But if you are mobile, definitely make time for a trip to Wild Hop’s fantastic brewery restaurant on Wildwood Road. They’re the newest hop-heads on the block and, so far, are killing it with their creative, thirst-quenching brewsI meet up with Wild Hop Director, Ali Scott-Malcolm, to chat about all things craft beer. It’s high noon, and the industrial-engineered eatery is near-empty; a calm after the storm of beer drinkers who have been charging through the premises in huge numbers since their February opening. So eager were people to try Wild Hop’s ever-changing beer on tap that staff sometimes arrived to queues on the footpath waiting for the family-owned brewery to open at 11am.
Ali pours me 2 Plumz for 1, which was created in collaboration with east coast brewers, Mountain Culture Beer Co, and we sit near the fireplace. I’m an IPA and pale ale drinker, but this German gose-style beer is light, fruity, and a tad sour – perfect for midday. As we chitchat over lunch, tables fill up and thirsty patrons head to the bar.
She tells me the biggest sellers are the pilsners and pale ales. The first batch of pale ale, Ghost Legs, was gobbled up greedily, and now they’ve moved onto Lacey Grace, which is a little bit lighter in malt and alcohol by volume (ABV), but still mighty in taste. Because the Short Shorts pilsner has been so well-received, it will be a mainstay beer, but otherwise, there will be a lot of experimenting with the taps at Wild Hop.
“The boys are really happy with that recipe, so that will probably be the one to stay consistent,” says Ali. “Trying new recipes keeps it interesting for the brewers, the staff, and the customers.”
Unlike many of the other breweries who can bottle their beer, the only way to have Wild Hop at home is to take away a growler (two-litre jug) of your favourite brew. “So far, the NEIPA is the biggest seller”, says Ali.