A QUICK TASTE OF THE SYDNEY CRAFT BEER SCENE
Sun Sea and Sydneys Craft Beer
After spending a lovely morning checking out Sydney City, the Harbour and of course the Sydney Opera House I decided ( and was allowed ) after a swim with the kids it would be a good time for me to slip out of the Hotel and enjoy some of the finer things in life, a solo mission to some of Sydneys bars, with the obvious emphasis on Craft inspired ones.
Being limited on time I decided to keep my search as local as I could to where we was staying at the Seasons Hotel in Darling Harbour.
Just around the corner from our hotel was my first stop
Find further details on the pump house, click here
The Pump House, a brick built bar with a nice 2 tier sun terrace outside for having beers on, my initial thoughts taken from the design is that this place is inspired through the USA, perhaps the designer or owner has traveled there to get a feel for the movement on that side of the World, A pool table and loud music bellowing out of the speakers, this place is perfect for a few speciality beers, also sporting the random graffiti / artwork that Im starting to appreciate so much.
On arriving at the Bar I took a look through the range of Craft beers and did something I immediately questioned myself over, I ordered a Punk IPA, perhaps it was just the excitement of seeing a brewery I hold shares for (all £47of them) as far away as Australia, it caught me off guard and whilst enjoying the Beer which might I add is one of my favourites and was served perfectly, it started me thinking about a few things.
Was it right that there are beers from the UK and the States hogging precious space on a Sydney Craft beer bridge ?
Bloody right they should, absolutely no divide between the movement of different nations is required, the revolution is about a celebration of fantastic flavours throughout the World and as long as there is a decent display of regional beers I think the landlords job is done.
I also wondered about the Global logistics of Punk being there, it was served in what I consider near perfect condition and certainly as good as it possibly can be after what has to be al least 10 weeks travel, not even considering warehouseing time at the Brewery, ports and Aussie Wholesalers, the whole process must of been very well refrigerated.
As a brewer myself and currently in a process of choosing packaging for customers outside of our immediate area, I made an assumption that the Beer must be transported in disposable kegs, a new product for exactly this situation and assisting the industry to simply explode as there is no return trip back to the brewery required, would the sale of been possible without this ?
I’m not aware of Brewdog having beer contract brewed elsewhere and I’m sure if they did I would of noticed in a slightly differing flavour, I also cant imaging them committing new kegs to travel to the other side of the World knowing the chance of a return was pretty low, I absolutely love Global logistics, its just fascinating.
The subject of pros, cons and how this packaging will have a global effect on this industry is a huge one, I think we will defiantly cover it further in another blog, possibly with some further research on board.
Back to the beers
My second beer at The Pumphouse was Thunderbolt Strong Ale
I’m never a fan of advertising with words like “Strong Ale” as I feel it translates to something along the lines of ( we forgot to care about the flavour but this will get you smashed quickly )
Anyway I chose this beer to see if it was the case but thankfully not at all, yes you could taste the alcohol in this beer but its decent, a strong malty character would be a good way to describe it.
Slightly off the subject but the "Strong Ale" thing just jogged my memory back to a video my favourite beer reviewer "Real Ale Craft Beer" did on an extra strong ale, I thought it was hilarious, can be seen by clicking here
If you could move your mind from the fact this beer was served cold and carbonated it could be compared to a Real Ale which many enjoy in Devon called Exmoor Stag.
I do fully understand the problem with wording a bitter or standard ale as there are not many exciting words that will entice you in, I love Bitter and drink it all the time but when you actually think about it its just a really boring drink with really boring flavours, I’m not taking anything away from Thunderbolt as its a decent beer, just the style, I have the same problem describing FatBelly Guzzler.
Ha Ha ok, my next stop was supposed to be a Crafty place called the Bavarian but I just couldn’t find it and as my time was ticking I jumped into what I consider to be an Australian Pub which was named Cheers.
For more details Cheers and a great pub atmosphere, click here
Little sign of anything local I ordered a standard Beer, I’m not going to go into which beer it was because as I’ve previously mentioned in earlier Blogs I’m not doing this to criticise anything, I simply want to highlight and discuss the things I love.
I fully appreciate there is a time and a place for just Beer, although this wasn’t really the time, it certainly was the place.
I sat there for as long as it took me to drink my beer and enjoyed some people watching, Not all Pubs or Landlords share the same interests and the same can be said about the customers, this is the same throughout the Industry and is an interesting subject if studied in detail.
A craft beer pub is still in the minority and us Craft Beer fans are no doubt considered beer snobs maybe even slightly pompous by the average beer drinker, thats fine, really it is, infact its better than fine its great as it offers even further variety, I love this type of pub as much as I do the type of place I spend my life trying to find, Cheers is a real pub.
