in for a real treat.

There's no news on an opening date yet but, rest assured, I'll be reviewing Green Beacon's brews on this blog as soon as they're available.