August 27, 2013 by 250 Beers
Fathering three children has meant that I’ve witnessed (and been present at) a long list of children’s birthday parties. Not just those of my own offspring but at those gatherings of friends and extended family too. I’ve certainly blown up my fair share of balloons and put way too much birthday cake in my mouth over the years.
You could say that I’m an experienced man when it comes to celebrating the first few years of somebody on this planet. So, when I received an invitation to join Braden and Katherine at Bitter Suite’s 2nd birthday party I jumped at the chance. After all, I’m experienced at putting beer in my mouth too.
It kicked off at 6.30pm last Thursday which provided me with 90 minutes to kill after work. I decided to walk from the CBD to New Farm. The most direct route to Bitter Suite would enable brief visits to Kerbside, Tippler’s Tap and Green Beacon. What a crying shame.
This is a pub crawl that wouldn’t have been possible two years ago. By all accounts Newstead Brewing isn’t far off from being added to the growing list of places to grab a decent beer in this part of Brisbane. Oh, Brisbane, how you’ve changed.
Owner, Ian Kissane, was present as I ducked into Kerbside for a large drop of Bacchus Brewing’s Domin8tor IPA (8.8%). Perhaps this big beer should have been avoided as beer number one for the evening? Was I setting myself up for a fail? More on that in a minute.
Domin8tor is a fantastic beer. It slid down a bit too quickly as Ian and I watched a dozen police officers attempt to remove some wrong-doers from the half-renovated building next door.
By the time I was in the vicinity of Tippler’s Tap and Green Beacon I realised that I wouldn’t have time to visit both. I opted for Green Beacon over Tippler’s for no other reason than I was at Tippler’s a few weeks ago. Green Beacon hadn’t taken my coin for quite some time plus it was going to give me the opportunity to try their Cross Knot Kolsch (4.4%) which, up until that point, had somehow avoided my unique beer list. There was just about enough time for a quick Anchor Amber Ale (4.1%) before I was on my way again.
After my three kilometre walk and three beery refreshments, I was standing on the doorstep of Bitter Suite having my name checked off the guest list by two very welcoming young ladies that also handed me some gemstones (faux I hope). The stones were then identified as beer tokens.
I traded my first gemstone for a favourite – a 4 Hearts Brewing 4 Degrees Pale Ale (4.8%) and backed this up with a Boxer Irish Red Ale (4.5%) from Rocks Brewing Co. and then my second Kolsch (4.6%) for the evening, from 4 Pines.
The party was in full swing by this point and there were lots of faces that I recognised which meant lots of different conversations. It was actually the first time that I’d had a decent opportunity to chat properly with John aka The Beer Tragic. John is (as his nickname suggests) tragically into his beer in a big way and I’m glad that I finally got to spend a bit of time with him although I’m sure he got bored with me waffling on and on.
Bitter Suite is equally at home serving breakfast or dinner, coffee or craft beer. They always seem to have decent beer pouring through their seven taps. My first three beers at the party were enjoyable but the next in line were surprise finds.
The Mountain Goat/Brooklyn collaboration, Hopfweizenbock (6.5%), was magic from the bottle but pure genius off tap! I got more hop aroma from the bottle yet the kegged version provided more of the bananary wheat attributes that I was expecting. Next up was El Dorado IPA (6.0%) from 4 Pines. I can’t hide the fact that I love this beer at the moment. The sweet tropical fruit notes make it extremely drinkable (that’ll be why I had another).
The smiles on Braden and Katherine’s faces said it all. Perhaps they were just simply pleased with themselves for getting through 24 months in a tough business and why not? Every time I saw them they were beaming. Two years isn’t long at all for a small business to be operating. The thing with Bitter Suite is that it has successfully embraced the community and the community has embraced it.
I managed to grab a few words with some party animals that call Bitter Suite their local. There wasn’t a hint of negativity uttered at all.
Mark, a Financial Adviser, reckons he wouldn’t change a single thing about the place. He lives five minutes away and said that he’d still frequent the place even if he lived on the other side of town.
Helen, full-time mum of two, says that Braden and Katherine always go the extra mile with their customers to make them feel welcome. She thinks that all bar staff should come to Bitter Suite and learn customer service. That’s a big call but I have to concur. The staff were pretty awesome for the duration of my stay and have been every time I’ve popped in.
The smiling couple pulled all of their staff together for the lighting of the candles on the birthday cake. It was a nice sight seeing the whole team together as one and awesome to be a part of their big night. Something tells me that Bitter Suite will be around for a long while yet.
Happy Birthday guys!
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. That fail I mentioned earlier was quite a big one…
I seem to have picked up the bad habit of falling asleep on the homeward bound train after drinking beer. The previous two occasions have been blamed on the water in Brisbane. I even contacted South East Queensland Water for their opinion (somewhat tongue in cheek of course). Read more here.
These two unfortunate sleepy encounters didn’t matter too much because the trains themselves were finishing their journey two stops past mine. Therefore, I only had to back-track two stations. Luckily for me on both occasions there were trains heading back in the opposite direction.
I wasn’t so lucky this time. The train that I’d boarded to take me home from Brisbane’s Central station was destined for way beyond the train station that I wanted and guess what? Yes, I nodded off. Not only did I fall asleep but I actually recall being awake at the station before mine! I’d done so well to get that far.
And so I woke up in Beerburrum.
I giggled to myself thinking that I’d simply board a train back in the right direction but there wasn’t going to be one for five more hours. It then dawned on me that it was actually 12.15am.
It was freezing cold. My mobile phone battery was failing fast and I only had $1.50 in change to get myself out of the predicament. I was 30 kilometres from 250 Beers HQ….with work the next day…
…a real bittersweet moment.