Category Archives: Whats going on?

Akasha Brewing Company

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13235307_520290624821754_1814003397365322248_o 13254085_520290594821757_1783589655848455835_nWhen we caught wind of Dave (now the head brewer of Akasha) leaving Riverside brewing we were absolutely gutted. As it wasn’t long after the release of their almighty 777 imperial IPA that he parted ways, we feared the 777 would be doomed, put in the trophy room never to return. Thankfully our fears were eased when a new batch of 777 was brewed and to top that there was news that Dave along with business partners Wesley and Ben had opened their own new brewery in Five Dock called Akasha. Everything had turned out peachy! We thought it was high time we went and checked out the operation after a tap takeover at Sweeney’s revealed the brewing prowess that this bloke possesses. Just off Parramatta road sits the transformed warehouse that is largely taken up by the impressive stainless steel tanks and fermenters that met us on arrival. A neat little seating area equipped with a pool table and a dart board is where you end up after choosing either a paddle or a middy from the little bar inside. The selection is small but bloody delicious, their core range consists of 4 hop-forward beers that include a Lager, Pale Ale, IPA and an Amber Ale, all of which are highly drinkable, hoppy and super clean. The 2 seasonals were an American Brown Ale and the Korben D Double IPA which, for us, is Dave’s equivalent to the 777. And what would an awesome little microbrewery be without some really friendly, informative and personable staff? The guys (and girls) behind the bar were legends and certainly added to the mad vibe we were enjoying while we were smashing down some top quality tipple. Great beer, great people, great music = great afternoon. Cheers guys we’ll be back.

Hope Brewhouse

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13063135_509985379185612_6171000118999768690_o 13043262_509985339185616_6315625668442424666_nWhat do you call having boutique wines to taste down one end of the bar and 12 taps of craft beer down the other? Being spoiled for choice is one description, heaven is another. That’s what is on offer at Hope Estate/Brewhouse. In 2014, Hope Estate decided that drinking crap festival lager in the picturesque surrounds of the Hunter Valley made no sense and we tend to agree, vehemently. So they built a brewery with enough tanks to pump out as much craft beer as they do wine and the head brewer, who brings years of experience in wine making at De Bortoli, is keeping himself extremely busy. The tap list consisted of a Munich Lager, Australian Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, gluten free Pilsner, a mid strength Blonde, Belgian Blond, Hefeweizen, IPA, Black IPA, DIPA, Robust Porter and a Cider. I’m tired just from typing all of them so just imagine brewing them all! Although it’s all well and good having a huge selection which covers almost every palate possible we would always choose quality over quantity and therein lies the problem. Some of the beers were simply not up to scratch. Their savior is the Double IPA and the Porter which were really enjoyable beers. Both the Pale Ale’s, Pilsner, Lager, IPA and the Black IPA were standard but they really lost us with the Hef and both the Blonde’s – unbalanced and very homebrew-like which to be honest were pour outs. That’s as far as our negative comments will go though. The main building itself is a little dated but it is well set out with extensive outdoor seating and sweeping views of the Valley can be taken in from the upper floors. Other than a few bad beers they have the right idea, in fact we’re pretty sure they’re the only winery who offer a huge selection of craft beer that’s brewed on site then served to the punters who attend the festivals and big ticket concerts that are regularly held there. It’s also quite centrally located – off Broke Road opposite Pokolbin Village, so it’s your best option to throw in some grain between the grapes. A few little tweaks and, for us, this place would be a permanent stop every time we go to the Hunter.

