Longboard Pale Ale at the Grand Hotel

BotF was in Wollongong last week and tried a new beer in a pub that has been newly added to the BotF Bar Review Map.

The Longboard Beer Brewing Company is based in Thirroul. It has three founders and has so far taken a quite unique approach to getting off the ground. It produces one type of beer – Longboard Pale Ale, which is only available in one way – on tap, at a small range of bars. So far, they have concentrated on a small range of Sydney pubs and a larger number of Wollongong venues.

LBBC’s own description of their beer is a little contradictory.

“It is a well balanced beer from start to finish and is not lacking flavor, body or style like so many of the generic brands. The beer has a taste that is not necessary of a mature pallet. It will meet all drinkers’ expectations; it can be an occasional or session beer.” Hmmm. Not generic, but meets all drinkers’ expectations. That said, I’m fine with the beer. I’d love a session in the sun at the Watsons Bay or Thirroul Hotel with a succession of schooners full of Longboard Pale Ale. There’s a bite to the beer, but it is not particularly distinctive.

I enjoyed my first taste of Longboard Pale Ale at a deceptive pub near the centre of Wollongong. The Grand Hotel is tucked in off the Princes Highway, not far from the Crown Street Mall. It looks like a grand old pub from the outside and was probably a packed old boozer in its day. It’s been taken over by a totally different clientele nowadays, with it being a big live music venue.

First time I visited, I was greeted by the most disinterested barman. “You want a beer?”. Almost all lights were off with the exception of the pokies area. Last week, a different barman let me have a walk through the place and it is a little like the Tardis. It just keeps on going. There’s a large pool room and a large stage and separate dancefloors. I’ve got to say it’s probably not a bar I’d frequent, but I am happy that a grand old place has found its niche.