It might have been state against state in the rugby league world last night but in the craft beer industry it’s very much mate alongside mate as the Royal Albert Hotel hatches a plan to help Victorian breweries after their latest lockdown.

In an attempt to “simply help out some mates”, publican Mick Bain said the Royal Albert will kick-start a month of events next week with a Stomping Ground Brewing Co. “pop-up taproom” at his Sydney venue from Thursday 17 June. It will feature 13 beers across 16 taps – the most Stomping Ground have had on tap anywhere in NSW before – and will represent a current cross section of the Melbourne brewery’s products. Sydney-based Motus Transport have thrown their support behind the initiative as well and are shipping the beer free of charge.

Then, in the coming weeks, the Surry Hills bar will host tap takeovers from other Victorian breweries – starting with Hargreaves Hill (from June 24) followed by Bridge Road Brewers (from July 1) and Hop Nation Brewing (July 15) – although the latter was still being finalised when this article was published.

Mick Bain

It’s not the first time Mick has looked to help out breweries in strife, with his Taps ‘n Tins initiative saving countless kegs from being poured down the drain last year when the hospitality industry was first hampered by the effects of COVID-19.

The first event in this latest gambit sees the supreme winners of Beer & Brewer‘s 2021 Best Beer Venue awards working together as well – with the Royal Albert being named the Best Beer Venue and Stomping Ground, for the fourth time in a row, Best Brewpub.

“I was in Melbourne for Good Beer Week when I first found out that Stomping Ground and us had won the awards… so once I heard they were going back into lockdown I knew theirs and the city’s on-premise trade was going to be destroyed,” Mick said.

“For the punters, it’s an easy way to support Victoria. All they have to do is come down and drink a beer. Buy a beer next week and you’re supporting Stomping Ground. And the week after it’s Hargreaves. And so on. It’s the best way to donate in the world right?

Co-founder Justin Joiner told Beer & Brewer that Stomping Ground had long admired Mick for his staunch support of independent beer at the Royal Albert.

“We’ll have 13 different beers pouring, which will be the most we have had on tap anywhere in NSW before. We’re enormously grateful for Mick’s support, especially as we sit out our fourth lockdown here, and we’re sure it will be an awesome event – we’d love to make it up there if the rules allow by then.”

The Stomping Ground takeover:

  • Belgian Dark Strong Ale (10.5%)
  • Archfiend Belgian Golden Strong (9.8%)
  • Bearbrass Nitro Milk Stout (4.5%)
  • Bio Transformation Lager (6.5%)
  • German Pils (5.2%)
  • Gipps Street Pale Ale (5.2%)
  • Hop Stomper IPA (6.0%)
  • Laneway Lager (4.7%)
  • Passionfruit Smash (4.2%)
  • Where’s Your Red At RIPA (6.8%)
  • Farmer’s Daughters Pilsner (4.8%)
  • Mango Smash (4.2%)
  • Iced Vovo Double Nitro Smash (6.8%)

Keep an eye on the Royal Albert’s Facebook page for all the tap takeover announcements.

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