The Alehouse Project is a bar in Brunswick East that sells a carefully selected choice of craft beers from both Australian brewers and from around the world. If you haven’t been to the area for a while, you might remember that the space was formerly the Comfortable Chair. Let me assure you, the Alehouse bears little resemblance to the bar of old, with owners Andy Tynan and Alex Summers having given the place a complete overhaul, creating one of Melbourne’s best craft beer venues in the process.
The space is quite open, and the guys have done great things with what is a small venue.
There are other bars who have more extensive collections of beer, yes, however often these bars follow the mantra of quantity over quality – claims of having over 200 beers from around the world are made for example, but many of those beers are either unavailable, or quite mainstream and nothing special. At the Alehouse, every beer on offer is there for a reason.
The selection is not static either. Each time I’ve been to the Alehouse there’s always something new to try. This is no small feat given that I’m there once a week for the great quiz night that they have on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. Hosted by Ivan from Funky Bunch Trivia, the quiz is great fun, very interactive, and tests a broad range of knowledge. If that’s not enough to convince you, there’s also a $75 bar voucher on offer for the winner and a round of drinks for the team that comes second last.
Generally you’ll find either Alex or Scott behind the bar, and it’s clear to see that these guys are passionate about good beer. They are always up for a chat and more than happy to tell you what’s going on with every single beer that’s on offer.
Special mention needs to go to the recently installed hand pump too. I hadn’t had a proper real ale since leaving the UK over a year ago, and was very happy to see that not only was there a real ale attached to the hand pump, but that it was locally brewed too!
To show you the variety of the beers on offer, here is a list of what is currently on tap.
Pipsqueak Apple Cider, WA
Southern Bay Lager, Vic
Little Creatures Pale Ale, Vic
Moo Brew Heffeweizen, Tas
Red Duck Amber Ale, Vic
Mornington Peninsula Sorachi Kolsch, Vic
Dark Horse Raspberry Fruit Ale, USA
Bridgeport Hop Tzar Imperial IPA, USA
Feral Hop Hog IPA, WA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA, USA
Epic Coffee & Fig Imperial Stout, NZ
MOA Methode Pilsner, NZ
The selection of bottled beers is equally impressive. On Wednesday I tried the Nøgne Ø Hystrix IPA, a craft beer from Norway which contained rye, oats, kaffir lime and tangerine juice. I also tried the Brew Dog Punk IPA from Scotland, which contained hints of tropical fruit and caramel.
The other week, there was the “Scarlet Sour” on tap from nearby Temple Brewery, which is a Berliner Weisse flushed through a bed of hibiscus flowers and fermented with cranberries. Another favourite of mine which has just come off the taps is the Maledetta Saison from Italy’s Birra del Borgo which had an intense citrus and flowery nose. A limited release beer, it’s no longer available and the fact that the Alehouse has beers like this on tap is a wonderful thing indeed.
The vibe is really relaxed and friendly and there’s always a good crowd in there, but it’s never too crowded (the reason it looks empty in the photos is because I got in early before the quiz midweek). There’s an arcade machine at the back with all the old games like Pac Man and Space Invaders on it, and a great little beer garden too.
I wasn’t eating on the night that I took these photos, but the Alehouse has a solid selection of Gastropub meals on offer. Highlights include the lamb salad, antipasto board and charcuterie board. A new chef started just this week, and will be revamping the menu. Originally from the UK and having worked at Melbourne’s Pei Modern, things have the potential to get very interesting on the food front soon.
The Alehouse also sells wine and spirits for those of you that aren’t fans of beer.
It’s always nice when a place like the Alehouse comes along, where the owners have a real passion for what they do, and the focus is on encouraging customers to discover new things. If you’re in the area (or even if you’re not) and you appreciate quality beer, the Alehouse is certainly worth checking out. Quality beer, quality food, great service and a real “local” vibe.
The Alehouse Project
98 – 100 Lygon St
Tue – Fri: 3pm to late
Sat – Sun: 12pm to late