Melb’n as the Australians call it, with the intonation on the first part and the second part swallowed, is the capital of the State of Victoria. It sits on the South coast, the ‘coldest’ side of the continent. Still plenty of palm trees, though. More than three million inhabitants make Melbourne the second largest city of Australia, behind Sydney. The question is: where do you find great beer in such bustling cosmopolitan city? In a country where locals consider the beer of their first choice a yellowish ‘light’ lager of 2.6% ABV. (Examples: Hahn, Cascade, Foster, etc.) Now you understand the stories about Australians drinking 12 beers in a row and still walking straight. It must be virtually impossible to get drunk on that stuff. Such ‘table’-beer should be reserved for children and convicts, as it was and still is in some European nations like Belgium.
However, the beer revolution is popping its head up here too. Come to the Local Taphouse at Carlisle Street 184.
Take tram 3 South from Federation Square, and get off on the first stop after the tram makes its first left turn. You find yourself in front of beer nirvana in Melbourne! Partners Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares focus on the education of their clientele: the beer menu comes as a thick booklet where every style of beer is explained in detail, history included. Every brand offered (40 on tap, and hundred more in bottles) is listed with tasting notes, and at least one beer suggestion compliments every food dish on the menu. All servers are trained to pour the beer right, and to know their beer styles and the specials of the day on tap. Guy says: “We guarantee the quality of the beer with a high tech keg-dispensing system where the pressure in every keg is individually regulated. Each keg can be connected to three different gas systems: CO2, Nitrogen or a mix of both.”
Every month features a ‘festival’ of a certain style of beer, or a certain country or origin. (July: American micro-brews for example, Octoberfest beers from around the world in the month of, indeed.) The word to describe this venue is: Passion. Guy again: “If you have no passion for beer, don’t work here, don’t come here.” The menu bulks with at least 25 Belgian ales, from the common Chimay, Duvel and Leffe, to some of the best Belgian icons like Gulden Draak, Kwak, and Delirium Tremens, tasty Americans like Rogue and Stone brewery beers, and of course a wide selection of the best NZ and Australian microbrews (some of them especially kegged for the Local Taphouse!) Every month, the home brewers of Melbourne convene here one night bringing their creations for tasting and evaluation. Brewers from all around the world, come to speak during beer dinners. No wonder this venue won ‘Best Australian Specialty Beer Venue in 2009’. Downstairs is the ‘saloon’ (open at 5PM), and upstairs is the bar-restaurant with a sunny patio (open from noon).