Hunter Beer Company

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1069830_161751974008956_528984403_nIt’s no longer a secret that 31460_161751990675621_1241073160_nwherever you find good wine you’ll find even better beer. It couldn’t be any more true than the Hunter Valley region which now boasts four craft beer breweries along with a swathe of Australia’s best known wineries. Hunter Beer Co (more commonly known as Potter’s Hotel) is as rich in history as the magnificent clay-laced soil around the valley, and you will notice it instantly as you drive in where two heritage listed brick kilns still stand from when the property was used to produce terracotta pots way back in the late 1920’s. Another great thing about this brewpub is it’s sheer size. Along with offering resort-style rooms, the establishment is split in to two wings with a kitchen, eating area and standard pub-style bar on one side and on the other is the brewery, with the tanks on show at the back of the room, a bar with a 10-tap system and a large rustic farmhouse table and stools made out of quality timber in the middle of the room. It doesn’t end there either, in between the two wings is an outdoor eating area with a pool table which opens up to the absolutely huge grass area out the back where they have a massive play area for the kids along with a temporary jumping castle. This place has it all….literally. Their standard range of beers include a Kolsch, Witbier, Ginger beer, Lager, Pale Ale and a Bock. All very good beers in their own right but the stand outs are definitely the Pale Ale and the Bock with the Kolsch running in a tight 3rd. Another really good feature is the brewers’ extensive range of seasonal’s, the day we were there they had the Cessnock Bitter which was a traditional take on the British ESB, the Usurper – a heavy, rich and decadent Russian Imperial Stout (which was bloody delicious), a Dunkelweizen which was also quite tasty and the Jingle Balls Christmas ale – easily the best beer of the afternoon with its rich malty base, caramelized toffee, rum and subtle coconut notes, it was a remarkable drop. We can only hope they bottle this one day. Very impressed with the overall atmosphere, quality of beer and service. The food was good without being great but hey, who comes for the food when there’s so much good booze to be drunk!? Luckily our Misses’ love their wine. Suits us to a tee as we can certainly see a bi-annual trip to the Hunter to immerse ourselves in the beautiful scenery, wineries, restaurants and breweries. A big thumbs up from us.

The Grifter Brewing Company

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12990851_504636823053801_5176864572357575871_n 13002586_504636783053805_3335010170826632568_o Every State and city has them, if yours doesn’t: then move! Let’s start with the USA, they have the West Coast (and East Coast…the bastards!) The UK has North and North-East London, New Zealand has Wellington, W.A has Fremantle, Brisbane has West End, Melbourne has the whole bloody city and finally Sydney has the Inner-West. If you aren’t sure where we’re going with this we are noting all the craft beer hot spots around the world. The Inner-Western suburbs of Sydney are the suburbs Sydney siders flock to for their weekly tipple of locally brewed craft beer and The Grifter is the brand new addition. Situated just a short walk from Sydenham train station this large transformed warehouse features a big long bar with ample seating areas and off in the corner is a cool little carpeted area with a pool table. What’s better is, once this brewery grows and their patronage doubles or even triples they have more than enough room to fit more tables and chairs. Good thinking Sir!. A decent little selection is on offer here too: 2 Pilsner’s – a delicious new world Pils which is generously hopped with the finest New Zealand has to offer along with a watermelon infused one, which really wasn’t all that great. Their India Pale Lager is also pretty tasty – simple lager base but the addition of American hops gives it a lovely fruity character. The Pale Ale is literally a scaled back version of their brilliant west coast IPA (easily their best drop) and the ESB was good without being great. The surprise of the afternoon actually came from their “Landlord” Australian Old Ale which reminded us a lot of Lord Nelson’s Old Admiral – nutty and slightly dark with a robust malt base. And to finish was their decadent oatmeal stout, lightly roasted and packed full of chocolate malts and coffee. Probably our 2nd favourite drop. As it’s only new there is no kitchen but as all good craft breweries are doing these days, food trucks will no doubt come on certain weekends to offer assorted types of street food. We’d have to say we had a great arvo. The place has a good vibe with a rustic decor and more than enough staff behind the bar so waiting for beers is never an issue. It’s also very well situated, close to other craft breweries and just a short trip to Newtown where a long list of other breweries and craft beer bars are in abundance. Another decent brewery to add to the growing number of venues in the Inner-West. Onward and upward!

