What a great surprise.
So we decided to spend a couple of days in Nelsons Bay as we edge closer to Sydney on our coastal tour of Australia.
Whilst driving we were just discussing things we would like to improve at FatBelly when out of the blue Pam noticed a brewery sign, naturally I turned around and we pulled into the carpark of Murrays brewery, I noticed immediately they were the brewer of a beer I was drinking whilst on a picnic in Coffs Harbour and had actually added a nice sunset picture of on Instagram.
Further Instagram details from our Aussie trip can be seen by clicking here
First impression on entry is the feeling of youth that this brewery betrays, from the start with wooden slat walls and rough spray paint, there is a real buzz to this place.
Entry is through a souvenir shop which sells crates of Beer, T shirts and many other supper funky bits and bobs, at the far end of the shop is a food serving hatch that you can see a huge amount of dishes flowing out of.
Through the door into the courtyard is where I'm at, a converted shipping container serving a large range of Craft Beers which are brewed right there on site and poured through a super funky craft beer tap made using commercial steel pipework, they also offer the service I seen so much in New York where you can purchase a growler and fill it with your favourite draught beer to enjoy at home, massive fan of this way to sell beer for many reasons but perhaps the largest is the environmental, people who live within the area can pop back and have their 2 litre growler refilled on the way home from work instead of purchasing from a bottle shop where the bottles will be put through a recycling system which in itself isn't good for the planet or worse still placed in the bin and never to be seen again.
I know this system has started to come in at several London breweries but is it something that could work at home in North Devon ?
Whilst ordering a half of Angry Man I noticed a sign stating a brewery tour would start at 2.15, hang on a minute its 2 now, maybe !
Of course the whole family would go on the tour, an absolute bargain at $5 per person with the added bonus of the kids going for free.
After a quick change of shoes we was lead over to the brewery ready for our tour to begin.
A very knowledgable tour guide took us around the brewery explaining how Murrays beer is brewed and showing us various equipment, the brewery was much smaller than I thought it would be, roughly 15BBL, but it is a very lovely setup with modern stainless steel throughout and unlike most British breweries utilised a lauder tun and also a whirlpool.
I defiantly felt a real passion for quality beer from the whole team.
The bottling line and kegging plant being the end of the tour.
It was a pleasure to visit this Brewery and for me they represent everything good within the Craft Beer industry, I simply love what the Australians are doing here and I do hope that they get credit for being master brewers in years to come as their beer is as good as their approach.
Something I do envy is the Artistic flair that is shown in Oz, the use of Graffiti in such a positive way and the imperfections within the designs that give pump clips, and bottle designs such a Craft feel, Im sure this has hit the larger UK cities but I do hope it spreads throughout the whole Industry.
I always wonder whether the smaller breweries who predominantly brew Ale don't feel they can be that off centred with their Artwork as they are trying to conform and respect the traditional styles.
For me as much as I hope Real Ale stays protected within Camras ( campaign for real ale) and UK traditionalist beer drinkers arms, I would also love to see an emergence of this new age beer from the States and now Australia hit our bars as soon as possible.
The variety is just unquestionably a fantastic thing which brings with it so much fun, conversation and youth.
Its not unusual to see a bar with 20 beers on here and of course being a Keg product this is very much sustainable.
Its also fantastic to see the support that Murrays and other similar breweries has within the Tourist Industry, during our visit several coaches pulled into the car park and dropped visitors right outside the door to try their lovely Beers, last time I saw enthusiasm like this was a very snowy Sunday afternoon outside a certain Brooklyn Brewery last January.
Keep up the fantastic work Murrays, your brewers and artists.
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