Not long after the first difficult days of self-isolation started kicking in, Old Paradian Tim Watson (1998) and his mate Rich Arnott thought it an opportune time to break the boredom and taste-test the wares of a newly-opened brewery in Diamond Creek.

Little did they realise the chain of events this simple act would trigger.

“Rich dropped off four beers, unannounced, from the Golden Hills Brewery on the day it opened. I was pretty happy with the surprise delivery and thought I’d reciprocate the following weekend,” Tim recently recalled.

“Not long after, I messaged Rich and floated the idea of 2 Men and their ISO-Beers on facebook. The basic thought was that each week we would take it in turns to buy four different beers - if possible from local brewers or suppliers - to review. We then hoped others might try the same beers and offer their thoughts or just review whatever they were drinking.”

In the days and weeks since 2 Men and their ISO-Beers became an online phenomenon, the pair have sampled close to 40 different brews – some self-supplied, others gifted by friends and acquaintances.

Just recently, one of Tim’s old classmates Daniel Moriarty came armed with product from Camati Food and Beverage and Burnley Brewing , and to quote Tim: “I can honestly say their beers are our favourites”.

“Their Helles German-style lager is our pick, though the Kangabrew (courtesy Rare Bird Brewing in Hurstbridge made with real Kangaroo meat) was also really nice and something I’d never tried before,” said Tim.

“I also hadn’t drunk stouts or sour beers and they have easily been the biggest surprise . . . I was very sceptical about sour beers but I love them!”

More than anything else, the recently-established facebook page has enabled Tim and Rich to stay connected with eachother and their friends old and new “and we’ve now got quite a large amount of members on the page”.

“There have been OPs in Canada who I hadn’t heard from in 15-20 years who have messaged and reviewed. Lots of old Parade mates are members and are contributing to the page, and it’s been great to reconnect with them all.”

Tim, the youngest of four Watson boys all schooled at Parade (and thesedays the Physical Education Coordinator at St. Damian’s Primary School in Bundoora) anticipated that a few more brewers will front up with product to sample “and if any OPs are involved in breweries, I’d love to hear from them”.

Over a glass of Old Bluestone Pale perhaps? “I’ll drink to that,” said Tim, pictured recently at far right in Diamond Creek with (from right to left) his wife Brooke, Jason the barman, Brigid Arnott and her husband Rich – the other half of 2 Men and their ISO-beers.