Full Moon Brew works. Phuket, Thailand

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1977122_501711096679707_8169861733284995761_n12670821_501711160013034_4269909206493254413_nWhen we envisage a sub-tropical island getaway, craft beer and/or craft breweries don’t even enter the mind. Why even tease ourselves with the thought, right? Especially in Thailand – a country so drowned in boring lagers and commercial European imports that after a week you’re opting for a Singapore sling or even a bloody sand bucket! No more!! Friends, enter Full Moon Brew works. An immaculate, well maintained, perfectly positioned and seriously cool new craft beer brewery right in the heart of Patong Beach, Phuket. Now, as far as selection goes we weren’t about to start getting picky. After all, beggars can’t be choosers. So to be offered a range consisting a Lager, Witbier, Pale Ale and a Dark Ale (well, technically it was an ESB) we were stoked! We started with the Lager which was nothing overly exciting – take your Singha, Tiger and Chang and craftify it, that’s about it. However, things started to get interesting when we tried the Witbier. It was very aromatic, packed with orange peel and herbs and backed up with banana, tang and spices on the palate. The real surprise came next with their flagship beer ‘Chalawan’ Pale Ale. Slightly complex in aroma, a hefty malt backing, slightly smoky but the use of American hops gives it its appeal. Fruity and biscuity with a medium body, assertive bitterness and a super clean finish. We finished on their Dark Ale which was really more of an English ESB, but a delicious one at that. Traditional toasty/nutty malts, caramel and slightly buttery with a hint of ash and a mild bitterness to boot. Still surprisingly sessional on this 35 degree day. If the tap beers don’t excite your taste buds (which we highly doubt) then check out their fridge which is stocked with bottles of Anderson Valley, Rogue, Hitachino, Rochefort, Duvel, Brew Dog and Cooper’s along with a small selection of ciders which are all available to take away. To find this diamond in the rough was a sign from God, or Buddha, whatever your belief….just don’t be coming in the next couple of weeks because we may have just cleaned them out of every IPA they had. Cheers, we’re off to buy a few cheap singlets and some faulty DVD’s! :)

Temple Brewery And Brasserie

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12717622_482664121917738_7982489590168021690_n 12747528_482664028584414_2875917125093211876_oThere wouldn’t be too many breweries that can lay claim to being at the point of closure then bouncing back to reopen the doors to a brand new renovated venue and an all new range. Temple unfortunately went in to voluntary liquidation then amazingly bought the operation back off the creditors, turned the place in to a smick new establishment and hired a new head brewer who can now boast a respectable and extremely tasty new range of craft beers. Now that’s what we call passion and perseverance. Kudos! We rocked up to the brewery on an absolute pearler of a day and were greeted by a friendly and very well informed host who knew his beer. Once we checked out the new haunt we dove straight in to one of their paddles, or should we say stylish (and probably quite expensive) cast iron glass holders with their own branded mini tulip glasses to boot. Their line of beers travel smoothly from light to dark and from lightest to strongest. The bicycle beer is their Summer ale – super light, fruity and extremely sessional. Next was their ‘anytime’ IPA which is aptly named as it would be drinkable any time between 12am-12pm. Their Pilsner was brilliant and true to style, a very enjoyable drop on this hot sunny day. Next up was their best seller, the ‘rye hard’ Rye IPA – big, hoppy and spicy and easily our favourite out of the five. To finish was the dark and mysterious American Stout which was delicious and easily slotted in as 2nd best beer of the afternoon. All up it was a very well put together range, each beer somewhat compliments the next. Well, it’s safe to say that even though this brewery has been through some hard times they have definitely come out the other end better off for it. Definitely a brewery we’d return to.

