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Rick Besserdin » Breweries, Dining, Featured » Pushing The Barrow – An Interview with Dean Romeo from Barrow Boys Brewing

Pushing The Barrow – An Interview with Dean Romeo from Barrow Boys Brewing

Dean Romeo Barrow Boys Spruiker

Quality and substance are needed for a long term future in the beer industry, according to Dean Romeo from Barrow Boys Brewing.

Dean spent an hour or so with me, discussing the liquor industry, craft beer, Barrows Boys and their forthcoming beer dinner at the Astor in Carlton.

Dean started working in the alcohol industry at a winery, before landing a hospitality job at the Little Creatures cellar door, in Fremantle. It was an enjoyable job that involved being a conduit between customers, brewers and the brewery. He moved to Victoria in association with the opening of the new Geelong Little Creatures brewery, but left to join Justin and Ash, at Barrow Boys, a few months after they got started.

Beer Dinner

The Astor is very creative with their food, and is dedicated to quality, according to Dean. Coupled with a relaxed atmosphere, it seemed to be the ideal setting for their first ever beer dinner. Which is why they are pretty excited about the one they will be hosting in The Roving Marrow dining room, at The Astor on 17 May.

“People just want to be more connected” with their food and drink, says Dean. So this dinner focuses on that theme by getting the food to match the brewing process. Charles, Head Chef at The Roving Marrow, is the genius behind matching five dishes to five brewing steps, from the Raw & Crisp entrée through to the Filtered & Refined desert. The dishes will be matched by the complete series of Barrows Boys beers, from their first up until the not-yet-released Black Porter Pilot Series.


The fact that it has taken a couple of years to brew enough beers for a dinner is an indication of the Barrow Boys philosophy. Dean admitted that they are “conscious of doing things slowly and thoughtfully.” He believes that in the long run, “quality and substance will prevail.” This is why they are trying to grow the business gradually and organically, and always with an emphasis on quality and flavour.

Venue Training

Training hospitality staff is a very important part of Dean’s job. Bar and wait staff are at the coalface of the hospitality business, they deal directly with the customer and can therefore make a huge different to customer perception and appreciation of beer. Unfortunately, it is also a very transient, with staff often shifting around. This means that Dean has to to carry out staff training sessions at regular intervals.

Good Beer Week

Barrow Boys will be involved with about ten events around Good Beer Week (GBW), which is sure to keep them all quite busy. To help out, they have just hired a new Barrow Boy, Nick Brown who started with them on Monday, (2 May). In addition to helping with Good Beer Week events, Nick’s task will be to grow off-premise sales.

The Great Australian Beer Spectacular (GABS) is one of the events they will be attending. This year they will have their own stand, so come and say hello if you are going. All the GBW events are shown on the Barrow Boys blog. Click here to have a look and see which events you might like to attend.

The Future

The future of Barrow Boys as a gypsy brewery looks like it is coming to a close. Currently their beers are being brewed out at the excellent Australian Brewers Guild (Hawkers) facility in Reservoir. Options are now being considered for putting down permanent roots at their own facility in the near future. But it seems that we will have to wait until decisions are made and details are finalised before we hear any more about that.

Dean confessed that being in the beer industry is more a “labour of love” than simply a means to earn money. I’m sure you will agree that while there are certainly easier ways to get paid, but few are as enjoyable.

If you want more information the press release for the dinner at the Astor is below or you can check out the Barrow Boys website at

Barrow Boys Take Over The Taps At The Astor In Celebration Of Good Beer Week

Iconic Carlton pub The Astor is joining forces with Barrow Boys, Melbourne’s very own gypsy brewers, for Good Beer Week taking place 13 – 22 May. Sharing a love of Melbourne, craftsmanship and more importantly, beer, the two have come together to create the ultimate ‘harvest to ferment’ bar and dining experience.

To kick off the collaboration, The Astor will be serving six varieties of Barrow Boys’ unique brews on its front taps across the week, including Festival Beer, Stormy Lager, Red Sky Wheat Dunkelweizen, Pedlars Pale, India Amber Ale and Black Ink Porter. Barrow Boy founders, Ash Hazell, Justin Trail and Dean Michael Romeo, rove around different brew houses in Melbourne creating beer with a focus on quality, flavour and consistency – it is this continually evolving approach that appealed most to The Astor.

With Good Beer Week aimed to encourage the appreciation of craft beer, The Astor’s award winning dining room, The Roving Marrow, will also be holding a ‘Harvest to Ferment’ five course beer-matched dinner on Tuesday 17 May, showcasing the best of Melbourne’s seasonal produce.

Diners will be invited to experience The Roving Marrow’s contemporary and thought provoking food in another light, with dishes inspired by the process of harvesting raw materials and brewing beer paired with Barrow Boys’ core and pilot beers.

Since opening in June 2015, The Roving Marrow at The Astor has continued to deliver unique dining experiences, breaking down the formality of fine dining and bringing the fun back to food. To join in on the Barrow Boys action visit 418 Lygon Street, Carlton. Bookings are essential, call (03) 9347 7419 or visit

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Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

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