Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Matilda Bay Bar and Brewery - A Journey of the Damned to Port Melbourne

Whenever you fly Qantas, you are told to "Enjoy The Journey" usually after a delay in taking off after viewing the safety video. Sometimes the journey is all part of the fun and in the case of my recent trip to the Matilda Bay Bar and Brewery which recently opened its doors in Port Melbourne, it is indeed a journey but one of the damned to get to this place.

We all know that drink driving in a vexed problem and that you just should not engage in the activity full stop. With this in mind, a companion and your humble narrator attempted to walk to Bertie Road in Port Melbourne, not far from the Toyota complex, which is where the brewery is located.

I made the mistake of not walking down the pedestrian path that follows the Port Melbourne tram line which is a fine path to follow under any circumstances and instead tried to cut through the various industrial estates south of Yarra's Edge. This proved to be quite the experience.

Following Google Maps to the brewery had us walking on the various streets as there were no footpaths for most of the journey. At one particular hazardous intersection, we found construction workers who were digging a hole for some strange reason and summarily abused us when we went to cross the road. As the workers were concerned with directing the one car per minute that was turning up at the intersection, so it would not drive in the hole that was dug in the grass and dirt on the side of the road, I can see why they were so confused to see pedestrians.

After walking through mud, dirt and grass, a pedestrian footpath came into view and it wasn't long after this we presented ourselves at the Matilda Bay Bar and Brewery.

I did not expect a large industrial complex, but something like Little Creatures in Fremantle or even Red Oak Brewery in Sydney. The forward section of the warehouse has been converted into a food service, bar and service area but this accounts for roughly 20% of the floorspace. You have options to sit at high tables on high stools or very low stools on very low tables.

The service was quick and friendly and adeptly poured some Alpha Ale and Cider which was rapidly consumed. After a few more rounds with equally quick service we decided to order lamb burgers before the kitchen shut. I was not expecting much, since this is a brewery, but the food was great. The lamb tasted like lamb and was not overwhelmed with anything that distracted from it. The bread appeared fresh also and it was certainly nice not to have it come out pressed between 600g of dry Turkish bread that other cafes should be demonised for serving lamb between.

If you are keen, you take a tour of the beer making facilities which I spotted some other guests doing however we were happy to sample what came out of the machinery which was very tasty.

Because this is a large industrial warehouse, it was rather cold and I can imagine it will get pretty hot inside during the summer. I liked the decor (or lack thereof) and found it different however I found it quite inconvenient to get to. You can take the Port Melbourne tram and then do some walking but since there is nothing around this brewery besides industrial estates, you will really want to be keen to taste the beers that Matilda have on offer but when they are served on tap at other fine places in the CBD and Southbank (I noticed that The Boatbuilders Yard will offer you a pint of Alpha Ale for $14) you really have to wonder if the journey of the damned is worth it to this part of Port Melbourne. I could easily find myself taking the train to Balaclava and fronting up to The Local Taphouse, not only because it is a great bar, but there are so many other things to do in the area, including having access to public transport.

I liked Matilda Bay Bar and Brewery but I do not think I will return soon just because it is such a pain to get to. I would also fear that my motorcar would fall into a hole on the side of the road thanks to Port Phillip counsil if I tried.

Matilda Bay Bar and Brewery, Port Melbourne

Matilda Bay Brewing Company
Link to review
89 Bertie St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
(03) 9673 4545
My Rating: 10/20
Service: 1/5 (bar service only)
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Comment: Take a tour of the brewery

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
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When I posted this, 92% of the people (out of 14 votes) liked this place on Urbanspoon. Not really a consensus.

Matilda Bay Bar & Brewery on Urbanspoon