Moon Dog Brewery & Bar
It's not the likeliest place for a bar: a seedy street in Abbotsford's industrial quarter, surrounded by panel-beating shops and brothels. But then, Moon Dog has never bothered with convention.
Started in 2010 by brothers Josh and Jake Uljans and mate Karl van Buuren, the brewery turned heads with its very first batch, a potent double IPA. Since then, it's successfully experimented with outlandish ingredients such as watermelon, truffle, chilli, pumpkin and wild yeast.
The bar is free-spirited and anything goes. There's free popcorn, a giant projector screen which drops down during key sporting events and a table tennis table which gets wheeled out in quieter periods. Eight taps rescued from neighbouring CUB pour everything from Love Tap, a relatively plain lager, to Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a tangy, wild-fermented drop which tastes like fuller-bodied champagne spiked with balsamic vinegar.
Out the front, a pizza van run by chef Ioreth Tudor (ex-LazerPig), bakes a diverse range of options with names such as Don't Hide the Salami and David Hassle Hock. The sourdough bases are created with yeast harvested fresh from a vat of Perverse Sexual Amalgam.
Moon Dog's founders have just as much character as their products. A "secret" bookcase door connects the bar with a newer wing of the brewery, while the walls are adorned with such oddities as a framed photo of John Candy and a mounted pink elephant toy van Buuren got when he was born, "from a very disturbed uncle". It’s quirky without feeling contrived – and certainly a place we want to knock back a few with good friends.