You can tell a lot about a pub from its taps. At the Terminus, they stock such a stellar line up of craft beers and punch those kegs so quickly, it’s printed-and-laminated labels instead of badges fronting half the line. “We’ve got an arts and crafts space in the office” venue manager Dave Langlands tells us. And he’s not lying. We go twice in a day and the beer list changes in three hours.
The Terminus is owned by the Griggs family, who also blessed Melbourne's with it's original craft-only bar, the Royston, and are about to rebirth a Bar Called Barry's in Collingwood as a late-night rockabilly beer hall.
As far as brew havens go, this Clifton Hill hero is one of our best. A renovation two years ago saw the old pub split in two. The south side is now a lean, clean beer bar full of shiny fixtures, blonde wood and a beer-friendly menu of spicy, salty Vietnamese snacks – they do impressive sticky beef bao and the fattest, juiciest duck-stuffed spring rolls we’ve seen, served with iceberg wrappers and fishy-chilli dipper.
The pub’s north end remains a stronghold for fans of the classic local – a maroon-tinted dining room where you can stick a fork in roasted lamb shoulder for two, and order a Carlton Draught while the footy screens on the telly (on silent, mind).
The all embracing attitude is the reason you’ll find as many people rocking up on two wheelers (good luck getting a spot at the bike rack out front) as rolling in with four wheeled prams.
What you might not realise is just how impressive the offering is. Curating a beer list this extensive is hard work. That’s 31 beer lines to keep surgically clean; multiple beer reps, breweries and prodigious hermits who brew gold in their sheds to keep track of. Plus, you don’t get offered those smaller, interesting batches unless you’ve fostered relationships and trust. “Brewers want to support those who support them,” general manager Ed Harley explains, “but they mostly need to know you can sell their beer, and quickly enough so it stays fresh.”
And so it is that you’ll find Feral’s highly sought after watermelon sour on the line. The crew here don’t just serve beer – they live it. Langlands brews at home. Barman Damian Lyons comes out from his station no less than three times on our visit to talk about an international one-day sours festival he wants to make happen. He even whips out his commemorative t-shirt from the event in Belgium last year. They're obsessed. And the winner, drinker, is you.