To the best of my knowledge, Ballarat has been crying out for a craft beer bar; with distinguished drinkers throwing the type of metaphorical tantrums expected from a belligerent toddler at the lack of ‘hip’ drinking establishments – fists clenched, feet kicking, raging against the machine of bland beers.
Admittedly I’m no expert on the nightlife available to residents, but as the veteran of a Teacher’s Games Campaign in the rural city where I rocked out The Bluestone for three night’s straight, had a stopover at Irish Murphy’s, and had one ill-advised trip to JD’s Sports Bar, I feel I’ve experienced what (until now) has been the best Ballarat can offer.
However, for those whose beer tastes extend past VB, Carlton Draught and Melbourne Bitter, Ballarat now introduces to you: The Hop Temple.
Opening in September 2015, the impressively revamped industrial space lies hidden away down a lane off Armstrong Street, and would comfortably be at home in ‘trendier’ haunts such as Thornbury or Brunswick.
Decorated with your usual indie assortment of bicycles on the wall, plants placed all around, large wrought iron hanging light shades, and a variety of stools, chairs, tables and booths, the Hop Temple certainly has the feel of a craft beer bar, and from a drinking perspective it doesn’t disappoint.
Boasting 16 taps (comprised of five regular and 11 rotating taps) with a hefty helping of Victorian Beers on offer, the bar has plenty of variety. At the time of visiting, there were four taps devoted to Little Creatures, three to White Rabbit, and three to Two Birds. Adding to this is the multiple fridges packed full of beers from all around the world in all number of styles – set to satisfy any thirst.
The tap offerings are more your ‘easy-drinkers’ as opposed to ‘confronting’ beers, with the bar sticking to surefire hits like White Rabbit Belgian Pale Ale, Little Creatures Dog Days Summer Ale, and Brooklyn Lager. The bar-staff were helpful in terms of offering tastings to those undecided about what particular tipple to try, and happy to chat about the various beers they offered.
Whilst the food remained unsampled – The Forge around the corner took care of hankerings with some superb pizza – the Hop Temple has a menu full of the usual bar classics – burgers, pizzas, wedges, and jaffles. The smell wafting from the kitchen certainly was promising!
I was there on a Wednesday night, so the place wasn’t quite ‘buzzing’, but I can see that it would be a killer spot for a beer on the weekend.
For those in Ballarat in need of a quality drop, the Hop Temple is the place to go. With a cool vibe, an extensive beer list, and ‘hip’ surroundings, it most definitely receives a tick of approval.
Check it out now. Thank me later.