Melbourne's iconic Young & Jackson is many things to many people. Not only one of the oldest existing hotels in the city (it was opened in 1861 as the Princes Bridge Hotel), the building that greets people as they step out of the main entrance to Flinders Street Station is a tourist magnet, popular pre-and post-MCG hangout, time-honoured meeting point and, of course, a good, honest pub. These days, it's also one of the best places in the city to sample a wide selection of Australian craft beer.
Following in the footsteps of its sister venue, the Sail This & Anchor in Fremantle, it has embraced the wind of change that has been sweeping through the Australian beer scene. Where once anyone seeking craft beer was best advised to head upstairs to Chloe's Bar, now you can find taps dedicated to the best homegrown brewers from coast-to-coast throughout all of its bars (except, of course, the cider bar). With more than 50 taps to play with in the building, it's gratifying as a craft beer lover to know that well over 30 are now pouring beers from the country's microbreweries.
For the uninitiated, Young & Jackson is made up of three downstairs bars with more than 30 taps, the more refined surrounds of Chloe's Bar on the first floor, where you will also find tapas and í la carte dining, and the rooftop Cider Bar. Chloe's, which is a great spot in which to grab a seat on a comfy sofa and watch Melbourne life unfold below, takes its name from the famous painting hanging in its main bar. The nude originally hung in the National Gallery of Victoria but was taken down after church-led public outcry. It was later purchased for the hotel in 1908 and has been a feature ever since.
The venue hosts regular beer events and has been expanding the range of spirits on offer in recent times too. That one of the country's most popular and iconic hotels has embraced Australian craft beer to such and extent is a great sign for anyone keen to see it move from the fringes and achieve more mainstream acceptance.