There are no shortages of drinking holes at Airlie Beach. It once was known as a backpackers town afterall. However, if you’re past hostel-life, then you’ll love all the chic new alfresco dining options popping up around town. Denman Cellars opened in early 2012 and is both a bottleshop and a restaurant, overlooking the Airlie Beach Marina. It has become the go-to spot for locals and visitors looking to unwind over beer and tapas.

Airlie Beach Marina, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

You’ll love the wide variety of Australian and imported beers and ciders. There are over 1000 on the menu with approximately 800 of them in stock and available for immediate consumption in-store. The other 200 or so can be ordered in upon request. Staff are utmost knowledgeable so take the time so wander around and ask for recommendations.

Over 1000 beers, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Beer fridge, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

We try Erdinger’s limited edition Oktoberfest brew from Bavaria, which is medium-bodied with a slight hint of banana, and Matso’s mango beer, from Broome in Western Australia, one of their best sellers. The mango beer is perfect for me, it’s easy to drink, has a luscious aroma and is well balanced between the sweet and dryness.

Matso mango beer, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Limited edition Oktoberfest beer, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Originally just a bottle shop in Canberra, the beer cafe concept was dreamed up by owners Ben and Sarah Hayman, who basically designed the restaurant for themselves – a place to drink, hang out with friends and share some fine food.

Cured meats platter, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Platters range from $10 for a selection of dips to $55 for a seafood platter. Our charcuterie board ($29) features jamon serrano, two types of salami, prosciutto, cornichons, pate, mustard and some fresh rocket with balsamic. Assembled on a large wooden board, the spread of cured meats are enjoyable, although I’d exchange the mini cob loaf for a good sourdough as I feel like it needs something with more bite.

Patata bravas, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Tapas are categorised into vegetarian, from the sea, and from the land which makes ordering easy. I’m very fond of patatas bravas ($7) , a staple tapas dish made of crispy potatoes and spicy tomato sauce; these definitely hit the spot. The potatoes are perfectly crunchy and moreish and the sauce contains just the right amount of fiery.

Zucchini fritters, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

The zucchini balls ($9) are delicious also. The fritters are robust in flavour and paired beautifully with a garlic and dill yoghurt dressing.

For curiousity’s sake, we try the meatballs in cherry beer ($9.50). Hand rolled meatballs are pan fried then deglazed with cherry Lambric beer and served in a Spanish tomato sauce. The floral fragrance of cherry is faint but present. The meatballs are much firmer that what I was expecting, although they’re still comforting to devour.

Meatballs with cherry beer sauce, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Denman Cellars is a great opportunity to try those hard to source beers. One worth checking out is Chimay Triple, a Trappist beer. Only eight breweries worldwide have this stamp. Trappist beer must be made in a Trappist monastery and the beer is sold only for financial support of the monastery and good causes.

Staying on my fruity path, I ask about a cherry beer and am recommended Floris Kriek which is made with Marachino cherries by Brouwerij Huydhe brewery in Belgium. It’s slightly cloudy and has a bold, sweet but almost-medicinal cherry taste. It’s probably one you’ll either love or hate – for the record, I love it!

Chimay beer, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Cherry beer, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Prawns, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

The last of our savoury tapas are kataifi prawns ($7). The crunch is great, and the prawns are perfectly cooked. The three perfect circles of wasabi mayonnaise lifts the presentation from something quite hearty to a molecular gastronomy league, but the scattered seaweed salad and the surrounding squiggle of a green sauce takes it one garnish too far.

Cheesecake, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

Dessert is a Kahlua infused cheesecake ($9) and a cider apple crumble ($9). The Kahlua liqueur adds a delicate note to the cheesecake and is not at all overpowering. The apple crumble is even better; the cider stewed apple is divine and the crumble topping is deliciously nutty with chunky bits of roasted pecans and pistachios stirred through the cinnamon mixture.

Apple crumble, Denman Cellars Beer Cafe, Airlie Beach

With a gem like Denman Cellars Beer Cafe at The Whitsundays, I don’t think I’d miss city living! In fact, the other states are certainly missing out!

Denman Cellars
Shop G15, 33 Port Drive, The Port of Airlie, Airlie Beach, Queensland
Phone: (07) 4948 1333
Web: facebook.com/DenmanCellers

Open from 11am Monday – Friday and from 8am on the weekends

Denman Cellars Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon

For further information, visit tourismwhitsundays.com.au

I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Denman Cellars with thanks to Whitsundays Marketing and Development

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.