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Get ‘bent’ at BentSpoke

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Whilst most pubs hide their stock out the back, everything is on display at BentSpoke Brewing Co, where the locally brewed beers and ciders travel mere metres from brewing tank to glass.

BentSpoke is the brainchild of renowned brewer, Richard Watkins and cider extraordinaire, Tracy Margain (pictured below), who met a little over a decade ago at Canberra’s award-winning micro-brewery and tavern, Wig& Pen.

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As well as a play on the word bespoke, the name BentSpoke, stemmed from a combination of Richard and Tracy’s greatest pleasures in life, cycling and experimental brewing, known as ‘bent’ brewing in the brewing community.

Tracy says, “One morning, I turned to Rich and said, ‘What are we going to call this place?’ We thought, the both of us like riding our bikes around, riding to the pub and Rich makes bent beers…what about BentSpoke? And it worked out pretty well, we think.”

Spanning two floors, with a relaxed, industrial feel throughout, Tracy and Richard’s ten massive brew tanks and seven fermenters are the main attraction, proudly displayed for customers to admire whilst they sample the product. Other unique touches, like the locally sourced timber bar tops and upcycled bike parts that make up the  light fixtures, give the place a real sense of warmth and character.

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Downstairs has a lively pub vibe, with a long bar and high tables. While upstairs, customers can expect a relaxed and family friendly dining experience, with a contemporary pub menu designed to complement the boutique beers and ciders on tap.

At the bar, you will discover what the BentSpoke team call their Straight 6; six of their best beers and ciders available on tap all year round.
From the Dick Tracy, a fruity brown ale and BentSpoke’s first ever brew, to the Braddon Bitter; the names are clever and the brews themselves are unique and full of flavor. I sampled the Adam’s Cider, a hand-crushed cider made from Batlow apples, and I have to say, it is one of the best ciders I have ever tasted.

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Another fun fact about BentSpoke’s brews is that nothing goes to waste, “We don’t like to make a lot of waste,” Tracy said, “so all of our leftover barley is given to local farmers”.

Tracy and Richard are excited to make more ‘bent’ brews as the seasons change and new produce becomes available.

“We’re lucky in the ACT,” Tracy says, “We can make beers for every season and have the opportunity to be a bit more playful with what we make”.

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Since BentSpoke Brewing Company opened its doors a year ago it has earned itself a place in Canberrans’ hearts with demand for Head Brewer Richard Watkin’s red, black, orange, and golden nectar reaching a whopping 160,000L.

After nearly being drunk dry on opening weekend, enthusiasm for Watkin’s drops has hardly waned. “We’ve made 31 different brews this year from Saisons to Stouts” said Watkins “and to celebrate a highly successful first year we’re launching four more this weekend!”

The first, launched today, is a strong Scotch Ale named Blow Your Bagpipe. It’s the third in a series of historical beer styles to be produced by Watkins in collaboration with beer historian David Hughes. Following David Booth’s brewing notes and descriptions in his 1829 publication the Art of Brewing, Blow Your Bagpipe is a strong but smooth, malty, gently hopped pale ale traditionally brewed for a longer duration and lower temperatures than brews of the 21st century. More information on this historic brew is attached.

BentSpoke will then release a big, bold 15% dark beer, the details of which are being released tonight.

“I believe I may have created a whole new beer style” said Watkins. “There’s a secret ingredient making this brew what I’m calling a Black Imperial Barley wine”.

This will be followed by two more releases on the Sunday and Monday of an unusual Dark India Pale Ale named Black Tyre and Dark and Sour described by Watkins with a laugh as a “cross between dark jelly beans and a hint of lemon warheads”. This will take BentSpoke’s dark beer tally to 9, a sure-fire way to combat the Canberra cold.

“We’re immensely thankful to the Canberra population who’ve whole-heartedly embraced our brews, including the bent ones, over this past year” said Watkins. “Thanks to this support we have big plans to bring our brews to all of Canberra in many different new and exciting ways over the next year. Stay tuned for the next chapter!”

the essentials

What: BentSpoke Brewing Co
Where: Corner of Mort and Elourea Street in Braddon
When: Open 7 days for lunch and dinner
Phone: 6257 5220

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