Venues and events

A night on the town

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The artwork at Lower Crown cafe.

On Saturday night I went to a beer dinner that made me think maybe, just maybe, craft beer might be really cutting through in Wollongong.

See I’ve been to a few beer dinners in town and you tend to see a lot of the same faces. And those faces often look like beer geeks – don’t ask me what a beer geek actually looks like. But I know them when I see them.

Well, I thought I did. Until the Saturday night beer dinner at Lower East Cafe, which I was invited to by Nicola from beer subscription business Hops & Craft. The only people I knew there were the people at my table. At all the other tables were young whippersnappers I’d never seen before. The sort of people who don’t normally go to a beer dinner.

But there they were. Whether they came specifically for the beer or, more likely because it sounded like “something different” doesn’t matter. What matters is they came. It’s hard to show people how good beer can be if they don’t show up.

There were five beers on the night. For mine, the best were the Sample Pale Ale – which had some nice light fruit notes I’d never noticed the other times I’d had it – and Rocks Brewing’s Hangman Pale Ale. This one had heaps more fruit, apparently because brewer Scotty Morgan (who was there on the night) had bee throwing heaps of hops at it lately. Well, if this is how it’s going to taste from now on, I might have to start buying it more often.

And the food was amazing. Sourdough bread baked with Rocks Brewing porter so you got some lovely light chocolate flavours. A salad with watermelon and bacon that I saw on the menu and thought it would just be too weird but was wonderful – I’d order it the next time I spotted it on a menu. Spiced chicken served with seasoned veggies so good I had seconds.

And, for dessert, a sublime white chocolate banana creme brûlée with dark chocolate. Served, of course, with Holgate’s Temptress.

Great beer, great food, great times. And, given the place was packed out, I’d suggest there will be more beer dinners to come.

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