Moon Dog Craft Brewery

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1917649_482664358584381_1634502027546922395_n 12728919_482664325251051_4685185197212886496_nLet us start with a fact: Moon Dog is a highly respected craft brewery and one that’s indisputably earned a permanent spot in our top 10 all time favourite Australian breweries. That explains why it was top of the list of our must visit Melbourne breweries.Once we touched down in Melbourne we dropped our bags off at the hotel, hopped in a cab and went straight to the brew house in Abbotsford. Locating the place took a bit of luck but one thing is for certain – once we walked in we knew we were at the right place. OK, if you’ve tried a few of Moon Dog’s beers you would already know that they brew some pretty whacky, very experimental and seriously quirky beers and the decor of the joint is no different. It’s like shabby chic meets industrial paradise. We have palms, barrels, mismatching tables and chairs, odd things hanging from the roof and weird pictures adorning the walls. It’s enough to give any interior designer a heart attack but enough to make the most alternative craft beer fanatic feel at home. We like it. The selection of beers ranged from their seriously sessional ‘Love Tap’ Lager to the delicious ‘Bosco’s’ IPA through to the hedonistic yet moreish ‘Spotted Dick’ Barleywine. Standards like their Pale Ale and Dark Ale were nicely offset by the two crafty wild ales but the beer of the afternoon easily goes to their single keg ‘Miso Thorny’ Imperial Miso Pilsner that had lashes of agave and literally drank like a good Belgian Tripel. Bloody amazing stuff. We had to pick our beers wisely, though, as all the ones we wanted to try were either doubles or imperials so we were definitely a little wobbly as we left! This was only a short visit as we only have 2 days to get through this awesome bloody city! Take it from us, if you’re planning a trip to Melbourne then do your taste buds a solid and drop in and try one of these extremely craftified beers. You won’t regret it.

Green Beacon Brewing Company

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12552863_470380259812791_4255703581864881692_n 12572990_470380199812797_5580268742064296716_nAsk us if we would prefer brewery or pub and before the question had even finished being asked we’d be resolutely projecting out a solid ‘brewery any day of the week’! One of the main reasons behind our vehement opinion would have to be the underground and non-commercial feel that brewery bars all seem to possess. Beside the fact that they also have great atmosphere, great beer, delicious food and appeal to a niche crowd they are almost always situated in either a really rustic, transformed building or a warehouse of some sort. That’s exactly what we loved about this brewery. Our final visit on our Brissy brewery tour brought us to the industrial suburb of Teneriffe. Behind the wide roller door is a traditional 19th century style warehouse with its high slanted ceiling and single row of industrial glass slated windows that allow in a good amount of natural light. Running down the right hand side of the place is a set of wooden tables and chairs while the left side displays the impressive line up of stainless steel tanks. The elongated bar runs parallel with the tanks with 3 separate sets of 4 tap systems. Their range is quite extensive, ranging from their Kolsch, Witbier, Pale Ale, IPA, Amber Ale, Porter and a seemingly endless number of seasonals. Unfortunately the Kolsch wasn’t available and we aren’t fans of Witbier so it was straight to their flagship Pale Ale which was easily the standout. It was delicious, hoppy, fruity and well bodied with a decent bitterness to back it up. The Amber ale was standard – nutty and malty with caramel undertones while the the IPA was nice, nothing overly aggressive – sessional and very palatable. We finished on the Porter which was roasted with light chocolate and coffee notes. Other than the pale ale, the beers were good enough to enjoy but they were lacking that wow factor. Points for atmosphere and general vibe of the place and a mention also has to be given to the quirky things for sale such as beer soap and beard oil for the hipsters. Let’s finish by saying, if we had this as our local watering hole we’d be more than happy. A decent way to finish off our Brissy brewery tour.

