About half way up Helen St, in Brisbane's woolstore suburb of Teneriffe, sits the rather special Green Beacon Brewery. More than hitching a ride, it's probably giving a lift to all of the other recent additions to the Craft Beer trail here in Queensland.
The Beacon is about as good as it can get regarding a Brewery tap. With a list of regular in house brews always available, plus a slight usurper in the deliciously dry and refreshing Submariners Cider, the GB offers something for everyone. If, when you add to this list, the speciality brews and season favourites, the plethora of options becomes even more compelling. Offering no spirit choices whatsoever, was a brainwave. Not only does it ensure that the beer remains fresh with a regular turnover, but it also means that the crowd here is sufficiently knowledgeable and beery to warrant this level of brewing excellence.
It's not just the brewers that should have their day in the sun either. The staff are real, and this is a big credit to the small management team. Other brewery taps fail due to the modern auto-mechanical shop assistant style delivery that usually sends me running. Sprinting for the exit when confronted with the infernal sales trend akin to ’active wear' but to do it to me in a pub is quite another. Summing up, I don't like being condescended to and having it explaining to me which is the stout and which is the golden ale. In fact, it’s only serving me one thing, and that is discontent. Not here, however. Not the the Beacon.
You may feel that I'm over egging the point here, but it's becoming an epidemic and I refuse to be a part of it.... anywhere. Where was I? Ah yes, human beings. The staff are warm, friendly, well informed, real people, who, not only appreciate the quality of the product, but also don’t try and throw it down your neck or try to convince you somehow that you're an idiot. If you don’t know, they’re help and if you do, they’ll chat. They will give you a little taste of each beer if you are unfamiliar with the choices, offer a tasting guide and at no point come across all wankerish and up their own bottoms while doing so. Should you not fancy a beer, they do support the local granite belt wine region and so, a large selection of Queensland wines are also available, as is a selection of the usual soft drinks, even if they a from more boutique suppliers than the more familiar brands. Which again, can only be a good thing.
The food I describe as British tapas, and although this may not immediately appeal to everybody, it readily suits the environment here. There is no hot food kitchen to fill the air with smells other than hops and malt, and this is also an act of genius.
Beer here is king, and the food is merely there to enable more beer tasting. It's not a destination for dinner - it's a destination for beer, where you can get something to eat when you inevitably become hungry. Pork Pies, fresh seafood, filled bagels, cheese platters, all fill the void quite happily. Added to this, they also have other catering options by way of food trucks and local specialist suppliers from the excellent Pizzantica and Mr Burger to the King of Wings and How We Rolls. It's best to keep up to date with the goings on at the Beacon by joining their many multimedia options. I prefer Instagram personally, in this instance, but that's up to you.
The crowd is a total cross section, not only of type but also of outlook, and the Sunday session is a particular favourite of mine. It draws both large and small family groups, couples of every age, mates getting together for a weekend wind down, children are welcome, as long as they are kept on a leash and don’t fowl the walkways - and water bowls are also regularly provided. Dogs are also welcome ... and because of this, there is an added air of warmth and that comes across on these lazy Sunday afternoons.
The music is usually left to one of the staff members to airdrop from their own phones but is usually excellent, eclectic and suitable for all ages and tastes.... apart from the young, ludicrous and unfashionable. No Adele are Ed Sheeran here, thank you very much. Or if there is, it’s quickly quashed. the long bar accommodates swift service and a place to chat should you stray in unattended. All in all, it’s my favourite place to drink in Brisbane. Both as a local, for a pop in or for a session with friends. With the Beacon the balance is right. It’s for people who know, those who’d like to know and for those who thought that places like this might no longer exist. Most strikingly, as I sit here watching the various and varied go about their stuff. I can’t help but notice that they are all each and individually involved in their own groups. they aren’t here to strut or to be seen. Totally captivated in each others company over a fine glass of beer.
There is a right time to be at the Beacon - When it’s open, and as Morrissey once said, "There is a light, and it never goes out.