Canberra's latest Micro Brewery is a temple to beer
The Bentspoke Brewing Company came as a revelation to me. Buried in a non-descript bland modern apartment block in Braddon, there is but one tiny easy to miss sign up on the second storey. It's almost as if the owners are trying to recreate some sort of hard to find prohibition style Speakeasy. And it's a bit like walking into Doctor Who's Tardis, I had no idea that I was entering a cathedral sized micro brewery and gastro pub.
Bentspoke oozes authenticity and cool at the same time, a long bar with a large beer menu dominate the ground floor with its large stainless steel brewing tanks providing the evidence that this place is serious about its credibility and reputation. Upstairs, there are more tanks and seating, but with a view.
It's early on a Saturday afternoon and there's a congregation of twenty somethings sitting on their beer pews all appearing quite devout in their observance of craft beer. And not a poker machine or TAB in sight.
I contemplate the 18 items on the beer menu board and notice my devoted beer believing companions have wasted no time indulging in some sampling of the Bentspoke's beer product. There's no sign, but just like a winery, you don't need to gamble buying an expensive bottle of wine by description alone. Before you hand over your hard earned cash, the good bar staff here can offer you a few sample swigs to find the beer that suits your palette. In my case, this took quite a few. My beer taste buds are on the more conservative side and I found most I tried either a little too sour or too malty.
Tastings for the beer novice or sceptic can only be a good thing here, as the descriptions, while well intentioned, didn't help me much at all. "A Canberra style ale". What on earth does that mean? Cold in winter, hot in summer? A round-about beer? " Our first infused beerů" ?
Not being an aficionado of beer, I just keep plugging away until I find a brew with my name written on it. By now I'd already drunk the equivalent of a glass so I feel somewhat obliged to buy it! The 'Morts Gold' ($7.50 small) description states that it is "a crisp hoppy pilsner named in honour of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, founder of Australia's first gold mining company". Gold by name, gold by colour and gold by taste, it's not a bad drop.
My beer buddies seem to enjoy their ales. The 'Big Nut' (a dark ale, small $8.00) and a 'Barley Griffin' (this is the Canberran style ale, small $8.00) taste all the better when washing down the generous serve of delicious warmed olives and spiced nuts when they arrive.
Two floors of micro brewery
From tastings to ordering and food service, we're all impressed by the Bentspoke experience today. There's ambient cool music pumping in the background. Large windows allow maximum light to stream in and there's outdoor street side seating as well for those who enjoy drinking their crispy cold beer in the crispy cold Canberran air.
But Bentspoke is all about the celebration of beer and this temple to beer is well worth attending.