Newstead Brewing Company

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12573072_470380573146093_7218731140240157654_n 12565408_470380599812757_6953714961986589402_nThe 2nd stop on our Brissy brewery tour took us to the new and up-and-coming suburb of Newstead, situated in Brisbane city’s north western fringe. The area has this certain industrial meets ultra modern apartment complex feel with at least another half a dozen cranes at work just in our eyesight alone. The actual brewery itself is situated in an old refashioned warehouse that was once used as a bus depot many years ago. The ground level of the brewery are where the tanks are, and like any good brewery bar, the punters can sit on the raised level and hoe down on some quality nosh and craft beer while watching the brewers go about brewing the next batch of liquid gold. As we’d just filled up on some local Yum Cha we were only here for the beer, and the bar didn’t disappoint, it was long with an impressive twelve-tap set up. Nine of them were pouring a mix of Newstead’s core range, cider and experimental’s while three of the taps were dedicated to a few of Kooinda’s delicious beers that were left over from a recent tap takeover. They were to be enjoyed later as we were here for Newstead’s range so we started off on a paddle with their Pale Ale, Amber Ale, IPA & Porter. All very nice with the Pale Ale and the IPA standing out. Due to their huge range on tap we went back for a 2nd paddle, this time we went for three Kooinda’s and Newstead’s experimental Barley wine which was absolutely divine! Potent and oaky with a certain Port complexity to it. It was a brilliant drop. There is certainly a lot to like about this new craft brewery. It’s a tightly run ship with a really rustic and industrial vibe happening within the corrugated iron confines. This establishment could easily flag itself as this burgeoning city’s number one brewery bar. Do yourselves (and your palate’s) a favour and drop in if you’re close by.

Brisbane Brewing Company

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12417964_470380773146073_5058393012087274808_n 12509866_470380749812742_7894645775709840339_nEver since we, and a few others, took a short trip to Brisbane city a couple of years ago we’ve been itching to go back for a brewery tour. Just a few minutes south-west of the city center is the trendy, Newtown-esque suburb of West End where you’ll find an extensive range of restaurants to experiment with and craft beer bars to wet your whistle in. Just up the road from Archive bar (Brissy’s equivalent of The Local Taphouse) is Brisbane Brewing Company, our first stop on the tour. Right from the beginning, the precedent was set high as we entered under an extravagant cast iron sign that lead us through a slightly narrow walkway to the doors of the establishment. The interior was also really cool with the kitchen/dining on the bottom level and on the top level a full view of the tanks are off to the right with the bar set right in the middle. The shining ten tap system pours 8 of their core beers with two taps reserved for a cider and the other for an experimental. As we were only there for a short time we chose a paddle with their Pilsner, Pale Ale, IPA and Stout. The Pilsner was a lovely example in the traditional Czech style; spicy, herbaceous, light on and super sessional. The Pale Ale was the pick of the beers with a lifted fruity aroma, well balanced body and bitterness and a clean citrus finish. The IPA was simple and tasty with a slightly restrained profile while the Stout was delicious, smooth, creamy and lightly roasted. In the unlikely event that none of their beers tickle your fancy there is a great selection of bottled craft beer in the fridge just in case. We had a good time here, the atmosphere is chilled and really friendly and the staff were knowledgeable and very easy going. With all of this situated, in our view, the best part of Brisbane this is certainly one brewery that should be on the visit list if you’re planning a trip to the sunshine state.

Prancing Pony Brewery

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12299154_455280987989385_3149088222205060865_n 12314129_455281007989383_6629059264133213001_nOur 3rd and final day of our Adelaide brewery tour took us just 15 minutes up the road from Grumpy’s. Just as we were treated to picturesque scenery on the way to Grumpy’s we were also lucky enough to drive through the stunningly quaint little German town of Hahndorf on our way to Prancing Pony. The gorgeous day provided a lovely backdrop for the brewery so we decided to take a seat outside in the front courtyard where we were drenched in the early afternoon sun. The interior of the brewery is really cool with the tanks set up behind a long bench, which we can only guess is where the brewers hold their beer classes. Scattered everywhere, on the walls and on the floor are ponies, rocking horses, straps and all kinds of pony-like paraphernalia. Besides the fact that it’s frowned upon and not really the best place to take a child but this would be a young girl’s paradise! For us, though, paradise is at the bar and that’s where we ordered our first beer of the afternoon – the Hopwork Orange – a crisp, refreshing APA with a citric aroma and a subtle bitter finish. The Amber Ale and the Pale Ale were just as enjoyable and the Stout was delicious, sweet and roasty but the India Red Ale was where it was all at. Picking up a gold medal at the 2015 Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards this India Red Ale is full bodied, smooth, sweet, caramelized and fruity with a slightly hefty 7.9% ABV that’s incredibly well hidden. Absolutely divine! So divine that we followed up with another three of them before we had to hit the road. Great brewery, friendly staff, delicious beer and a very ambient atmosphere to boot. Easily the best brewery on the tour! A solid afternoon.

