We must have over a hundred bottles of beer sitting at home. No, we’re not total boozers in this house – it’s due to Alastair and Bro’s homebrew hobby that’s been going strong for over a year. I indulge them in their hobby, even though the big fermenting thingy (technical term) took up residence in the laundry over winter and there are boxes and boxes of beer bottles all over the garage.
As to be expected, they’ve both become much more interested in beer due to their hobby. So when Alastair and I spent a weekend on the Mornington Peninsula, I made sure to include a couple of brewery visits. And on the way home, we stopped for lunch at True South Brewery in Black Rock.
The True South building used to be an auto garage – but now it’s been converted to a bar, restaurant, function room and a brewery. It is pretty slick inside. They’ve kept an industrial looking edge, with bare white walls, exposed ceiling pipes, and metal lamp shades, but it’s also bright and airy. Being a brewery, they have their own range of beers, and also serve Argentinean inspired food.
After we had a look at the menu, it was recommended that we order several dishes to share. After we made our choices, we were brought out some bread and olive oil. I also ordered myself a $15 beer wheel, which came with five of their beers for sampling. They were pretty generous with their pours, so this was definitely a good way to try several of their brews.
Foodwise, we started with two choices from the small plates part of the menu. First up we had the albondigas picantes – five pork and veal meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce, served with bread ($14). I really enjoyed the flavour and spiciness of the sauce, but the meatballs themselves were a touch dense.
We also had the longestines crocantes – crispy fried school prawns with green chilli and spring onion ($11) because we’re a big fan of school prawns. I loved the crunch of the whole prawns interspersed with bites of spicy chilli and a touch of sourness from the lemon juice squeezed on top.
Next we shared a large item, which was the cordero patagonica – a dark ale braised lamb shoulder with carrot, coriander and croquettes ($35). This dish had other tables peering over and asking the wait staff what we had ordered. It was delicious: the large tender pieces of lamb were cooked in a savoury rich sauce and came out sitting on top of fresh broadbeans. The carrot puree gave it a bit of sweetness and stopped the meat from being overwhelmingly savoury, and the croquettes and nuts added a bit of crunch.
And for pretend healthiness, we also shared a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad ($11) scattered with onions and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. What is it about fresh, creamy mozzarella and sweet tomatoes that makes such a great combination?
We found that service was young, casual and friendly – just right for the space, and it all added up to a very enjoyable meal.
True South also hold brewery tours on Saturdays for $20 (bookings necessary) which, despite my lack of beer knowledge, even I think could be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Check their website for more details.
And for more on True South, check out these blogs:
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True South Brewery
298 Beach Road
Phone: 1300 878 360
12pm until late: Lunch & Dinner