What do fruit, coffee and belly button fluff have in common? They have all been used to create the divinely refreshing beverage Aussies are notorious for cracking open on a hot day.
The boys behind St Kilda’s superbly unpretentious Local Taphouse have migrated north, and once again, they have created a place you can have a beer, and taste it too. Stomping Ground Brewery is the latest from Steve Jeffares, Guy Greenstone and Justin Joiner. These guys love beer just a little more than average, and luckily, they brew a damn fine one too.
“We just want to introduce people to how fun it is to try loads of different beers. Breweries aren’t limited like wines, with the technologies for brewing that are currently available and are being developed, you’re only limited by your imagination,”
From day one the brewery was a hit, surpassing what was forecast in the first two weeks. Struggling to keep up with the demand for their unique produce, Steve says it did take a little time to find their feet. “It took us about twelve weeks or so, most people had a great time but there were certainly times where we didn’t meet our own standards, we’ve figured it out now,” he says.
Stepping inside Stomping Ground, expect to be a little dazed, it’s a bloody big space that echoes the mantra of its owners. A massive open beer garden takes up half the restaurant with more of the roof about to be peeled off. The place was designed so there is always something to see, with every customer getting a view of the beer brewing on one side and the looming pizza oven and open kitchen on the other- just in case the menu didn’t look mouth-watering enough. Smack bang in the middle of it all is the bar, with 36 different beers on tap, every single one made ten metres away.
“Every beer is brewed here and it’s pretty cool to see people stepping outside their comfort zone. The way the menu is presented on the screen and on paper is to help people navigate through” Steve says.
Every one of these beers is different, and Steve is confident there is something for everyone. The Gipps St pale ale got its name from the street it was brewed on and is one of the most popular beers on tap listed as an easy drinking beer alongside the Bearbrass stout- its name hailing from Melbourne’s original title- a good starting point for anyone after a dark beer. For those after a little adventure in their brew the Choc Block is a boozy beer brewed with cacao milk for the chocolatey flavour.
Trying new things can be hard, and the boys get that, especially when you’ve happily ordered a Little Creatures Pale Ale as long as you can remember. But don’t worry, because they have thought of everything. Just ask one of the Cicerone Certified Beer servers (yes, that is a beer sommelier) for a little taste and it’s on the house, they make it even easier by grading the beers in how easy to drink they are, as well as having a bar stocked full of qualified staff who can point you in the direction of what could be your new favourite drink.
“We invest heavily in training… It’s important to us, it provides a really great grounding for staff, and a consistency of knowledge, and the impact is very noticeable when staff are communicating with customers about beer.”
It’s only been a few months but these guys are ambitious, already their beer is available for takeaway at Stomping Ground and on tap at 50 bars around the city with a lot more in the works.
New venues around their home base of Melbourne are on the cards, although when and where is yet to be determined. One thing we can count on with these guys is it may become a home away from home.
“It’ll all be underpinned by our hospitality offering because it’s what we love most. We think we have a higher purpose, to not just give people the beer but to tell them about it.”
Photography by: David Hyde 2017