King of Aussie craft beer, Matilda Bay Brewing Co., has finally whipped up the roller door after a 30-year journey from the inner suburbs of Fremantle to the industrial end of Port Melbourne.
This brick-walled ale house has all your old favourites, from Beez Neez to Fat Yak (with a Dirty Granny on the side) as well as experimental brews on the hop. For now you can still wrap your lips around Big Helga, Matilda Bay's malted barley Munich style brew, but get in quick because when the tank is empty, it's last drinks for this drop.
You're looking at seats for 30 or so at high tables with bar stools and there's plenty of standing room on slick polished boards – for a bar plonked in the middle of a group of stainless steel tanks it's surprisingly warm. Phase two looks set to kick off for spring, extending the bar to seat 180 including a much-needed outdoor area.
Venue manager Barney Matthews (you may remember him from such festivities as Good Beer Week) arrived just in time to see the first concrete slab laid in October last year.
"There's a lot of inspiration from the four big craft beer countries – the USA, Belgium, Germany and England and we're taking bits and pieces of the classics to make something of our own," Matthews says.
He says the plan is to deliver good honest beer friendly gastro-pub fare, looking towards themed beer dinners as well as ramping up the frequency of free brewery tours.
Opening hours are currently a little odd but hopefully they'll soon rock a seven-day trade. We'll be keeping a keen eye on the developments, through beer goggles of course.