Your correspondent recently returned from a visit to the fair (but not quite as fair as Adelaide) city of Melbourne in the company of Mrs Mac and a good friend of ours who wishes to remain anonymous (let’s just refer to him as ‘Paul’). The primary reasons for this expedition were:

  1. For ‘Paul’ and I to undertake our bi-annual visit to the Australian Open (or as it should now be rightfully referred to… the ‘Coopers Australian Open’); and
  2. For Mrs Mac to (successfully) provide a significant financial boost to the retail sector of the Victorian economy, and thereby further compromising my plans for an early retirement.

Along the way, time was also found to pay a visit to one of my favourite Melbournian establishments, namely the Moon Dog Craft Brewery (https://www.facebook.com/moondogbrewing/) in Duke Street Abbotsford, just off Victoria Street (and right under the nose of a certain mass-producer of fizzy bland rubbish masquerading as beer).

I have always found the vibe here to be extremely laid back and friendly, aided no doubt by the fact that you are basically sitting in a big shed, the back half of which contains the brewery in front of which is the bar. The front half contains a very varied assortment of tables, chairs, sofas and all manner of paraphernalia including a couple of most impressive chandeliers. And out the front if you are feeling peckish is a pizza van, whose wares I can heartily recommend.

Then of course there are the beers. The boys at Moon Dog are well known for being utterly fearless and producing many well out there (and splendidly named) beers such as their ‘Jumping the Shark’ and ‘Black Lung’ series of vintages and some amazing one-off kegs. They have now also established a trio of core beers all at 5% ABV and which are readily available nationally, namely ‘Love Tap’ lager (dialled back from the 6% of the original version, but without sacrificing any of the flavour), ‘Mack Daddy’ dark ale and ‘Old Mate’ pale ale. Of the three, the latter is probably my favourite; a well-balanced, largely American style pale ale.

Also pouring at our visit was the ‘Splice of Heaven’ pine-lime IPA, which features lashings of citrusy hops, a creamy palate and sticky resinous finish. And yet, as with most of Moon Dog’s seemingly incongruous experiments in flavour, it all comes together very well indeed.

But I was most happy to find an old favourite on tap, namely ‘Jukebox Hero’. A classic West Coast IPA loaded with juicy new world hops, it remains for me one of the best examples of the style to be found anywhere. Even more so when it is fresh from the keg on a warm summer evening.

The Moondog Brewery Bar is open Wednesday to Friday 4pm to 11pm, Saturday midday to 11pm and Sunday midday to 8pm.

As for the Australian Open, well as always it was fantastic and I can highly recommend it to anyone, even if you are not a keen tennis fan. It is an exceptionally well run event that is always buzzing, and is constantly being improved year to year. And of course it is now made all the better by being able to enjoy a cold Coopers Pale Ale or their re-launched Lager while enjoying the atmosphere and the extraordinary skill and athletic ability of the players.

Jimmy Mac