Sydney marathon for the beer palate
We travelled leaps and bounds on day three of the search for good beer and evidently, so has the craft beer market in Australia.
Dan had been talking this day up since we landed, so I was pretty excited about what could be in store for my beer drinking palate.
Our first order of the day was a trip to Dan Murphy’s to restock the fridge with brews for the days ahead. That took some time as I wandered round and round trying to make decisions without blowing the weekend budget.
An hour later we had a full beer fridge (actually just a regular fridge 80% filled by beer) and we were on our way to Sydney City to track down the tasty beers that had been eluding me all these years. Next on our checklist was lunch at the Redoak Boutique Beer Café. Dan had attended a degustation menu on a previous occasion and had told me that Redoak knew their stuff. That was all the endorsement I needed to pick one of their tasting boards that offer four of their beers or ciders matched with tasting sized canapés.
We placed our orders at the bar and were convinced we should order another beer while we waited for our meals by the friendly barman. The choice was easy for me, I had already eyed up their IPA as it was not on the tasting board I chose. Wow. This beer absolutely blew away anything I had tried in Australia before. Admittedly, I do have a soft spot for IPA’s, but this was a prime example with big fruity notes balanced with a big bitter finish.
After lunch we trekked toward Circular Quay, helping to build our thirst as we headed for The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. Lord Nelson’s claims to be Australia’s oldest pub brewery and brews its six 100% natural ales on site (I believe Redoak brews on site too, but I can’t find anything to confirm this). Lord Nelson fell disappointingly short. Sure, Redoak is a pretty hard act to follow, but from the bartender who snapped “Not for about 70 years” when we asked if they offered tasting paddles, to the fairly uninteresting ales which I thought were served far too cold, there just seemed to be something missing. I imagine they serve their beers so cold to keep the locals happy and it makes sense when the Summer kicks in over there too, but it doesn’t really suit the style of beer they’re going for.
Our checklist then informed us that we needed to find chocolate from the Guylian Café in Macquarie Street, so off we headed.
The journey was cut short as we passed by The Argyle and Dan said we should pop in to check out the very trendy décor. It seemed ungracious to not buy a beer while we were checking it out, so to the bar we went. Dan and I were stoked when the bartender offered us considerable sized tastings of their European tap beers, all of which I couldn’t recall trying before.
One large European beer and a quick stop at the Guylian Café and we were off to our final destination and the one I had been looking forward to most; The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
After a GPS Fail, where we found ourselves smack in the middle of hundreds of people pouring out of the races, we made our way back to The Local Taphouse. Inside was a cosy atmosphere and an impressively large beer list.
I quickly set my eye on the Seedy Goat Coffee IPA while Dan went for the tasting paddle. The barman here was very well informed, which is refreshing, and offered up some options to fill the paddle based on the three Dan had already picked. The Seedy Goat Coffee IPA seemed a good choice, I like coffee, I like IPA; however this wasn’t the amazing beer I was hoping for and quickly opted for a trade with Dan. We ended up having another round here when we grabbed some of the more comfortable chairs. This time I went for a Big Wednesday IPA from Murray’s which was especially good and reminded me a lot of Yeastie Boys and Liberty Brewing’s Motueka Warrior.
Local Taphouse was a great spot, I especially liked the pick your own beers idea for the tasting paddle, it’s a great way to try a few beers without emptying your wallet and getting too sloshed. I’d like to see this catch on.
It was a huge day for beer tasting and I would say my palate had done the beer equivalent of a marathon. Luckily it was Grand Final day tomorrow so it was a pretty good guess there wasn’t going to be any big challenges for it at the stadium.
‘Beer of the Day’ goes to Murray’s Big Wednesday IPA.
Beers by order of appearance:
- 2010 Reserve Pale Ale by Endeavour Beverages
- 2010 Reserve Amber Ale by Endeavour Beverages
- Indian Pale Ale by Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
- Organic Pale Ale by Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
- Irish Red Ale by Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
- Porter by Redoak Boutique Beer Cafe
- Three Sheets by The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
- Nelson’s Blood by The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
- Victory Bitter by The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
- Trafalgar Pale Ale by The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
- Thurn and Taxis Leichte Weisse by Paulaner Brauerei
- Pils by Stiegl
- Paulaner Original Münchner Hell by Paulaner Brauerei
- Franziskaner Hefe-Weissebier by Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
- Seedy Goat Coffee IPA by Mountain Goat
- Illawarra Brewing Wit by Illawarra Brewing Co.
- Balmain Bock by Balmain Brewing
- Surefoot Stout by Mountain Goat
- Mad Abbot Tripel by Little Brewing Company
- Elephants Trunk by Seven Sheds
- Big Wednesday IPA by Murray’s
- Saison Noir by Bridge Road Brewers