Fact: Over the past half-decade, millions of Australians have switched their choice of beer from mainstream brands to boutique brews. And despite beer consumption showing a fall per capita over the past 12 months, craft beer sales have in fact increased. According to one industry report, Australian craft breweries are generating over $500 million a year in revenue, growing at 10 percent per annum. And that’s great news for venues honing in on the craft of brewing on premises.
Recently opened in the heart of Northbridge, the hub of Perth’s dining scene, Cyril Masons Bespoke Beer Ristorante is doing its bit to keep the craft beer trend on a roll. And for those only now making the switch to craft – Cyril’s ensures the experience is accessible, affordable and enjoyable.
While the venue is adamant about sticking to its Italian influences in signage (it’s ‘ristorante’), decor (Neapolitan hues of pinks, greys and white) and food (all very good Italian), its extensive list of homebrewed beers does away with unpronounceable names while still giving a nod to the European masters.
There are pilseners and wheat beers and pale ales, but also a motley lot of multicultural-inspired brews including a Belgian Rye, Berliner Weisse, and Oaked Baltic Porter.
What Cyril’s do brilliantly is blend the pastime of beer drinking with the pleasure of Italian dining, that is fine fresh food presented simply and enjoyed the casual way.
Try one truffle cream and parmigiano croquette between sips of your Belgian Blonde, and it’s impossible to stop. These morsels are so delicious, I’d eat them like popcorn if I weren’t out in public. In fact, anything on Cyril’s antipasti menu goes well with their quality beers. And we tried plenty.
Over an antipasto plate of salamis, hams, fine cheeses and focaccia, a Saison (6.0%) goes perfectly. Like the food, and as mentioned on the menu, this pale, fruity and spicy beer is ‘New World flavour with Old World heritage’.
For the more ardent carnivores, the olives stuffed with slow-cooked lamb, then crumbed and fried, are a match made in heaven for the Belgian Rye (5.2%) whose flavour swirls from tropical to bitter, dancing on your taste buds like the flavours of the food itself.
Or enjoy a slice of the Polpette alla Tartufo – pork meatballs with truffle infused pecorino and mozzarella, which swings both ways with either a pinot noir or a pilsener.
Vegetarians might like to try the wild mushroom pizza, topped with thyme and taleggio sauce on a creamy base, and blissfully paired with a slightly sweeter beer like the Citra Pale Ale (4.7%).
If you’re a strict beer connoisseur, and don’t like richer foods getting in the way of your drink’s flavour, you could stick to a simpler pizza like the ‘Rita’ – short for ‘Margherita’ but big on maintaining that the beer is the main star.
To round off a flavoursome meal, my guest and I had to try Cyril’s home-made apple cider which, for someone who doesn’t drink ciders often, went down a treat, and rounded out our casual degustation experience nicely.
Because Cyril’s beers are brewed on site in small batches, using only natural ingredients, every glass poured is fresh, unpasteurised and, like the fine print reads on the menu “contains no preservative crap”.
Veteran brewers Dan and Geoff Goddard, previously of Fremantle’s Blacksalt Brewery fame, create just six kegs at a time of their very unique stuff. And you can taste that uniqueness in every sip.
So, the news is that locally and lovingly crafted beer is currently on the rise? I’ll drink to that! Antonino Tati
Cyril Masons Bespoke Beer Ristorante is situated at William Street, Northbridge.
Open for dinner and drinks Sunday to Thursday, 5pm to 12am, and for lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday, 12pm to 12am.
General pricing: entrees around $10, mains around $20, beers from $4 for a small glass, $8-9.50 for a large glass.
Bookings and enquiries on (08) 9328 9941.