Food and Drink


Craft & Co Brewery Class

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A lesson for anyone tossing up between catching a tram, a cab or killing 30 minutes walking to a dinner event during winter in Melbourne? Anything with a roof always wins. You will get cold, even if you walk fast, and you will get rained on because you were too cheap to pay for either transport option.

Luckily, the walk is made manageable by what waits for me. I’m continuing the series on the Craft & Co food and beverage classes, so the wet, chilly walk is tolerated for the homely warmth waiting for me on the top end of Smith Street. Having mastered (read: attempted) the art of pasta and cheese already, tonight we’re onsite to learn all about the beer brewing process in Brewing for Beginners.

Homemade Coopers, you’re about to be dumped.

The vibe never shifts and it’s 90% of the reason I continue to come back. I stroll in the door like it’s my own and immediately start bantering about the blistering cold with the lovely lady taking me through my drink options. My regular isn’t available, so she points me in the direction of Craft’s own pinot – a sweet, sharp drop that I can’t quite believe cost me just $7 a glass.

This will cost me more eventually, when I receive a ribbing from Heath McVeigh, head brewer and asserted beer lover, for drinking wine during a beer event. Whoops.

After taking seats on stools in the micro-brewery, we’re taken through the brewing journey to learn about grains, hops and yeast and how the final product is developed from these ingredients. From the equipment to the do’s and don’ts, Heath engages us in the story of brewing and bottling your own beverage, which takes a few twists when we very effectively stuff it up – from nearly sneezing to death after figuring out a grass allergy from sampling wheats, to watching a near whole bag of grain split into the base of the boiling pot, it’s probably a good thing we don’t have the time to brew to an end point tonight.

After the lesson (and laughs) we make our way back to the long communal table, where we’re greeted with several platters of cheese, meats, pastes and dips (of course, all custom C&C) and eventually long boards with several selections of different beers. Their award winning mocha beer – the Mocha ESB – is a highlight, a bitter beer with hints of caramel, chocolate and coffee running through the smooth, malty flavour.

Several more samples and a slew of other beverages later, we’ve stayed well past an appropriate time and it’s time to brave to blistering cold again. I literally have to drag myself from my seat, in this place that’s feeling more and more like home every visit I make.

Craft & Co, you’ve got yourself a lifer.

The Craft & Co 
390 Smith Street, Collingwood


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