If you get bored easily, the Alehouse Project should be your pub of choice. Ask them what's good on tap, and you'll often hear something you (or anyone else in Australia) have never heard of. Publican Alex Summers is one of the most knowledgeable and passionate folks in the game, easily explaining every weird and wonderful drop that pours forth from his 12 constantly changing taps. Neither too technical nor with the slightest hint of pretension, he'll make you feel like an expert in no time.
This week they're launching Belching Beaver Brewery from San Diego for the first time. The style is rich, lactic and full of nuts, so leave your allergies at home. A peanut butter milk stout smells like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and tastes like American diner coffee with a few teaspoons of hazelnut-flavoured non-dairy creamer. But better. You won't need that ice cream sandwich for dessert in any case. Sailors Grave "whisky sour" Berliner Weiss is bright and creamy with a soft acid bite, like a slice of dill pickle in a good German potato salad, and Watts River ‘Mr Quincy’ quince golden ale is rich and earthy and would go great with a cheese board.
The long, exposed brick space inhabits a shop front in East Brunswick that'd be easy to miss. Warmly lit and well spaced so it never feels cramped, it's as good a place to catch up with mates as it is to worship at the altar of craft beer, although the giant mural of a monk emerging from a dark thicket of hops would be sure to hear your prayers. You don't have to be a true believer to have a good time here though, as the crew will happily pour you a glass of wine or a nip from their surprise collection of Aussie whiskies bigger than most cocktail bars have.
Trivia night is packed and awesome when the crowd at its most congenial and likely to talk a bit of friendly smack. On Friday night the footy's on live and loud in the side bar so you've got the option of sports pub vibes or not, and this month Burger Boys occupies the kitchen, part of a rotating takeover providing plenty of dude food to soak up the suds. There's a nearly even split of men and women here too, and it's a testament to the place that it hasn't become an unwelcoming clubhouse of beer nerds, rather a cracking local for the young and casually dressed of Brunswick. No one is trying too hard, all just here to enjoy the company of mates over a pint.
Other boxes ticked include a pool table up the back and a leafy beer garden for quiet, beer-fueled conversations, but as the sign on the wall says, one philosophy reigns supreme at the Alehouse: Drink beer, it's better than anything else.