Bentspoke Brewing Co
Bentspoke is a brewpub right in the heart of Braddon. Everything on tap is brewed on site, with 18 beers poured at any one time. This is one of Canberra’s most-popular breweries, and that acclaim extends beyond the ACT – in 2021, Bentspoke’s Crankshaft IPA took out the number one spot in the GABS Hottest 100, Australia’s biggest craft beer poll.
Spanning two floors, Bentspoke has its fermenting vats on full display, which gives you a good view of the brewers at work. Hops hang from the ceiling, and pipes zig and zag across the space (the pipes were once used to transport the beer, before the hectic brewing schedule exceeded their capacity).
Owners Richard Watkins and Tracy Margain are passionate Canberra lifers , and use the beer and pub to express it. Inspiration for new beers come from the city’s history or happenings – take the Skywhale Ale, a cloudy pale ale designed in tandem with artist Patricia Piccinini to celebrate Canberra’s hot air balloons.
There’s a real pub-like atmosphere here – it’s casual and noisy. You’ll find plenty of locals having drinks after work, as well as interstate visitors looking to taste a few award-winners straight from the source.
The menu here is also pub-y, with a few brewery twists. Spent grains from the brewing process are used to crumb the spicy chicken wings, and they’re also used to make the crisps that get served alongside the beef tartare. Mains can involve anything from grilled swordfish with smoked butter to Texas chilli braised in Bentspoke Red Nut IPA). Whatever you eat, a side of hop potatoes (chips dusted in hops and spice) are a must.
But you come here for the beer. As with most breweries, a tasting paddle is the way to go, whether you’re looking to try the core range or some limited releases. Bentspoke is perhaps best known for its IPAs, but we also like its goses, which nail the delicate balance between sour and sweet.