James Squire, arguably Australia’s first brewer, is as much a part of the nation’s history as the country’s infamous bushrangers, making the former Wheelers Hill Hotel – the site of a fierce battle between the former publican and three wayward bandits in 1900 – the perfect spot to open James Squire’s ninth brewhouse.
The Rogue Squire, which will officially open its doors to the public on Thursday 6 September 2018, will be located at the intersection of Ferntree Gully Road and Jells Road in Wheelers Hill, 25 kilometres
south-east of Melbourne’s CBD.
The former post office became a hotel in 1857 and changed hands a number of times before Fred Gessner walked through the doors to become the hotel’s publican in 1891. He became a local celebrity
after fending off an attempted robbery 118 years ago.
The story goes that after gunfire between the parties, Gessner jumped on his horse to chase down the bushrangers, stopping at the local blacksmith to seek assistance. Unfortunately, his attempts to find the
fugitives were futile but the story became a local legend, which is still told over a beer today.
James Squire has restored this watering hole to its former glory, including the upper level which has been revamped with a restaurant and casual dining space, spilling out to a large terrace overlooking the Dandenong Ranges.
Inside the venue, layers have been stripped back to reveal original brickwork and floors which complement the introduction of copper, timber and black metal to provide a lively contrast and nod to the passions of the legendary brewer.
The all new Rogue Squire will also pay homage to the growing appreciation of quality craft beers and demand for great, flavoursome food. The full James Squire range of beers will be available on tap,
including favourites such as One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale, Hop Thief 9 American Pale Ale, and the Jack of Spades Porter, as well as various limited edition brews including Malt Shovel Brewers – The Interceptor Black IPA and James Squire’s history making brew The Wreck Preservation Ale, crafted from yeast resurrected from a 220 year old bottle of shipwrecked beer.
Head Chef Darren McKinlay will take the reins at The Rogue Squire, with a menu inspired by the diversity of cuisine in Australia, which he says has let the shackles off to be more daring with food without losing its integrity.
“Our food mantra is be honest, keep it fresh and don’t overcomplicate things. We will showcase a wonderful array of flavours and ingredients, many of which are locally sourced, to create the perfect menu to accompany the James Squire beer range.”
“The Swindler Tropical Pale Ale Battered Fish and Chips with salt and vinegar seasoning is bound to be a crowd pleaser, along with our famous steaks and beer fodder grazing plates,” McKinlay said.
The new venue is looking to hire and train over 50 staff from the local area with recruitment well underway. The Rogue Squire is operated by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.