November 11, 2013 by 250 Beers
Just a few years ago (circa 2010) it was a mighty task to find decent, hand-crafted beery delights in any of the licenced premises along Brisbane’s famous CaXXXXton Street.
Oh, how things are changing for the better.
If there is further proof needed that Brisbane’s surging tidal wave of good beer and good beer venues is gaining momentum then look no further than Caxton Street, 2013.
Just this year alone the street synonymous with half-arsed pubs and poor lager has witnessed the birth of three new venues successfully tapping craft beer. Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, The Statler & Waldorf and (just last week) Brewski join established pace-setter, Cartel.
I was lucky to be amongst some familiar and happy faces last Thursday when Brewski hosted a soft launch just 24 hours before the official opening.
I’d been at the Brewhouse’s Kooinda Sniff & Sip session earlier in the evening and managed to squeeze in a two hour visit to Brewski before the last available train was timetabled to get me (and the remainder of my third NOvemBEER joker) back north.
I arrived courtesy of a car-pool arrangement with Driver Dan (Rawlings) in his Holgate-mobil. There were four of us in total.
We arrived to find a lively crowd enjoying the occasion. They were being ‘entertained’ by a team of three tired-looking electricians working overtime attempting to hang three giant, hollow, white letters from the ceiling above the bar; an ‘I’, a ‘P’ and an ‘A’.
You could sense their frustration especially as they had become the focal point for the 50-strong crowd. I reckon their disgruntlement was compounded by the fact that each party-goer had a beer in their hand and they didn’t!
The bar is simple. Not basic just simple. Anybody that remembers the previous guise of the building as the Calypso Bar (‘famed’ for its range of tequila) will know that it is not a huge space. Therefore, there is no sense in cluttering the place up. Yes, there are tables and chairs (inside as well as outside along the covered footpath) but there is no sign of any space-wasters such as unnecessary furniture or pianos.
The exposed brickwork, metal roller-shutters and dim lighting gives Brewski a rather raw semi-industrial feel. The varnished wooden floor on the upper level counteracts the rawness well.
During a hectic evening for him, I managed to grab a few moments with joint-owner and friend of 250beers.com, Matt Emmerson. I wanted to discuss the eight rotating taps with Matt because, to the trained eye, it was obvious that Lion were included.
Four taps will pour from Lion’s craft portfolio (phew! No sign of Poohey’s or XXXX) and the other four will host whatever Matt wants to put on. During my stay the four Lion taps were occupied with Little Creatures Rogers (3.8%), White Rabbit Dark Ale (4.9%), Pipsqueak Apple Cider (5.2%) and Little Creatures IPA (6.4%) whilst the other four were flowing with Mountain Goat Steam Ale (4.5%), Ekim After Battle Pale Ale (5.4%), Nail Brewing Nail Ale (4.7%) and Holgate ESB (5.0%). Quite a varied choice I’m sure you’ll agree although I was a little disheartened not to see any beers from Queensland on this night of all nights for a brand new bar in Brisbane. Although, for the record, Bacchus’ Maple Coffee Stout was tapped for the Friday opening. Justice was done after all.
I must mention the facilities. If you need a weeski or a pooski during your stay at Brewski, you have the girlski or the boyski at your disposal – depending on your gender of course…
I can’t begin to describe how much of a weirdoski I felt waiting for both WCs to empty just to furnish this piece with a photograph!
To quote Simon (one of the investors in Brewski), the bar is “part of the gentrification of Caxton Street.”
Whether that is the same view taken by the other new bars on Caxton Street is unknown. What I do know is that Brisbane has never had it this good.
Brewski, 22 Caxton Street, Brisbane, QLD 4059. Tel: 07 3369 2198