An awesome relative of mine suggested I write a review about this great new place I visited on the weekend in Ballarat for a friend’s birthday. It’s one of those places that is just a little hidden, down an unnamed lane-way, and you can easily walk past it or even step up to the door thinking it’s “a private thing”. But alas, The Hop Temple is alive and kicking and you needn’t be shy about walking in the door.
To find it, you’ll need to walk down Armstrong Street from Mair Street, walking towards Sturt St. Got it? If you are visiting by day, look up! Cleverly strung above you are a mass of red and white striped umbrellas. This is your ‘yellow-brick-road’ to beer sanctity. If you are visiting by night, the alley will be lit up with gorgeous bulbs! Kind o’ hard to miss. Or you can always walk straight through from ‘The George’s Laneway…” oh, just look for this sign!
Okay, so now we are both on the same page and I fear the secret is out, let’s get into why you need to come here.
1. THE EPIC BEER
With 16 beers on tap and plenty more on the list, I’m surprised they haven’t created a beer connoisseur club. Or a tasting selection for brunch, I mean lunch. Zac? It made me realise how little I knew about my favourite brew. Lager, Ale, Lower Alcohol, Pale Ale, Golden Ale, Saison, Amber Ale, Indian Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Dark Ale, Porter, Stout, Cider and “Other” are all on the list. I am of course, as part of my learning, going to attempt every one of them for the good of knowledge and beer wisdom. The beer I was served by recommendation, was in fact so absolutely, mind-blowing awesome, (yet I cannot remember the name of it), that it makes me want to forgo any other six-packs on a Friday night.
However, if the beer doesn’t quite get you there, The Hop can tempt you with many, many wines and a great selection of whiskeys and the like. I suggest the Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum on the rocks for the latter which is RIDICULOUSLY smooth and smells like lollies.
2. THE GLORY OF FOOD
The menu boasts perfect beer food. Burgers, Schnitzels, Chips, an assortment of Jaffles, cheeses, some salads and pizza. We had the sharing plate which included a couple of lamb ribs, enchilada’s, some bread and dip and spicey chicken wings. What can I say, they were all awesome! The tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella was also mouth-watering good. So, what’s not to like about this place…ah, nothing. Nope, not a darn thing! Check out the menu here.
3. UBER COOL BUILDING DESIGN
If you love the array of old Ballarat buildings being reincarnated for your viewing pleasure, then you have to step foot inside. The building was an old garage and stables and has been refurbished with recycled materials. One wall is clad with a tetris map of doors just like the bar. Another wall is clad with old Louvre doors and shutters. If you look around, you will find many odd and eccentric items turned into fantastic industrial and vintage decor. It creates a nostalgic nesting habit, where you look for a TV playing vintage black and white films in front of a bustling fireplace. Oh, wait, they have that too! Ugh, just pass me another beer and bring me my sleeping bag!
Friday nights are food truck nights and that’s all exciting in itself. They are open WED – FRI 4pm – 11pm, SAT 12pm -11pm and SUN 12pm – 9pm.