Don't know your pilsner from your pale ale, or your steam ale from your stout? Don't worry, help is at hand — and it's on the corner of Gertrude and Smith Streets in Collingwood. From the crew who took Clifton Hill's Terminus Hotel and the Royston Hotel in Richmond up a few notches from average pub status, comes the next step in their domination of Melbourne's craft beer scene.
Forester's Beer & Music Hall occupies the former Bar Called Barry building — though you would have trouble recognising its new incarnation. Dark wood, silver trim and an impressive bar take center stage with a colossal lineup of 50 beer taps flowing, and a massive 32 different craft brews. The idea behind the staggering lineup of beer is to have an ever-changing collection of exotic kegs from both around the world, and around the corner. For those looking for a pint of something you can't find elsewhere, Forester's is the place for you. And with only a few kegs of each beer available, you can bet every visit will end with a new discovery. Just take a glance at their live streaming keg update service to see what is currently on offer, and what you just missed out on sampling. Our trip included delicious C4 double coffee brown ale from New Zealand, the appropriately named Hop Bomb IPA from Boatrocker brewery in Victoria and an English-style ale crafted in Sydney, just to name just a few.
Think you had the best beer of your life on a trip overseas? Well, thanks to a "beer request" form on the Forester's website, you can put in a special request to get some in to try on your home turf. Now that's service. If all this talk of different beers and brewers is making you nervous, don't fear — Forester's have your back. Hosting free weekly casual beer education sessions every Tuesday from 6pm, they hope to attract well-seasoned beer drinkers as well as the curious and thirsty who want to learn a little more about what they are sipping on.
Melbourne's terrific live music scene has not been forgotten here, with live bands performing American funk, blues and rockabilly on a raised antique golden shell stage a few nights each week. Hungry? The carnivore friendly pizza menu is sure to please the meat-inclined, while the few slim pickings for vegetarians look simple and tasty. The pizza oven will be pumping out the goods until the early hours for responsible late night revellers. Sitting somewhere comfortably between a classy pub and a huge specialty bar, Forrester's fits easily into Collingwood's already excellent nightlife, and will be a new home to beer lovers to down a few cool ones together. All in the name of beer education, of course.