Suffers from spontaneous karaoke syndrome, inexplicable shyness, random golf swings/cricket shots, bad puns & attention deficit disor hey there's a bear! Visit my page at www.facebook.com/StuartAJohn
Published March 9th 2013
Beer lovers rejoice - your new home is here
Some say that New York, New York is a wonderful town; others talk about those Hollywood nights in the Hollywood Hills, it was looking so right. Loud men wearing lots of face paint say you gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City; while a man with an acoustic guitar once advised that if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Not me. If there's one place that has always gripped my imagination, it's my sweet home, Chicago.
The city that gave us The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller's Day Off offers much more than great movies. From the old-school charm of the Cubs' Wrigley Field, to the Chicago-style deep dish pizza, to the music scene just pumping with blues bars, it truly is one of the tourism's best-kept secrets.
All this is a long-winded way of explaining just why I was so excited when I discovered a little piece of Chicago had opened up here in Brisbane. This was a chance to try a Chicago-style hot dog (sausage, mustard, onions, pickle relish, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers and celery salt - but no tomato sauce) without the multi-thousand dollar airfare associated with actually visiting the city.
Thus on a wet and grey Brisbane afternoon we found ourselves in one of the city's more unlikely bars. Tippler's Tap in Newstead doesn't look much from the outside, being in a non-descript commercial building in an area of Newstead still in the midst of urban renewal. Walking in though you're hit with the aroma of the kitchen, chefs hard at work as you walk past to the bar. The bar itself is one of those dark, cosy places you more associate with France or Belgium.
Menus adorn each table - not just for the food, but rather for the many types of beer available. No XXXX's, Tooheys' or VB's here; rather an eclectic selection of craft beers from all around the world. Our first was a very strong (>10% alcohol content) beer that took a good 30 minutes to politely sip through. Next up was a Hoppalingus, which left a very strong taste on the tongue well after you'd put the glass back down.
After two strong ales, it was time to get some food in. The scent of Grandma Kennedy's chilli as we first walked in proved too much for Scott to ignore, while for me it was the moment I'd been waiting for: my second-ever Chicago dog.
Grandma Kennedy's Chilli with crusty Leavain organic sourdough.
Alas, it was not to be. A sausage shortage stymied Stuart's Chicago sensation; instead I "settled" for the other option that caught my eye, the beef sandwich topped with giardiniera (a spicy, pickled vegetable relish). This proved an excellent substitute, with the juices from the meat mixing with the giardiniera for something completely different from the usual pub fare. For accompanying drinks we made use of one of Brisbane's very few hand ale pumps for a English lager that sat nicely with the spices now churning away.
Final verdict? Tippler's Tap is a very different, yet very welcome addition to Brisbane's pub scene; a place you visit to appreciate beer and conversation. I'll be back for a Chicago dog - if only to take me back to Wrigley Field and "swiiiiiiinnnnngg batter batter batter batter..."