A little taste of heaven


Living opposite the York Beer Shop could be a mixed blessing.  Handy on a wet cold nights, when guests dropped  in or supplies were running low but oh so tempting to visit and peruse the specialist beers, wines, cheese and ice cream  on offer  when not necessary.    The owners sourced produce from small holdings and breweries in the area.  Although a little more expensive than regular shops  it was well worth the extra cash. 

At least twice a week I would find an excuse to visit the shop, spending on average  45 minutes a time pouring over new stock and discussing its’ merits  with the enthusiastic proprietors.  In four years of frequenting the shop  I discovered such delights as  Bishops Finger, Speckled Hen, Brewers Droop, Organic Wine (no chemicals and hardly a trace of a hangover  the next day), Fruit wine (14% proof and lethal), home-made vanilla ice cream, walnut and chive cheese and many other tasty treats.    But the best discovery of all was chilli beer.   A light ale bottled  with a whole red chilli floating in the amber liquid that imbued it’s heat into the beer  as it waited to be purchased.    The concoction was best drunk chilled so that the cold hit the back of the throat before sliding down to the stomach where the heat of the chilli rose from the chest upwards into the throat and mouth.  It was an amazing sensation and my housemates and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Since I’ve been travelling and lived in various countries I’ve never found anything that has quite matched up to that little shop.  Then I came to Melbourne.  Yarraville is a suburb on the Western side of the City.  It has a village feel to it as shops are spread out over a number of streets rather than being located on one long parade as many of the other inner suburbs.    Not quite gentrified yet and still a little grungy one can hear conversations ranging from crystal healing to retribution.  To moot a point, the local hells angels frequent the run down local on a Saturday and Gospel can be heard coming from the high class wine bar opposite.  Restaurants to pick from include Cambodian, Italian, Greek, Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian.  There are grocers, butchers, bakers,  a local supermarket, clothes and jewellery shops,  charity shops, numerous coffee shops and two wine shops.   It even has it’s own Retro cinema where one can purchase a bottle of wine and enjoy a drink it whilst watching the latest movie. 

Yesterday  I visited one of the wine shops, which has recently been revamped, and to my joy found specialist wine and beer stocking the shelves where clear skins used to reside.  After perusing labels such as beaston’s best, winehugger, medusa, shady lady and chatting for some time with the owners I purchased two bottles of Chocolate stout.  “A dark beer with hints of chocolate and vanilla……….and a complex array of other flavours ”.  It was absolutely amazing.   

I’ve found my York equivalent of nirvana and only a 5 minute walk away from home.

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