Hand-pumped ales are making a comeback

Australians have made a national sport of heckling the English for their warm beer ways. But the Brits know what they’re doing when it comes to ale – and we’re finally (shamefacedly) catching on. Certain beers are at their best served at room temperature with little to no carbonation. Think of them as red wines – the fridge is a passion-killer to anything dark and malty like porters and stouts. And so as craft brewers turn their attention to cask ales, bitters and other pump-friendly styles, we’re seeing the return of the hand pump in bars.

Head to the Alehouse Project in East Brunswick or the Royston Hotel, and you’ll likely find a bartender carefully pulling thick-headed pints. It’s harder than it looks. A pulled pint generally requires two full, steady depressions of the lever, forcing air into beer which releases aroma and adds a finely breaded head. Typically, beers destined for the pump like Red Hill’s bitter-sweet Best Bitter (finished in a cask rather than tanks) arrives uncarbonated, but the Alehouse crew have gone pump wild, and are degassing and pumping anything they can right down to hoppy IPAs. They’ve got something new on tap every week, so swallow that frosty lager pride and take yourself on a delicious beer adventure.

Where to get a hand pumped beer in Melbourne

Alehouse Project   Charles Dickens   The Courthouse
Great Northern Hotel   Penny Blue   The Royston

First published on 15 Apr 2013. Updated on 24 Mar 2014.

By Gemima Cody   |   Photos by James Smith   |  

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