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Published October 12th 2011
I LOVE beer.
Now I'm not exactly sure if this is a family thing (we all assumed there was a milk shortage when Old Man River was growing up, leading him to use beer on his Weet-Bix instead), or if it's a genetic thing, being half-German descent and all. Either way I love beer, and still have the belly to prove it.
So when my boss called to ask about places to have a beer and a feed in Brisbane's West End, there was really no place else I could think of than the bar that's supposed to have bookshelf wallpaper and more beers than you can poke the proverbial stick at: Archive Beer Boutique.
I arrived first (the bonus of living in West End is that you can walk somewhere then stumble back once you've been attacked by several drinks) and ordered up a White Rabbit Dark Ale for myself and a Little Creatures for Bruce Springsteen.
The beers themselves were quality, and at $6 a schooner weren't that badly priced. The Dark Ale was that rarest of beasts - a local dark ale that doesn't taste of old pencil shavings mixed with whale blubber. A quick look around the bar confirmed that this is the kind of place Brisbane's been screaming for (and by Brisbane, I mean me) - casual, great beers, fantastic decor. Throw in some good food and Archive would be number 1 on my list of places I should spend more time in.
Armed with expenses, we went up to order some food. I went with the Portuguese Spice Roast chicken at $24, the big fella with the chicken schnitzel at $18.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got. The first disappointment was while we were waiting for the food and went up to get refills. I had suggested some James Squires based on the $5 special offered on the back of the menu, only to find that since Mr Squire wasn't sponsoring Thursdays anymore, they were now $6 for a stubbie. Not a huge mark-up, but annoying nonetheless.
Soon after my food came along, and again, it was a little disappointing. For $24 I was expecting something close to half a chicken, instead only getting a thigh. The coleslaw was nice, the potato cake ok, the chicken itself good but small. JJ encouraged me to tuck in, which was probably just as well - he had a phone conversation and eventually had to ask one of the waitresses just where the hell his food was. Given I'd finished by this point it was probably a fair complaint. When the schnitzel did eventually arrive it was no better than the $8 schnitzel and pint deal you can get at the Down Under Bar in the city.
Perfect for a post-lunch Sunday session or a casual after-work drink, Archive Beer Boutique is the venue of choice for the discerning beer drinker. Fix up the food and the promotions on the back of the menu, and this would be a very hard place to leave...