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Tregan Borg reviews Stomping Ground Brew House in Collingwood

STOMPING GROUND BREW HOUSE

100 Gipps Street Collingwood – www.stompingground.beer

In the late 1800’s well before Collingwood was king of the hipster, it was home Australia’s biggest brewing manufacturers.  Theses breweries fizzled out like a cold lager left in the sun.  That was until three blokes decided to bring brewing back to it’s original ‘Stomping Ground’ and built a place for beer and food lovers alike. 

Stomping Ground is a very large venue (housing up to 250 patrons) built within a converted warehouse space.  You feel immediately immersed in everything that is fun about combining beer, food and friends.  It represents a growing trend of casual/communal dining, think your traditional pub scene but on a much larger scale with a big pinch of hipster in the mix.  In theme with the brewing culture, the brewing room is in full view for all. 

Importantly it caters for everyone, small and large groups, old, young, and miniature, yes the little ones are welcome and even have their own menu and cubbyhouse play area. 

We went on a Saturday night and it was quite busy, arriving just after 6pm we were lucky to snatch up what seemed to be one of the last tables available.  Despite being a very much do it yourself, (walk in find a table, grab a menu, sit down order your drinks and food at the bar) the staff were all extremely helpful, and even assisted in bringing two tables together to accommodate our party size.

Beer being the central theme it features across the menu in the form of ‘beer pairing’ and also within the dishes themselves.  Beer and food matching is becoming growingly popular, particularly with the rise of micro-brewing/craft beers.  For me personally I still don’t know if it carries the same romance as a wine match, but I guess if it tastes good and works then go with it.

Some of the starters we tried were the Pork ribs, slow cooked in grand stale ale and a spicy BBQ sauce ($15), soft and full of smoky porky flavour.  Not super sticky or sweet, but a lighter flavoured sauce.

Stomping Ground hush puppies.

Stomping Ground hush puppies. Photo: Tregan Borg

The ‘Hush Puppies’ were an interesting menu item, deep fried corn meal, jalape?o and smoked cheddar with malt butter ($13).  These little guys originate from America, and are a great little snack to have with beer.  Quite bready in texture, think fried dumpling as opposed to oozy cheesy croquette.

Majority of the main food menu is sectioned out in salads, mains, pizzas and sides.  I made the conscious decision to avoid the pizza choices, if I want pizza I generally go to a pizza restaurant.

Stomping Ground steamed mussels.

Stomping Ground steamed mussels. Photo: Tregan Borg

For the mains ? Steamed Mussels ($22), Pork Belly ($28) and Lamb Rump ($30) all featured on our table.

The steamed mussels had great flavour cooked in the ‘Market’ French Saison beer, fruity and golden sweet ale giving a really light taste of ale to the dish.  A generous serving with a big piece of crusty sourdough (it would be rude not to provide something to mop up all of that sauce).

Stomping Ground lamb rump.

Stomping Ground lamb rump. Photo: Tregan Borg

Lamb rump was cooked medium rare, sliced, and served with a braised fennel, ginger tomatoes and a chilli sambal playing with some Asian flavours.

Stomping Ground pork belly.

Stomping Ground pork belly. Photo: Tregan Borg

Pork belly was a generous slab of braised belly, with a thin layer of crispy crackling serviced amongst, spring vegetables of heirloom carrots, fresh peas and a corn puree.  I enjoyed this dish paired with a pint of ‘One-Eyed’ IPA.

Stomping Ground beer ice-cream!

Stomping Ground beer ice-cream! Photo: Tregan Borg

I couldn’t leave without trying the ‘beer ice-cream’ yes, beer ice-cream.  Made by Billy Van Creamery (just up the road in Fitzroy) the ‘Bearbass’ milk stout ice-cream ($5) was deliciously smooth and sweet, with a hint of stout and espresso.   If you’re not into creamy beer ice-cream, try your hand at the ‘Bad Seed’ sorbet, also made by Billy Van.

With over 16 beers on tap, don’t expect to go thirsty.   The beers are easily categorised into their flavour profiles, ‘crisp’ ‘malt’ ‘hops’ ‘roast’ and so on.  If this all sounds like absolute gibberish, luckily the staff are very knowledgeable in the area and are helpful when it comes to the experience of picking a beverage.  Options of a ‘mixed six’ provides a taster of the most popular beers, or you can always just ask to have a quick taste of something you’re interested in and they will oblige.  Personally my favourite was the ‘Robert’ IPA, a strong (9% alc vol) IPA made with hops with citrus and herbal notes.

One slight issue we came across was that the meals all came out at once, despite ordering starters which in definition means at the beginning of the meal.  Understandably it is a very large venue, and managing dockets to be staggered would be a difficult task.  In this case I suggest you may have to order at the bar twice, first your starters and then mains, if you want your meals separately.  Otherwise, an overall enjoyable experience, good service, with lots of options, whether its dinner, lunch, a drink and snacks or a private party, these guys have you covered.

Bonus tip: These guys hold free brewery tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm, no need to book, just ‘rock up’.

Click PLAY below to hear Tregan’s review on 3AW Breakfast

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