Deeds Taproom review

Barrels link the come-and-dine side with the we-make-beer side.
Barrels link the come-and-dine side with the we-make-beer side. Photo: Eddie Jim

4 Paran Pl Glen Iris, VIC 3146

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Opening hours Wed-Fri 5.30pm-11pm, Sat-Sun noon-11pm
Features Licensed, Bar, Groups, Events, Accepts bookings
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 1300 673 362

We all love a reveal, don't we? Walking down a dead-end lane on an icy night, turning down a partitioned gangway, there's no sense of what you'll see when you spill into Deeds. But there it is: epic.

On the right, the brewery, with tanks, barrels, pipes and promise. To the left, the taproom with its 28-tap bar drawing from that same steel and timber. There's also a cosy mezzanine with a 20-seat function room, and a dining floor at the rear.

It's an enticing, immersive mix of industrial clang and glossy modern, with barrel motifs linking the come-and-dine side with the we-make-beer side. It's an exciting welcome to an excellent venue.

Deeds Taproom boasts a 28-tap bar.
Deeds Taproom boasts a 28-tap bar. Photo: Eddie Jim

Owners Pat Alé and Dave Milstein met at uni, beer connoisseurs with a sideline in studying engineering. They launched Quiet Deeds brewery in 2012; when they found this site in 2015, they ditched the "quiet".

But it took seven years of planning stoushes and COVID slumps to fulfil the vision on this huge patch, variously a timber yard, factory, truck cleaning depot and most recently a dilapidated car workshop.

Cheers to their determination. Deeds is an endlessly creative operation with five year-round brews augmented by two new beers a week, including some that are only available on-site.

The signature burger is a fine example of the genre.
The signature burger is a fine example of the genre. Photo: Eddie Jim

Notable drops include a zero-alcohol tropical IPA that has surprising body for a teetotalling ale. An ageing program sees some potions macerated with fruit; there's also stout matured in bourbon barrels and flavoured with habanero chilli. In short, there's always a new liquid lure.

The food is good, too, a mix of nibbly ballast, pub classics and dishes that signal semi-serious intentions. Beer byproducts are used throughout.

Carefully chosen beef cuts – bolar blade, knuckle, tallow – are ground to make the juicy patty for the signature burger. Also oozing from the milk bun, a house-made melty cheese slice with malt extract, plus mortadella for extra richness and fried onion for crunchy sweetness. It's a fine example of the burger genre.

Buttermilk fried chicken with spicy sauce.
Buttermilk fried chicken with spicy sauce. Photo: Eddie Jim

Fried chicken is twice-dredged and buttermilk-soaked, sizzled to a hot crisp and served with very spicy sauce – birdseye, cayenne and smoked paprika all bringing the noise.

Ale glaze is brushed over wagyu, available in larger format for sharing.

Substantial veg dishes include charred zucchini with herbed eggplant and hazelnut.

Whisky-stewed apples with shortbread crumble, thyme oil and black pepper ice-cream.
Whisky-stewed apples with shortbread crumble, thyme oil and black pepper ice-cream. Photo: Eddie Jim

English sous chef Harry Taylor came up with an apple dessert to help with homesick pangs. He stews Golden Delicious and Royal Gala apples in whisky and spices, scatters them with shortbread crumble, drizzles over thyme oil and adds a scoop of black pepper ice-cream. It's a fine sweet-savoury finish.

There's QR-code ordering on the tables, but keen, friendly staff – stretched as they are – will do their best to look after you, too.

With easy public transport and parking on site, Deeds is a boon for an area that is – how do we say this? – not quite overrun with cool destinations.

Alé and Milstein aren't just Deeds, they're also doing good deeds for the east.