In February our beloved brewery cat Blackie was hit by a car. Within a couple of hours we’d received a message from Glenn Smith aka Glenno. Unprompted, he had produced a faithful rendering of Blackie and posted it to Instagram saying, “This is a portrait of Blackie...a much loved cat that always smooched about people down at Young Henrys brewery. I don't know how she died, but it sucks and drawing this cheered me up. I'm lucky I can draw my way to better thoughts.” (Of course we agreed such a thoughtful tribute deserved pride of place on a t-shirt for the staff to remember her by.)
This is fairly typical behaviour of Glenno. The artist/musician/beer lover has been a part of the Young Henrys family since the very early days. Along with curating numerous exhibitions, he's behind many of the t-shirt designs immortalising some of our most treasured characters - the gents and ladies of Old Fashioned Love, the Beer Wizard, the Hops Man (and of course Blackie). We chatted, fittingly over ‘The Black Cat’ black rice ale, about art and music, and life and death, about cats with necrotic tails and how drawing is like “accidental yoga”…
On a scale of wheat to chaff, it’s clear which end The Golden Barley sits on. The exterior is a Tooth & Co stunner from 1939, and tucked away behind it is one of the best beer gardens of the Inner West. We met up with publican Penny Hewlett, who runs the GB with her husband Andie, and chatted about what it’s like to actually live at the pub (rather than it just seeming like you live at the pub). When we asked about noise she said, “If I can’t hear anything I’m more worried because there aren’t enough people having a good time.” Instant legend status.
These sweet yellow tins started their life on the sketchpad of Lee McConnell. He’s the artist behind all of the album art for Dune Rats’ The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit - 12 in total, one of which features Dunies Lager. It’s a homage to the classic Australian lager tins of old, and it's now become Young Henrys Dunies Lager IRL. It’s art imitating life or life imitating art, or maybe it's beer imitating art imitating beer…Who knows. It's thirst quenching whatever it is.
We caught up with the man behind the art...Lee’s from up the coast at Forster, but these days he kicks it in Freshwater Sydney and Monday through Friday you’ll find him designing for Mambo. Makes sense then that his art feels so coastal. If you held it up to your ear you’d probably hear the ocean. We chatted to Lee about life and art and dream collabs...
Had a beer in Brisbane lately? It’s going off like a cane toad in a sock. Rattle off a list of the game-changers and chances are you’re name-checking one of the venues Jamie Webb has a hand in—Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Sonny’s House of Blues, Seymour’s Cocktails & Oysters, Hope & Anchor—in terms of venue styles, he’s almost gathered the full set.
Webb cut his hospo chops in NYC, working in bars on the weekend to round out a nine-to-five in the music business. After coming back to Australia, he ran venues in Sydney but took a hit from the GFC, and landed back in hometown Brisbane. Thank the gods of Brissie nightlife he did...
Picture a map of Australia, with each city portrayed by its best known musical export. Sydney and Melbourne would be overrun, but head out of the big smoke and things would get interesting. If the Big Prawn could turn it’s beady eyes inland it might lock gaze with the Big Phil Jamieson, and no Sunny Coast road trip would be complete without a stop at the Big Pineapple, 100 clicks north of the Big Robert Forster. And Newcastle, surely, would be repped by an oversized silver chair.
Which is a roundabout way of saying it seems only fitting that ex-Silverchair bassist and Newie ex-pat, Chris Joannou would return and again add to the cultural fabric of his hometown. In 2014 he teamed up with Chris Johnson to convert Joannou’s parents’ drive-through dry cleaners into a buzzing venue. The Edwards tips its hat to its past life, with vintage laundry equipment now repurposed as beer fonts and light shades, as well as a functioning coin-op laundry. Which must make it one of the rare places you can go for a session on the froths and go home cleaner and fresher than you set out. Plus no trip to the Eddies should be complete without a visit to its vinyl shop, run by the legendary Chris Dunn of Waterfront Records.
We’ve been loving what The Edwards have been doing in Newcastle West,