Bent Spoke Brewing Company

7 Jun

It’s the most anticipated opening in Canberra this year – and they sure knew how to draw it out. But Bent Spoke Brewing Company has been worth the wait.

In a rare moment of luck/foresight, we arrive at the two-storey industrial pub just before the after work crowd streams in. It’s already busy, but in half an hour’s time they’re at capacity and there’s a line out the door.

Downstairs bar area before it packs out

Downstairs bar area before it packs out

It’s easy to see why it took a while to open (in a good way!). It’s evident that there’s been so much thought put into Bent Spoke by owner Richard Watkins (formerly Wig and Pen) and the details are exact. The design is beautiful. This is a space that has to work and flow from the very first step in the brewing process to the beer being poured, and all the signs are that it does.

Upstairs bar

Upstairs bar

While the downstairs bar takes up the length of the space, upstairs it’s down one end and also serves as a mask for the kitchen.

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We do discuss whether upstairs is a bit like a school hall, but it doesn’t feel that way. I like that you can see everything that’s going on, and there’s ample tables and chairs without being too squashy.

Plenty of tables and chairs

Plenty of tables and chairs

Cute design elements include hops and bike parts being featured everywhere, kegs as seats and clever chandeliers and light fittings.

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Love!

Love!

But what about the beer?!

The thing to know about Bent Spoke is that the beers generally can’t be categorised into a particular style, but there’s a reasonably detailed guide to help you choose from the five beers and one cider available.

Only six? Yes – but it’s just the beginning. There are 18 taps ready for use and I’m pretty confident we’ll see them all in action one day. It makes sense though to start with a core brand and build from there. And the six currently available are different enough that there’s something for everyone’s taste.

Beer’s not cheap – the small is $7.50 and the large (pint) is $11 for all the available range, but it’s worth it. This is a boutique brewery after all, and the price is worth it for the experience and these clever, interesting beers.

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The first beer we try is the Dick Tracy – a medium brown malt packed with flavour.

First of many beers

First of many beers

Great colour

Great colour

In fact, I try all the beers (in the name of research). The only beer I don’t like is the Braddon Bitter – it’s bitter (surprise!) but watery, kind of like drinking cold tea which has been steeped too long. The stand out is the Barley Griffin – a lighter ale spiced with oregano grown in the chef’s garden in Canberra, which is incredibly smooth,Β  and thus eminently drinkable. The favourite among our table is the IPA-style Crankshaft.

Barley Griffin

Barley Griffin and Crankshaft

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The menu features pub eats (olives, burgers, hot wings) as well as more hearty meals from the grill, including chicken maryland, snags, chops and steaks with choices of sides. There’s plenty on the menu that’s gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan – like the rest of the brewery, there’s been a lot of thought put into this.

Large hot wings ($18) with blue cheese sauce

Large hot wings ($18) with blue cheese sauce

I’ve got some sort of obsession with wings at the moment and I love the idea of wings crusted with beer grain. These wings are amazing. The chicken is succulent, the crust is tasty, they’re hot without destroying your taste buds, and the blue cheese sauce is to die for (and there’s plenty of it – hooray!).

Cheese platter ($19)

Cheese platter ($19)

The cheese platter features a big chunk of bread (again, hooray!), cider-pickled onions, goats cheese, blue stilton, Tarago river triple cream, cheddar and quince paste – and a peach.

And yes, there's wine served at this brewery!

And yes, there’s wine served at this brewery!

It’s easy to spend a long time at Bent Spoke… and we do! The service is efficient, the atmosphere is warm and friendly. On what is no doubt an incredibly stressful opening night, the staff are only too happy to help. It does get noisy but there’s been some effort to absorb the noise – it’s never impossible to hear someone, but perhaps a little more could still be done.

The only problem with staying so long and drinking beer is the many bathroom trips – the only bathroom is downstairs, and through three or four doors. At one stage I have to help someone find their way back to the Brewery!

The TL;DR version is: Bent Spoke is awesome. It’s a pleasure to spend time at a place where so much effort has been placed on getting things right. The beer and food are worth the trip alone. I can’t wait until they’ve got their travellers (growlers) available so you can take beer home – and I do hope they do some tasting paddles like at Bridge Road Brewers and Bright Brewery. There’s a lot to look forward to!

Growlers ready for beer to be taken home!

Growlers ready for beer to be taken home!

Date: Friday, 6 June 2014

Where: Corner Mort and Elouera Streets, Braddon

Value for money: High

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Read Eileen’s recap here.

Bentspoke Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

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4 Responses to “Bent Spoke Brewing Company”

  1. kayakcameraman June 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    I’m looking forward to getting down there to do a bit of sampling myself. Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. glutenousmaximus June 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    FYI those who are looking for gluten free options, its pretty much salad or steak minus a side. They do no gluten free bread options so burgers are a no. From memory there are two gluten free specific options on the menu and they aren’t as flexible about swapping out ingredients as other places. Also beware, most sauces have beer in them and therefore aren’t too friendly for gluten intolerant people. Food delicious otherwise.

  3. J M July 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    That’s a Chain’Delier by the way πŸ˜‰

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Human Brochure weekend – a review by Jane | In The Taratory - November 11, 2014

    […] that their other visiting Human will have time to arrive from Sydney. We make a pre-dinner stop at BentSpoke Brewing Co. where, being a non-beer-drinking heathen, I sample the one (excellent) cider on their menu. […]

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