Temple Brewing Company
Brunswick East's own microbrewery offering much more than just beer.
Melbourne's growing thirst for craft beer has spawned plenty of local microbreweries, though it's clearly not an easy gig.
The second incarnation of Brunswick East's Temple Brewing seems to be sailing a whole lot more smoothly than the first, which came to its unfortunate demise in 2012, after only one year of operation. Reopening in late 2013 under new ownership, Temple Take Two has a few solid favourites to its name, including the ever-popular Bicycle Beer and Anytime IPA.
While the venue, housed in an industrial stretch off the Brunswick end of Lygon Street, ticks plenty of boxes for craft beer lovers, it holds much broader appeal than other brewery bars you might have frequented.
Sure, the decor is concrete-heavy. Sure, the view of shiny steel brewing equipment is used as a design feature. And sure, there's beer — and plenty of it. But don't expect your standard-issue pub grub or basic drinking snacks here. Instead, you'll find a collection of considered, intelligent dishes (including a few beer-infused creations), each with a suggested pairing to one of Temple's own tap brews.
Charcuterie and cheese boards are a mix-and-match affair, featuring both local and international produce. Team them with a tasting rack of five beers ($15), and your afternoon is set.
If a proper meal is on the cards, start by sharing some of the well-sized starter plates — perhaps the crispy soft-shell crab that's been crumbed, ingeniously, in spent brew grain ($15), or a silky pile of steak tartare, studded with crispy rounds of purple potato ($15). An ancient grain salad features quinoa, faro and pearled barley, laced with shaved veggies and tarragon vinaigrette ($10), and topped with optional dollops of Meredith goats' curd ($4).
Larger plates continue in that Modern Australian style, from steaks ($35-70) and Port Arlington mussels ($15), to a ragu of chef-foraged forest mushrooms ($25). The dish on everyone's lips, though, is the signature Midnight burger. As the name hints, the bun is a charcoal brioche, and it's filled with a fat, juicy wagyu beef patty, jack cheddar, bacon, salad, zucchini pickle and house-made tomato relish, served along with chunky hand-cut fries ($19). It's a mouth-watering creation that surely deserves a place on any list of Melbourne's most notable burgers.
A selection of generously sized sliders ($7) offers the ideal choice for the indecisive. There's a smaller version of the Midnight, a veggie-friendly mushroom number and one with brisket, but the Colonel's Clone takes the cake. The chicken, soaked in buttermilk, dredged in a winning combination of secret spices and fried until perfectly crispy, is well deserving of the name.
There's an upstairs bar and function space for busy evenings and the front car-park area has been recently transformed into an astro-turfed beer garden with sunny Sunday session written all over it.
Yes, Temple's a must-visit if you love a local craft brew — but don't forget that there's much more on offer here than just great beer.
Image credit: Simon Shiff