This week in beer… The Wig and Pen!

OH the Wig and Pen, we certainly haven’t forgotten about you. With all the brouhaha surrounding the opening of Bentspoke Brewing in Braddon, one might be forgiven for forgetting about this right gem of a venue, currently located in down town Civic.

The Wig and Pen is something of an institution within Canberra, having been the second home to many an ANU student, professor and craft beer lover alike. As well as serving up stock standard lagers, pilsners and the like, many of the Wig and Pen’s other beers are recognised for their big and boisterous nature, crying out for attention with huge chocolate and coffee overtones and substantial malt backbones. The pub hits its intention, harping back to simpler time in “ye olde country”, of locals sauntering down to their local tavern for a pint of their pub’s own brewed ale.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. Due to the current building being sold and demolished, the Wig and Pen will be shifting from its current location to a new location, 2 blocks away at Llewellyn Hall at the ANU School of Music. But although the location is shifting, much of the Wig and Pen’s famous décor and character is set to move with it, right up to even the “supporting beams” running perpendicular along the ceiling.

The intriguing move to the ANU School of Music is a best case scenario for what was once a dire situation. Talk of moving the pub to other locations including interstate had been mooted, but with the ANU’s continued expansion (I barely recognise it from my undergraduate days) its set to be a truly exciting venture for both parties concerned.

Within the next month or so, new brew hands must be trained up to the high standards expected of the Wig and Pen and owner Lachlan McOmish, all the current brewing equipment must be shifted to the new location as well as much of the current Wig and Pen facade and decor. These is also the prickly issue of what to do with the iconic signature wall which will be within the the new premises.

However, speaking with Jeremy Michael, assistant brewer at the Wig and Pen, whilst aware of the hard work ahead, he is excited by the move to the new premises. The Northern California native from beer capital Chico, CA, home of Sierra Nevada beer, sees not only a new and exciting venue to peddle great beer, but also the possibility of, among other things, a greater collaboration between the pub and the accompanying ANU school of music.

Since taking on the role of assistant brewer at the Wig and Pen, Jeremy has been working tirelessly to understand all the goings on within the Wig and Pen, and recently got to pen (no pun intended) his first brew creation at the Wig and Pen, a rich coffee flavoured dark ale. Whilst sipping on the aptly named Jerry’s lucky 13, Jeremy (or Jerry for short) also mentioned the possibility for collaborations with other brewers in the future, including the newly opened Bentspoke Brewing Co, Fyshwick’s Zierholz and the aclaimed Canberra Brewers group.

So, with Bentspoke Brewing Co. continuing their development (having just tapped several new brews), plus Zieholz continuing to do great stuff with beer and live music and the future of the Wig and Pen now secure, Canberra is set to continue in earnest along its craft beer journey path.

What’s impressing me?

  • Stout-Fest; Like your stouts? Get to the Wig and Pen and get involved in their stout fest!
  • Hopscotch; Ok, so far I have had little to no success in getting any scoops on what to expect on tap from this new Braddon venue, but either way, I think its going to be exciting.
  • ABITA purple haze; Great lager out of New Orleans with a hint (but not overpowering) taste of raspberries

Adrian Moran has been pouring beers for over nine years and runs a weekly podcast devoted to craft beer
Twitter: @ausbeerjourney

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