When it comes to award winning pubs, beers, coffees and food, you don’t need to travel too far in Ipswich to find one.
The city is lucky to not only claim its own coffee blend, and beers, but also some of Australia’s best clubs and pubs. In the end, its you the customer that’s the winner.
I visited some of our best, most awarded venues and found out that some of our eateries, cafes and breweries have received attention from all over the world!
The PA Hotel – Australia’s Best Pub
Over the last few years, the ‘PA’ in Booval has undergone a massive change.
Consisting of three different areas including Plantations, Tap’d and Char’d, the pub has twice won the most coveted award in hospitality. For two years running the PA was recognised as the Best Regional Pub in Australia.
Manager Peter Coultas and the man behind the 72 beers and ciders on tap at all times, Tim Rule, believe that it is a reflection of how well the pub has strived to offer something different. Between them Peter and Tim have over two decades service at the venue.
Owned since 1987 by Johnson Family who have a long history in hospitality in Ipswich, the pub offers gaming, great food, a sports bar, and more beers than you can name.
“Winning the Best Hotel award was a big surprise for us, and absolutely fantastic,” said Manager Peter Coultas. “Tap’d put us on the map not just for craft beers, but also a whole experience for all tastes in quality food and drinks. I’ve seen the evolution of beverages, and the focus on dining, people really want new things.”
“We have the most (72) taps in the southern hemisphere,” Tim said.
“We’ve had people travel from England to visit us on the recommendations of some local friend and the idea for this big range all came about from a trip by the owner who went to a bar in the US with 180 taps! We were even the first hotel to put a coffee shop in a hotel.”
“Tap’d is rewriting what a traditional hotel bar is in Queensland, and it has won awards on its own. Times are changing and the judges recognise that. You have to look at your range and offer something different, because they too are evolving.”
The PA Hotel is at 170 Brisbane Road, Booval where you’ll see all the awards listed on the door as you walk in!
Pumpyard – Award Winning Drinks
Beer has been brewed in the heart of Ipswich since the early 1900s, and when it comes to the heart of beer in the city, The Pumpyard Bar and Brewery is the place to go.
When you have a meal at Pumpyard its impossible to not see all the certificates on the wall for their beer. Brewed on site, you can’t miss the smell of yeast and hops in the air when sitting down for a meal from their American chef, or sampling a beer made by a man who learned his craft in Germany, giving The Pumpyard a truly international flavour.
“The passion, the love, using the best ingredients, that’s what makes the best beer,” said brewer Ken Friend. “People want quality and something different.”
On the menu at the bar you’ll find one of the first beers that is still popular today, and that’s the Ipswich Challenger beer which is a big hit with people for that after work drink.
“All our beers are synonymous with Ipswich, using our heritage, including beers like our Bremer Brown (named after the Bremer River), or our Limestone Pale Ale (named after Limestone Street).
“Right now, we’re even working on our own alcoholic ginger beer, so watch this space!” Ken said. “if you want something different try our Smoked Marzen which has a bacon taste to it. Everyone knows it as ‘The Bacon Beer’.”
“It’s great to have your beers judged alongside the big names, it’s a good benchmark, putting your skills against other brewers,” Ken added. “It gives you great inspiration to know that what we are doing is right and spurs you on to get better at what you do, making something that everyone loves.”
The Pumpyard offers locally brewed beers and a big menu.
“Finding the right chef is the trick,” said Manager Josh Lampard. “He’s very innovative, and has cooked for many celebrities in the US, he really believes in comfort food.”
The Pumpyard is at 88 Limestone Street, Ipswich.
CSI Ipswich – Best RSL in Queensland
CSI Ipswich received an award from Clubs Queensland for two years running in the category of Best RSL in Queensland in 2018 and 2019.
“If we can get three in a row, we go into the Hall of Fame which would be amazing,” said Marketing Manager Laura Rojek
“CSI Ipswich has undergone renovations over the last five or so years under the current management and we are constantly looking to improve things for our customers so that we can live up to those awards.
“We have stuck to many of our traditional items on our menu, but we’ve also added healthier and popular items. Today we can do an entire gluten free menu along with many other dietary options, it’s important to cater for everyone, along with vegetarian options for example.”
Laura believes the success of the club is that it still has a community feel to it, and being centralised in the heart of Ipswich, they take pride in what we do.
“We appeal to a diverse range of customers and having that RSL connection gets respect from the community. The club is here for the long haul!”
The club includes a sports bar, a huge bistro, live entertainment and a gaming room, and is located right next door to Riverlink Shopping Centre, which makes it a perfect spot for visitors.
CSI Ipswich is at 5 Lowry Street, North Ipswich.
Dancing Bean – Ipswich’s Most Awarded Coffee
When Dancing Bean opened a café in the Ipswich CBD roasting their own beans on site made sense. Today the roasting business has got so popular that café’s all over the city are stocking the Ipswich Blend for the thirsty masses.
“We have currently over 30 cafes, schools, and gyms that all carry the Dancing Bean Ipswich Blend and it just keeps expanding,” said café owner Tenaya Mahony. “We have lots of big things coming to the area, we have lots of people who come here just to buy the beans. Our Costa Rica, our Peru blends, all come from those countries, it’s not just a name.”
“Our roaster and barista Naoyuki Kitajima have been here since day one, and it’s his passion, his love of coffee that has made this business what it is today.”
The Ipswich Blend was entered by Naoyuki in the international Golden Bean awards, and he received in the mail a few weeks later one silver and two bronze awards for his unique blend. Nao (as he likes to be called) takes on average a month to come up with a new blend, but it his Ipswich Blend that has got him the most attention.
“We have all our awards on display in the café, we are very proud of our coffee,” Tenaya added. “We finished top of the list for Ipswich’s Best Coffee which was voted by the coffee drinkers across in a best of poll by the local paper.
“It was good to be up there with many bigger brands from all over the world.
“Our coffee is yum, it’s always fresh, has love put into it and that’s what people keep coming back for.”
Dancing Bean is at 164 Brisbane Street in the Top of Town Shopping Precinct
Ballistic Brewing – Award Winning Beers
There’s a good reason why people from all over to try the beers on offer at Ballistic Brewery Bar and Kitchen Springfield, and it’s not only because the beers are all brewed on site.
The original Salisbury venue has won 31 awards (and counting) over the last two years alone, giving Ballistic Brewing a reputation for doing things you don’t expect.
“(The Springfield) location was about what we could add to this community,” said Manager Matt Gray.
“We wanted to bring good beer to Springfield, rather than having to stick to the norm.”
“We make a Springfield Pilsner which we sell on tap, which is our local beer of choice. It’s important we have the ability to brew beer in our venue.
“Our Springfield beer sells very well, come and try it! I love the people I work with and the passion we have for what we offer our customers.”
Not only can you try a range of craft beers, but from time to time you may find something a bit different such as beers with hints of blueberry, coffee, pineapple or chilli. The range of beers on offer is constantly changing and are only limited by your imagination.
“The last few years has seen a huge growth in craft beers, and all of a sudden you were finding tastes like honey, mango, macadamia…. beer is like food; you socialise with a beer. People today don’t want to drink what their parents drank, and every day consumers are looking for something different.”
One of the most popular beers is Hawaiian Haze which draws people to the brewery looking for something different on a hot day.
“One of the most surprising beers we made was a Mexican Hot Chilli Stout,” Matt said.
Ballistic Springfield is at 37 Sinnathamby Blvd, Springfield Central