“Let’s hop to it,” Dave Carswell puns as he begins his beery Melbourne by Foot tour. He promises it’s the first and last beer-related pun of the night, and keeps his word. Carswell squires a number of themed tours around the city, and a couple of months ago, he launched an educational bar crawl for those who like brews more than Banksy.
This isn’t merely an excuse to learn about Police Act 55 or the 1965 Phillips Inquiry. It’s a chance to get acquainted with local booze. The four venues Carswell picks (punctuation points on an extensive ramble through the city) range the gamut from iconic corner pub (Young and Jackson) to a laneway bar, and the building that gave Mitre 10 its name. Why? ”They’re enthusiastic about craft beer, with a focus on Melbourne and Victorian microbreweries,” according to Carswell, and hyper-local patriotism is what he’s all about.
Thirsty walkers sample brews from Thunder Road to Two Brothers, and from golden ales to a chocolate porter. “It’s about expanding people’s palates,” says Carswell. “Part of the fun for me is watching people who are used to drinking bland beers try craft brews which are tastier and more exciting.”
For $80, you’ll tick off four beers, four bars, a spontaneous multimedia show which Carswell projects onto an alley wall, and a burger. Consider it a uni degree, condensed into one night, and money far better spent.
Melbourne By Foot, 0418 394 000. $80.
Who won the Melbourne pub awards?