Big roadie ends in beers

The next few posts will comprise my travel/beer diary as Bill of Beer discovers more of Australia and the beers they are brewing. This is the fifth in a six-part series.

Monday morning I awoke fairly clear-headed. Thank you ANZ stadium for only serving up light and mid-strength beer options at the Grand Final. Thanks also to Dan and Donna for serving up a premium big breakfast.

All this meant that Monday, a day previously reserved for being hung over and vowing never to drink again, had suddenly been freed up. So with minimal thinking or research, I offered up the option of a road trip to Newcastle to visit a place I had heard about on Twitter; Warners at the Bay. I didn’t really know much about it, other than I remember them saying something about having Rescue Red and Growlers.

This is a growler. 2 litres of beer housed in glass with a handle for safer pouring.

The picture in my mind was a typical Australian club on the beach front with an impressive range of beer taps. The reality however, wasn’t quite as enticing; to begin with it was nowhere near any water and the tap range was nothing more than what you would find in most places. The beer fridge did offer a bit more variety, but still only local beer. Where was the promise of Yeastie Boys, Renaissance and 8 Wired?

There was only one place left that could answer this question; and we wandered across the carpark to the bottle store. This was more like it, the back wall was all beer fridges, with signs above stating the country of origin of the beers within. New Zealand was well represented here and I thought the prices were very reasonable considering the distance they had to travel. At the end of the line of fridges were the taps to fill your growler and there were a handful of blokes there trying their way through some of the brews available.

20 minutes passed before I finally settled on two beers to take with me for the road and then everybody had to wait another 10 minutes as the shopkeeper and I chatted about the Epic Hop Zombie t-shirt I was wearing. Good people and good beer range at Warners, just don’t expect to be having a beer in the pub overlooking the ocean.

It was almost 3pm by now and we still hadn’t had lunch. Having come all this way (Newcastle is about 2 hours north of our accommodation) we were looking for somewhere nice for a beer and some food. A quick phone call prompted an executive decision to travel another 45 minutes north and visit Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. I was pretty thankful that the girls had the foresight to have brought a chilly bag full of beers and snacks for the journey at this point.

Murray’s was a hive of activity despite us arriving just after the kitchen had closed and the bar was only open another 50 minutes. We bought a round of beers and convinced the staff to whip us up a pizza; lifesavers!

Murray's Craft Brewing Co. I may not look very happy, but that's because this was shot when we were leaving

Once again Murray’s beers delivered. I had ordered the Icon 2IPA and it was fantastic! I also got to try the Pilsner and Angry Man Pale and they too, were very good, even following the Icon they still had plenty of flavour to cut through. Our stay here was briefer than what I would have liked, but when it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere and you’re the only ones left in the place after you forced them to cook you a pizza, you start to feel a little uncomfortable.

Murray’s Icon 2IPA left such an impression on me that I decided to mule a few home for the boys back in NZ. We grabbed a few other gifts and a 4-pack and then went in search of ice cream in Newcastle’s centre.

Before long we were on our way back home and I ended the day with a couple of bitterly disappointing beers. (There’s a pun there if you see the beer I finished with below:)

‘Beer of the Day’ goes to Murray’s Icon 2IPA.

Beers by order of appearance:

  • Atomic Pale Ale by Gage Roads
  • White Ale by White Rabbit
  • Icon 2IPA by Murray’s
  • Angry Man Pale Ale by Murray’s
  • Pilsner by Murray’s
  • Bruers Bright by Pacific Beverages
  • My Wife’s Bitter by Burleigh Brewing Co.

4 comments to “Big roadie ends in beers”

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  1. Kelly Ryan - 12 Oct, 2011

    Nice t-shirt!

  2. Stu as "Stu" - 12 Oct, 2011

    A nice day out… Love those days that surprise like that.

    We hung out with Mark and Shayne from Warners Bottle Store a fair bit when we were in Aus for Good Beer Week in May. Great guys. As big music fans we had a good chuckle at Shayne having the last name Carter.

    I really enjoyed the Icon 2IPA at Beervana. That and Liberty C!tra were the two outstanding hop-driven beers that I tried.


  3. billofbeer - 12 Oct, 2011

    I assume he doesn’t have that same voice though?

    Will have to try track down the Liberty C!tra, I don’t seem to have much luck finding Liberty beers in Auckland though

  4. Bill of Beer - 12 Oct, 2011

    I don’t know where my comments are going, I have to comment as a guest on my own site, wtf?

    Thanks, Kelly. You’ll never guess where I got it from.

    Cheers, Stu. I’m guessing Shayne at Warners didn’t have the same voice though?
    I seem to have some trouble finding Liberty beers in Auckland, but I’ll keep an eye out for the C!tra

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