Stomping Ground Brewing Co.
Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone think there’s a beer out there for everyone. They’ve been out to prove it through their pub in St Kilda, The Local Taphouse and their annual beer festival, the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular.
It’s the same story at Stomping Ground, the converted Collingwood warehouse the pair runs with Taphouse manager Justin Joiner. Stomping Ground doesn’t only serve beers that are really “craft”, but well-made but accessible beers, too.
The Bearbrass milk stout is a dark, coffee-ish ale that uses lactose for a softer mouth feel. It’s listed on the menu under “Easier Drinking”, along with a German-style lager and two different pale ales.
The “Moderately Challenging” and “More Challenging” headings offer a funky, yeast-driven grapefruit saison; a bitter, hop-heavy IPA and a beastly 11.4 per cent barley wine that tastes like liquid toffee.
There are two big braziers that warm the site, a retractable roof that covers a quarter of it, and a kids cubbyhouse in the corner behind a child-proof gate. Potted trees, climbing vines and other greenery add to all this to make Stomping Ground seem nothing like a brewery at all. Brass, timber and black iron give the 250-patron site the look of a Victorian-era factory or train station.
The open kitchen serves stout-braised shortrib; charred baby cos with miso; mussels steamed with saison; and a beef-cheek burger served on Jewish challah bread.
For dessert there’s a not-at-all-gross beer ice-cream and beer sorbet by Billy Van Creamy.