When Temple opened their doors just before Christmas it seemed that every beer wanker in Melbourne had some sort of collective epiphany, all of a sudden every person with an Untappd login and a Twitter feed were raving about the new Temple to beer in the inner North.
Because I don’t like crowds and I’m a little bit lazy it took me a couple of months before I got around to making the big trip up Lygon Street to Brunswick and I have to say I’m glad I did.
Temple is a slick operation, in fact I haven’t seen a schmicker (any chance that’s a word?) looking brewhouse and bar since I tripped down to True South last year. The bar is all concrete, the tables dark wood with stainless seats, behind the glass a brand new shiny brewhouse looking all technological, and interestingly, ready for expansion if all things go well. You can view the brewhouse from downstairs or head upstairs to a second ultra modern room with more glass and a balcony which overlooks the brewery.
I should mention here that if you have never been to a brewery that ‘viewing a brewhouse’ generally speaking is not that interesting. It’s not like going to sugar shak or Willy Wonka’s, there is a distinct lack of action and orange dwarfs and the magic happens within big stainless steel tanks away from prying eyes. You will get to see a brewer cleaning stuff though and maybe if you are really lucky a fermenting brew causing some bubbles in a bucket of water.
But it’s still worth going to Temple for two reasons 1. the food and 2. the beer. I’m going to start with the food. Quite simply it was amazing, even if you are just drinking and not looking for much you have to get the caramel/chilli popcorn, it will change your life and ruin all other forms of popcorn for you. If you are looking for something more substantial I can tell you the potatoes were fantastic and the Brunswick rarebit was gooey and rich and very nice.
And all the food goes nicely with beer. Now there were 6 beers on offer the afternoon I was there, I’m not going to tell you about all of them because, well I didn’t take particularly good notes and hell you should go along and find out for yourself. The highlights for me were the Soba Ale which is an unusual beer, it is completely sessionable, easy to drink and refreshing, yet complex and just a little left of centre all at the same time. It is slightly sweeter than I was expecting and had honey overtones. A nice little beer – Schooner.
Saison seems to be the style du jour, everyone has one and everyone is raving about them. In fact between Temple and Atticus Finch we had three different Saisons that afternoon and I have to say I think the Temple Saison was the pick of them. It was a very good example of the style (as I understand it) a gentle sipper, super refreshing and light, lively and perfectly suited to a sunny Sunday afternoon, or working on a French farm – Pint.
The third beer is another one that everyone is raving about, a black IPA called Midnight IPA. The way I see it IPA’s seem to go one of two ways, either the New Zealand/Australian big fruity hops direction, which means although they are bitter and hoppy they are still quite approachable. The second direction, and the way I think the Midnight goes is the American direction, big bitter, oily, resinous hops. I tend to prefer the first approach. I find it often takes me a little longer to get used to the American approach and it would be fair to say it was like that with this beer. I thought the first pot I had was okay, but nothing spectacular, but by the time I was finishing my second pot I started to declare ‘This is a very good beer.’ It was still very bitter, but the body was starting to come through, not roasted nuttiness that you get with many black IPA’s but rather a smooth, velvety almost oily mouthfeel. A challenging, but ultimately very pleasant brew – Pint.
So in summary, get out to Temple. With their range of beers there is something for everyone (the Bicycle beer is a weird little salty tart beer that’s worth a try and the Brunswick draught is a good quality simple beer that won’t scare your not beery friends) and even if you don’t like beer (although then why are you reading this blog?) the food is just outstanding.