Last January was one of my favourite birthdays, because I got to spend it drinking beer at The Local Taphouse down in St Kilda (curiously I am yet to make it to the one in Darlinghurst, even though it is far closer).It had been a dream of mine for a year or so to get down there but figured there was no chance as I had a wife and child – two things that restrict one’s freedom for travelling interstate for the sole purpose of beer.
But my wife, who loves a holiday, suggested we head down there for my birthday – and I loved her for it (well, I loved her before then too. But you know what I mean).
It was just what I expected – a chance to try a stack of beers on tap that I’d only ever read about in magazines and online.
One that especially stuck in my mind was a bottle of HaandBryggeriet’s Dark Force, which I just had to try after realising it was a wheat stout. ‘‘A wheat stout? Those crazy Norwegians!’’ I thought as I handed over a bit of cash for it.
It was a stupid idea – drinking a 9 per cent stout on a warm summer’s afternoon isn’t too be advised. Lucky I was able to make to the bottom of the bottle (and then down the stairs to the front door without falling down them).
Before we jumped on the tram back to our hotel (where I would have a nice little Norwegian brewery induced nap) I stopped into the Local Bottle Store and Provisions shop next door. I’d bought their brewer’s dozen online a few times so I knew they had a great stock.
There was a nice olde-worlde feeling from the gold lettering on the front window through to the liberal use of wood for flooring and shelving. The addition of foodstuffs added a degree of classiness to the place.
Walking in, it was like being a kid in a candy store. As I had been buying beers in every decent bottle shop we passed, I had to severely limit my purchases there because our luggage was already full of bottles (even our daughter’s). From memory the purchases included a coffee raspberry amber ale from those weirdsters at Moon Dog and a bottle of the legendary Racer 5 IPA. But I could have blown a week’s wage there.
Which is why I wished I lived down there – because I’d have been in there every week buying something. It was an amazing store and I felt envious of those beer lovers who lived in its proximity.
Perhaps they were taking such a special store for granted because the place is closing down. Which is such a pity. If they want to reopen in Wollongong, I promise to spend money there every week.
Categories: bottle shop