People laughing singing and being rowdy, this is a place where I truly feel at home, my Mrs would of hated it, for me thats a pretty good sign, We have a smaller version of this in Barnstaple, a town near where I live called “The Corner House’’ everybody loves it there.
Cheers was a great pub for so many reasons, just not Craft Beer.
The Cidery, Cider and Beer brewed by Sydney Brewery
For more details about the Cidery, Click here
The decor here I really liked, pretty dark and a lot of steam punk styling on display in the form of lights, bathroom fittings etc,
At the bar I was delighted to see beers from Sydney Brewery, I was waiting to have a go on some of their beers so it was a welcome sight.
I chose the Pittwater and went back to my table to drink it, looking a bit sad, the lone ranger parked at the end of quite a large table.
A guitarist held court, taking shout outs, I love music so this was fantastic, this place has a really mellow feel to it.
I would love to describe the beer but I think that perhaps there was just a little of the Thunderbolt starting to kick in, all my notes actually say is “very nice beer” , Im not somebody with any self control whatsoever but I am old enough and ugly enough to know to stop when on holiday, especially as I had a diner date with the family, You might of also done your maths at this point and realised that there was more than one Cheers at Cheers.
( to be sure I went back before we left, the beers were just fantastic )
Im going to hop on a couple days ( see what I did there )
Its the last day and as far as seeing the sights goes we well and truly lost momentum, thankfully for me and with thanks to wetherspoons my kids love Pubs, so on Pams recommendation we again re-entered the Craft beer Arena, this time in a slightly swankier location at the Chinese Gardens, Darling Harbour.
Feral Brewing Company
For more details on Feral brewing click here
Here I would find a barman who loved what he sold, similar to the barman in Sydney, with the exception this one didn’t need to listen to intoxicated jibber jabber as it was to early, he also kept decent beers in stock, so without further a doo
This chap was a real man of the Craft cloth and threw me straight in the deep end with his current favourite beer on tap which I believe was brewed by Michael Hope Brewhouse
This was their double IPA and ooh yes it was, suit you sir, very hoppy and very strong, light in colour and refreshing, I wouldn’t of wanted any more but by the same token wouldn’t of wanted to start on anything else, thank you Mr Barman and sorry I forgot to ask your name.
Next beer I chose myself and went to the opposite end of the scale, Woolshed Brewery Firehouse Coffee Stout, uum more Stout please Vicor.
Yes this was for me the best I tried in Sydney, I don’t know how strong it was and quite honestly I just don’t care, So deep and disgustingly bitter, a huge taste of coffee, almost as if the brewer just threw the lid away when adding it because he just couldn’t be bothered to weigh it out, this beer works but within a small market, my dad would detest this beer, My beer buddy Nick would just accept it as positive manner as he could find but Myself, the brother in Law and my brother would just laugh like children whilst calling up a reload, yum yum.
All good things must come to an end, or do they ?
Remember there was something from earlier that got missed out.
A German style bar that sells lots of Craft beers, many Lagers with German design, this time I found it within a shopping centre.
For more details about the Bavarian click here
I ordered a Devils Daughter, but they only bought me a beer.
No seriously, Devils daughter, a decent drop of beer but I think the thing I liked the most here was the glasses, to keep in style they sold beer from German Jugs, hundreds were hung up and just swayed in the breeze coming in through the door.
It was quiet when we visited but I can imagine when its busy here it would be a really good atmosphere with drinkers bashing their jugs together and singing along to the music, really funky pizza oven also.
There was obviously unique decor here but it did share something that I had seen a lot in Oz and this is the reoccurrence of Steam Punk fittings, I'm not complaining its by far my favourite style, they also used barrels to create a a type of brewery feel which I felt gave it a funky edge.
Good beer, a lovely bar to sit in and a unique spin, whats not to love?
This was to be my last real beer of the trip, of course I would have a couple Thai beers with my diner but nothing of value I need to report.
My Family and I loved Sydney, it is what I call a proper City and is very impressive with Architecture and their waterways are just stunning, following the Australians trend people are really nice also and although being part of a rat race still find you a couple of minutes to have a chat.
The Craft Beer scene is in the process of growing in Sydney, you can almost feel the infection spreading, a very differnt much more commercial feel than Brisbane, I just can't wait to visit again and try more of this beautiful Nations fantastic beers.
We loved our time here and once again the standard of the beer was great, thanks for your time Sydney and keep up the good work.
For us our travels still continue, we are now off to Thailand, here I will study an extremely young scene, the Craft Beer bars will be further apart but I'm sure I will find them and be sure to let you know how I get along.
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Full photos of our journey can be found on Instagram here