Following an explosion of new styles, collaborations and experiments, the Australian craft beer scene is creating more enticing brews than ever. With craft beer on the rise, the couple behind Torquay’s Blackman’s Brewery, Renn and Jess Blackman, have bought their beloved brew to the heart of Geelong with their very own brewery bar.
Located in Denny’s Place behind Beav’s Bar, the venue opened two weeks ago after months of hard work, creating a new drinking destination inspired by Melbourne’s laneway bars.
“There’s not a lot of laneway bars happening here yet. Ours is like a small kind of boutique, hidden laneway bar. With the location, a lot of cool little things are opening up here on Little Malop and we thought we would get in on that,” Renn says.
For more than two years, Blackman’s Brewery has been fuelling the excitement around the craft beer industry in the region. With a desire to spread their brew, but faced with the challenge of competing with the big breweries for taps in Geelong pubs, Renn decided the answer was to put their own taps in their own bar.
“There’s not a lot of craft beer in Geelong and I think that’s a big part of the reason we wanted to do this. We thought if we just had our own bar in town, we will get more people drinking small brewer’s beer, and hopefully educate people in craft beer.”
With original wood panels, a stylish tin roof and a chipboard ply bar, the venue features both new and old styles. With the aim of bringing a little piece of the original brewery to Geelong, the space embraces certain finishes from the Torquay venue such as the eye-catching light box, the tap wall and the brewing design mural.
Stocking many of the much-loved Blackman’s Breweries on tap, the bar includes their legendary Blackman’s unfiltered lager, the Winnie cider, the Ernie golden ale and the Reginald IPA, as well as a tap devoted to rotating limited batches.
For the craft beer aficionados, Renn who has a lifelong career in brewing, has created a special coffee brew for this venue only.
“We use Cartel Coffee and mix it with our existing larger. It’s a pretty light style of beer but the coffee adds a bit of colour. It’s just a fun way of combining two awesome things together,” he says.
“We will continually rotate the coffees each week as they [Cartel Coffee] get a lot of different African and Indonesian coffee flavours, and each time they change the coffee flavour, we will change the beer.”
It’s not just their local stuff you’ll find here either; the guys will also be catering to the wine drinkers of the squad with a monthly specialised wine list created by Union Street Bar, who were another source of inspiration for the venue.
Along with their love of beer, there is also their love of great food, with the venue serving Hot Chicken Project on Thursday and Saturday nights.
“It’s so good – beer and chicken. I think they are such a good combination, especially with the spicy sort of beer. They’ve always had our beer on tap from when they opened so it’s good way to support them back,” Renn says.
With beer, cider, wine and those crispy chicken skins, you can be guaranteed that the Blackman’s crew will continue to bring the goods. There’s really no excuse to miss an after-work drinking session now.
Written by Talia Rinaldo.