Grumpy’s Brewhaus

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12278920_455280951322722_3419527554736607473_n 12289750_455280967989387_2989100071215684530_nThe next stop on our Adelaide brewery tour was Grumpy’s Brewhaus. Once we dusted ourselves off from the previous night’s festivities we hopped in a cab and were driven South East out of the city for roughly 30-35 minutes through the picturesque wine region of Adelaide Hills. The brewery itself reminds us of an historic federation style house with a big, lovely front yard where the solo singer was strumming out laid back Sunday tunes for the punters. The interior was really cool, kind of old country Australian cottage meets Austrian Apres-ski bar with it’s old, dark timber floors and beams. The selection of beers was quite small and mainly European-inspired. There were 6 taps with one pouring a cider, leaving a Munich Lager, Honey Lager,  Bitter, Dunkel and a Porter pouring through the other 5. They were all good but none of them were great. The Honey Lager and the Porter were the better selections while the Bitter, Dunkel and Munich Lager left a bit to be desired. The certain winner of the afternoon was the delicious wood fire pizza’s though, which we demolished within minutes. All in all we weren’t entirely impressed with the beers but the food and the atmosphere at the brewery was really good. Considering the location of the brewery is quite isolated it wouldn’t be one to hang about at for long but if you’re a fan of everything boozy there are a few good wineries in the area and could easily make for a great stop off to throw some grain in between the grapes.

Pirate Life Brewing

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12313514_455280891322728_8013034697378285372_n 12278852_455280937989390_5134069991744026835_nOur first ever visit to the City of Churches provides not only an eventful brewery tour but more breweries than we could poke a stick at. Throw in a few really good brewpubs and bars as well and it’s agreed – Adelaide is certainly a city that loves its craft beer! So with all these options now spoiling us for choice we thought we’d firstly head to the brewery that has caught our eye of late, and that is Pirate Life Brewing. Situated on South Rd, about a 10-15 minute drive west of the city (or about 45 minutes walk, which we found out after was much further than we thought) we were surprised by what we were met with. As the cellar door had only opened 5 days beforehand, beer lines were still to be plumbed so it was only cans on offer. We’d have to admit we were spewing but credit must go to our host, Ed, who was a great bloke and he assured us that they were as fresh as beer from the keg. They are only a very new operation so the 3 beers on offer were the Throwback IPA, which is a 3.5% ABV session IPA which lives up to its name extremely well. It’s super sessional and full flavoured with a big fruity aroma. The Pale Ale followed, and again we were pleasantly surprised by the full flavour and character of this beer. An American inspired ale with a big hop presence on the nose and palate. We finished on the big bopper – the Imperial IPA – served from a 500ml can and weighing in at a hefty 8.8% ABV so it’s aggressive, hop charged, fruity and simply delicious. That good we took an extra 4 pack for the road. There is definitely potential for a really good brewery here. Maybe on our next visit they’ll have their taps pouring their standard range plus a few seasonals :)

