For folks fixated on finding tasty treats, South Brisbane’s Fish Lane is quickly becoming a reliable source. Spanning four blocks back from Grey Street to Manning Street, you could almost forget you’re in Brisbane’s busiest tourist precinct.
The area has undergone a rejuvenation; once dominated by a fuck-off multi-storey pub, flooded religiously by uni students in search of cheap thrills, it's now focused on attracting those who care about making good life decisions. In just a few blocks you can encounter delicious food, one of the country’s best cocktail bars and street art aplenty. And a precinct dedicated to great food and drinks wouldn’t be seen dead without craft beer on offer.
Nestled down one end of Fish Lane, an unassuming sign will point you in the direction of the good stuff. Simply “SBC” from the outside, this red brick building was established as a beacon for your beery delights in November 2015.
The full title of this venue is Saccharomyces Beer Café, and since the beer cafés of Europe are old hands when it comes to beer snacks, they're the inspiration for the food menu at SBC. Think Belgian boulets (giant meatballs) or boulettes (little meatballs) just like Oma used to make - except smothered with beer gravy. Think chunky frites with the skins still on. Think farmhouse platters with bread and cold meats. This isn't a place where you'll go hungry while you work your way through the 17 rotating taps of beer.
A German beer hall inspired fit-out floods with natural light throughout the day and twinkles with the light of vintage arcade games by night. Long high bars and quaint round tables softly decorated with real plants creeping out of recycled beer bottles make for an environment fit for deep conversations with pals old and new.
While you let your personality shine, aided by fermented thirst-quenchers, Saccharomyces’ hand written tap lists, DIY road sign pointing to key venue features, and knick-knacks on display show off the bar’s unique personality. Or, at the very least, give you and your pal something to talk about.
The fact that saccharomyces refers to the yeast involved in brewing should be all the hint you need to realise the team behind the bar is a little bit obsessed with the science of fermentation. Some of that obsession could be traced back to the time when part-owner and venue manager Simon Booy was a pharmacist, homebrewing in his downtime. Heck, why work for Big Pharma when you can serve up the drugs people actually enjoy? Seventeen taps pour a range of beer styles - you'll find your lagers and sessionable pales, but also the gamut of IPAs from West Coast to East Coast, farmhouse styles, and something dark pretty much all year round. Aussie independent producers are the main fare, but imported beers from the likes of America, New Zealand, Germany and Belgium show up with regularity.
Yet, while beer is certainly front and centre at Saccharomyces Beer Café (it’s in the name, after all), wine isn’t too far from the spotlight either. The venue has gained quite a following for its annual beer vs wine dinners, where the two tango across the dining table as guests explore the differences, commonalities and convergences of the two.
Located just a stone’s throw from Brisbane’s Cultural Centre, Saccharomyces has found itself entwined with the arts scene too, with everything from stand-up comedy to punters drinking German beers while listening to Beethoven played by a live string quartet.
In fact, the entire year at SBC is one full of fun and interesting events - Canada Day, Oktoberfest and Belgian Beer Week are all multi-day opportunities to drink beers from around the world. And even when it’s just doing its day job of being a bar, Sacc does so while celebrating great fermentation, art and pinballs, all accompanied by tasty food. So, whether your visit takes in an event or you’re just dropping in for a beer, you’ll be happy either way.