ACT News


Brewer's thirst takes on a new bent

The Wig and Pen's master brewer is set to open a new brewpub venture inside a boutique apartment complex in Braddon.

Richard Watkins recently announced his departure from the Civic establishment following 17 years of crafting unique and award-winning beers.

BentSpoke Brewing Company will occupy space on two levels of developer Morris Property Group's Habitat project, located on the corner of Mort and Elouera streets.

Mr Watkins said the brewpub would be quite different to the Wig and Pen, with a modern, industrial feel and more of an emphasis on food to enable meal and beer matching.

He said he also wanted to provide a more open operation for pub-goers to experience.

''I think people probably don't realise there's a lot of hidden brewing operations at the Wig and Pen and I'm trying to have it so that everything's visible to everyone in the venue so everyone can see exactly what goes into making different beers,'' Mr Watkins said.


''At the Wig and Pen I think we've generated some really good sour beers but I definitely want to explore that a lot more and try and share all of that with people who are coming into the venue.''

He said the bottom level of the business would have a relaxed pub feel to it while upstairs would be an informal beer hall style of eating area.

Beer - of at least 16 varieties - other drinks, and food will be available on both levels. Mr Watkins said he was being backed in the venture by a Victorian company that wished to remain anonymous.

He said the name of the brewpub, which his partner, former Wig and Pen ''cidergirl'' Tracy Margrain, had come up with, was based on the couple's love of cycling, the presence of riders in Braddon, and his tendency to experiment.

''Really it's all about me making bent beers, I guess, and pushing the boundaries and coming up with different beers and using different ingredients,'' Mr Watkins said. ''I guess that's just what we are, we're the bent spoke of beer.''

He said while it was a pretty exciting time, the couple was also a little nervous about the venture.

''It's taking on a fairly big deal and it's going to be the rest of our lives, so we're pretty excited and keen and I suppose there's a hint of nervousness there about it,'' Mr Watkins said.

''But generally I've been brewing beer now for 17 years so hopefully I've got a bit of a handle on what I'm meant to do.''

He hoped BentSpoke Brewing Company would be open by March next year.

Mr Watkins will remain at the Wig and Pen for another eight weeks training the next master brewer.

On completion of construction, Habitat will be the base of a number of commercial tenants and the residents of 42 apartments.

The master brewer is hoping a few of them will be partial to a cold beer.

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