Pat McInerney and Nick Newey are behind new craft beer Willie The Boatman. And they have just opened a tasting bar on Mary Street in Tempe. Gregarious and affable, McInerney explains that he and Newey were both passionate home brewers for many years before making the move up into the big leagues.
“It was a slow process,” says McInerney. “We spent a year just honing our recipes, holding tastings at cafes for people other than our friends and getting as much feedback on the beers as we could. My backyard became a ‘do drop-in’ for the neighbours looking for a taste of our latest recipe. My wife soon put a stop to that!”
Community is something McInerney is passionate about. He was awarded Marrickville Citizen of the Year in 2014 for his tireless support of fundraisers and grassroot campaigns – such as the Tempe 2020 Facebook page he founded. He and Newey name all their beers after friends and local legends (a category they now easily fit into themselves). The brewery is named after a much older local legend, William Sparks, a Scottish convict sent to work for the owner of Tempe House in 1830. He was known as a local character.
The new tasting bar is part of a beautiful, burgeoning complex tucked away at the bottom of Mary Street (a 10-minute walk from Sydenham station). Next door to Sample Coffee’s newly opened Pro Shop, the bar covers several spacious, whitewashed rooms with hardwood floors. “The building used to be the Taubman’s Paint Factory,” says McInerney. “It’s an amazing space with a lot of cool industrial features.”
Cellar-door items for sale include longnecks, refillable growlers and T-shirts. There are also a half dozen beers on tap. Alongside the pale ale, golden ale, ESB and IPA is a less-common varietal, the Gose. It’s a German style that is slightly salty. At Willie’s it’s served with a sour-apple marshmallow. “It is traditional to have it with raspberry schnapps,” says Pat. “We couldn’t afford to buy everyone a shot of schnapps so we thought marshmallows would have a similar effect.” Every other beer comes with free prawn crackers.
Tasting Bar at Willie The Boatman
202/75 Mary Street, St Peters