“Beer is so diverse,” says Nic Sandery, owner and brewer at Collingwood’s Molly Rose. “It can be dark, it can be light, it can be spicy, it can be hoppy, it can be sour, it can be bitter. And it just goes amazingly with food.”

When Molly Rose opened in 2019, Sandery’s beer was diverse (lemon farmhouse ales, coffee-citrus sours, and more) but the small menu of jaffles and charcuterie limited the food-matching possibilities. Now, with the brewery expanding to include the building next door, food is in the limelight.

Chef Ittichai Ngamtrairai’s menu blends Thai and fine dining influences with the broader Southeast Asian flavours Sandery grew up with in Darwin. There are street food-style snacks and small plates, plus a couple of larger dishes – all designed with beer front of mind.

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Yellow beetroot and mushrooms are pickled in a house-made beer vinegar, perfect for offsetting richer bites like a twice-fried chicken wings, filled to bursting with salted-cod mousse and glazed with Ngamtrairai’s hot sauce. Ribbons of cuttlefish “noodles” are lightly cooked and disguised with identical pickled fennel, while kangaroo tartare is dressed with spicy ’nduja and sour tamarind to pair up with a hoppy IPA.

Bigger options, suiting two to three diners, include char kway teow with duck egg and house-made dark soy, while desserts (which Ngamtrairai admits are a hard sell in a brewery) include a street-style banana ice cream sandwich in a stout-infused sticky rice bun, served with beetroot and raspberry sour ale caramel.

In the coming months the menu will expand to include a beer-matched set menu, loosely inspired by Sandery’s nostalgia for Brooklyn bar Tørst (at one point home to a Michelin star) and Smith Street’s long-defunct, nose-to-tail Josie Bones. Both are (or were) champions of giving beer a seat at the culinary table usually reserved for wine, and the multi-course, chef’s table menu will continue this philosophy, complemented by a new pilot brewery for creating bespoke beers with the menu in mind.

The expansion also gives Molly Rose a few more non-beer drinks to play with. The wine list has always been strong (Sandery’s partner is Pacha Mama winemaker Callie Jemmeson) but there’s now a dedicated cocktail bar and menu. Some of the choices are, admittedly, beer cocktails, like the 281 Spritz which sees Molly Rose sour ale spiked with Marionette curaçao and Anther gin, but there’ll also be a Boulevardier (a Negroni with whiskey subbed for gin) with coconut-washed Gospel rye.

The lateral expansion gives Molly Rose something every popular brewery needs – space. Local firm Mitchell and Eades designed the addition, which is highlighted by a chequerboard of stained-glass windows to block the kitchen and a dark-timbered horseshoe bar for cocktails. The parklet out front has been removed but in its stead is a courtyard beer garden to complement the extra bar. Plus, for those dedicated to the cause, there’ll soon be a private space above the new bar for beer-focused functions.

Molly Rose
279–285 Wellington Street, Collingwood

Wed & Thu 4pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–1am
Sun 12pm–10pm