Illawarra Brewing Company

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12239508_453481221502695_8094042920393430726_n 12274245_453481258169358_1252764869649721297_n 12278692_453481181502699_8704102346193564125_nAs far as locations go, Illawarra Brewing Company would have to be one of the best situated brewpubs on the East Coast. Roughly a 2 hour drive south of Sydney will land you in the city of Wollongong. From the center of town it’s a short walk (or drive) down Crown Street towards the beach using WIN stadium as your guide. Set literally a few steps from the beach, on cooler days the large glass windows allow you to sit inside and see straight out while on warmer days, sit out on the large deck while you take in magnificent views of the beach and ocean. It’s all well and good having stunning views but it all comes down to the beer and our first look at the taps instilled us with confidence. Two sets of 11 taps spoiled us for choice initially but a quick skim over them showed a few ciders with some guest taps from the likes of Hop Dog, Australian Beer Co & Blue Moon. Our first paddle included their single Ella hop golden ale, the Mo & Co IPA and the nitro milk stout (which was bloody delicious!). Next round was made up of the single Chinook hop golden ale, amber ale and the pumpkin ale. Other beers including an English mild, summer ale, witbier, lambic and a pilsner were on tap but after six samplers we only had eyes for the IPA and the milk stout which we finished the afternoon off with a few pints of. Overall it was a good arvo. Even though the selection was massive there was really only two that stood out (being the IPA and milk stout obviously). The bloke behind the bar didn’t seem to know a lot about their beer and the main thing that killed us…no growler fills!! Although just down the road you can fill em up at their off site brewery. But don’t expect to fill them up on Saturday as they’re closed, for some reason. Amazing location, good beer but a little rough around the edges. Still, a great place to enjoy a few crafties.

Wayward Brewing Company

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12065913_447964548721029_3789112595755702426_n 12193864_447964528721031_5231424856964568125_nJust 5 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD sits this busy little inner-city suburb. Annandale has a rich history and beer is right at the heart of it. From Parramatta road it’s a turn off on to Pyrmont Bridge Road where you’ll pass the historic Malt Shovel Brewery. From there it’s a quick left turn in to Chester street then another into Gehrig Lane, where at this point you flick your cabbie some cash and prime your taste buds for some liquid ecstasy. Initially it was our olfactory’s that were tantalized as we passed the BBQ set up at the entry to the brewery. It was hard not to stop for a quick sausage sanga but our palates were screaming for beer so the bar was our first stop. A decent selection was on offer, ranging from a few light ales to a delicious ESB, an oatmeal IPA, a Marzen, a lavender infused Kolsch and their famed ‘Charmer’ Red IPA. Before this visit the Red IPA was our favourite beer but the oatmeal IPA would have to take down best beer of the afternoon. The biggest surprise came from the ‘Furious Gnome’ ESB, which was absolutely delicious! Earthy and spicy but with a lovely hint of chocolate and coffee laced through. Full credit to the brewer(s) as every beer we got through was clear as day, sessional and highly palatable. Cool little set up, good atmosphere, friendly and well informed staff and above all tasty craft beer! A great afternoon was had by all. If you’re in the hood we definitely urge you to drop in and try a sampler. You won’t be disappointed.

Lord Nelson Brewery

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image image‘The Lord’ as it’s more commonly known is an institution to us and we can’t believe it’s taken us this long to do a review of it. We’ve had numerous visits to this iconic brewery bar, usually either on rugby nights or a stop off on a bar crawl through The Rocks. The Lord is officially Sydney’s oldest brew pub, laying down it’s roots in 1841, which for a young country like ours, is pretty amazing. Considering how old it is, the decor of the place definitely takes on a very British pub-style atmosphere with dark coloured timber floors and bar. A big roaring fire is always cracking away in the winter months with old artworks such as the portrait of Sir Horatio Nelson himself that decorate the walls of this historic pub. There are always 6 of their own beers on tap along with other popular European lagers and pilsners. The 6 that were on this time around were the Porter, Dark ale (our favourite), Bitter, Pale Ale (our 2nd favourite), English-style Pale Ale and their Summer Ale. The pub grub is also very traditional but with a modern Australian twist. They offer traditional dishes like the ploughmans board and black pudding but also have pub greats like burgers, seafood and steaks, so there’s something to suit every palate. We absolutely love this place and if you’re ever heading down to old Sydney town be sure to pop in, grab a pint and a feed and get a genuine feel of what it would have been like drinking in a pub 180 years ago. You won’t be disappointed.

