Westside Ale Works
The name Westside refers to the style of bold, punchy IPAs brewed on America’s west coast, which is the inspiration for American expat brewer Casey Wagner. Westside is his bid to recreate a San Diego-style beer experience just south of the CBD.
Located in a converted warehouse, the laid-back bar has a stripped-down, rudimentary vibe. It has a couple of wooden trestle tables, some mismatched furniture and handwritten signage. There’s a big projector that screens sports and films; as well as darts, a shuffleboard table and board games. With the brewhouse just a few steps away, there’s no doubt as to how far the beer has travelled to your glass, or how small the batch sizes are.
Wagner and Ben Sewell produce anywhere 50 to 1800 litres of beer at a time (the duo also co-owns IDA Pruul). You won’t find shiny bottling or canning lines here either. Everything is packaged by hand into 750-millilitre bottles. They also barrel age wild sours and imperial beers. Crowd favourites include an American pale ale, an amber ale, a red IPA and an American stout. Wagner also rotates seasonals and one-offs across the 30 taps – 20 are in-house brews and 10 are guest taps for local and international brewers.
Westside isn’t limited to making beers. It also distills its own four-grain whisky, dark rum and gin. For each batch of gin, Wagner changes the botanics to create something new (including hibiscus flowers that tinted one batch pink).
You’ll also find hints of their beer in the food: it’s added to the house-made pizza dough to add flavour. Go for the space needle pizza, which is covered with house-smoked bacon, pepperoni, mushroom and spring onion, try a vegetarian or vegan pizza, or make your own. Go all out with a side of ranch sauce with your pie. Plus, there are nachos loaded with toppings.
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