Hop Dog beer works

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11218806_412131092304375_7291551093170411367_n 11009973_412131072304377_4062400173499369365_nIt had been a while since our last visit to Tim and his great little operation down here in South Nowra. On tap was the Cosmic highway – a Motueka hopped pale ale, the Redhopulous – a malty and fruity red ale, the horns up – a spicy, hopped up rye IPA (our favourite), the alluvial peach – a funky, fruity wheat beer, the taxidermy pachyderm – a ‘pentagonally hopped and barrel aged brown ale’ (Stoked this was still available! One of the better beers we tried at the ‪#‎GABS‬ festival 2015) and the no life ’til Ella – a strong, spicy India saison. Unfortunately it’s just solely a brewery which means no grub but it does have a cool little chill out area where you can try all the beers while having a chat with Tim (who’s a really nice bloke). Growlers are all filled, now we’re off to drink it all! Cheers.

Bentspoke brewing co.

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11351289_397853700398781_3661123568189631994_nAs far as must-visit breweries are concerned, Bentspoke brewing co. would have to rate in the if-you-don’t-visit-this-brewery-you’re-a-fool category. The other local brewery (the Wig & Pen) must be kicking themselves that they lost their award winning head brewer as he left to open up his own brewery in Braddon, ACT. We love a brewery with a good theme too, all 18 taps don tap handles that resemble different parts of a bicycle along with their tasting ‘paddles’ which really looks more like a part of an engine with a rubber bike handle to finish it off. Very cool. So after a good chat to the bloke behind the bar we kicked the arvo off with a tasting ‘paddle’ consisting of their version of a Tripel (Tour de Brugge) their cluster 8 (Imperial IPA) the cluster 12 (an Imperial Imperial IPA!!) and the grainy (Imperial stout) all which were brilliant, absolutely delicious beers. We then moved on to their PSI (saison) Sprocket (IPA), Crankshaft (IPA) and their seasonal porter which is poured straight through and transfused in the ‘hopus operandi’ which is packed full of fresh coffee and chili. All this drinking was making us hungry so we smashed down a couple of toothsome burgers which certainly hit the spot. After a good chat with Dan the man (manager) we were almost brought to tears when we were told the brewery only offers a few take-away’s from their huge range which must be in their growlers only. Let’s just say 5 of our empty, glass growlers weren’t graced with Bentspoke’s liquid gold. Other than this, it would have to rate as one of the best breweries we have ever been to. Friendly, helpful staff, cool theme, nice rustic place and most importantly, top quality beer. We can’t wait for our next trip to Canberra. Next time we’ll be buying some of their growlers though. Top shelf establishment.

Willie the Boatman – Sydenham, NSW

Rating:

11133761_381257288725089_5299040763067986124_n 11072486_381257275391757_9069448591043847146_nWe rocked up on a miserable and rainy Sydney day but instantly a light shone through the heavens and lit up the 7 tap system as we tapped our fingers together doing our best “excellent” Monty Burns impersonations. After much craft beer talk with the approachable lads behind the bar we kicked the afternoon off with their Gose. We were told they usually pair the Gose up with a shot of peach schnapps to offset the sourness but they were fresh out of schnapps so a piece of apple flavoured marshmallow was in it’s place – and might we say it was a good pairing. The sweetness in the marshmallow counteracted the mild sourness in the beer well. We were off to a good start. We moved on to the strong American lager next followed by the golden ale (which to our surprise was one of the favourites), the pale ale, the bitter, IPA then finished off with their Black Bunny dark ale. We were really impressed with the quality of each and every beer, what was even better was the Gose and the Golden ale were untrue to style but for us, the best 2 beers of the day. The Black Bunny was also really tasty. We liked the feel and atmosphere of the place too, set in a transformed factory, the furniture is very shabby and rustic but it works well with the decor of the place. Cool tunes and a view of the tanks out the back, this newly opened brewery looks set for big things. And what better way to finish off a brewery visit than a good chat with Pat (the head brewer). Upon reflection it was a fantastic arvo, very impressive considering they only opened up to the public 5 weeks ago. Only downside was the taps were over-gassed and the beers too heady so they couldn’t fill up our growlers….oh well it’s a good excuse to go back :)