I’m not sure why, but Sydney is a place that I’ve never really connected with. I have to admit that I haven’t spent much time there (a couple of work trips before heading away last year and a few days when I was eleven) but at times I’ve felt more foreign there than in many other places that I’ve visited. That being said, I wasn’t going to give up the chance to spend a weekend in Sin City with some friends after a Friday afternoon meeting…
The weekend kicked off at Australia’s oldest pub brewery, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, where I tried out five of their on tap offerings: Quayle Ale (a Summer Ale), 111 (English IPA), Victory Bitter (British Pale Ale), Anileation (Dry Irish Stout) and Old Admiral (Old Ale). The ‘Taste Crazy’ badge on Untappd hoped that I was just sampling and I was, as long as they class pint glasses as samples.
Bright sun and blue skies the following day prompted a walk from my friends’ place in Surry Hills, taking in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay before grabbing a beer at The Glenmore Rooftop in The Rocks. More touristy activity followed with a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to North Sydney, where we jumped on a bus to head ten minutes further north to the Flat Rock Brew Cafe in Naremburn.
We had just enough time to sneak in a Flat Rock American Pale Ale before meeting up with Karl who, along with his wife, opened the operation late last year. Karl has been home brewing for the past twelve years and prefers the traditional styles that were served up 300 years ago.
They have a 200 litre brewing system set up on the bottom level of what used to be a greengrocer and have a licence to brew three times a week. All of their beers are naturally conditioned in casks for roughly two weeks before being dispensed from the hand pumps upstairs.
In addition to the APA, Karl has offered many styles, including an English Bitter, English IPA, Oatmeal Porter and Juniper Pale Ale. We also tried the Flat Rock Sweet Stout later in the evening.
In addition to their own brews, they cycle other Australian craft beer through their four standard taps. We went with the Golden Ace from Feral Brewing Company and Scotch Ale from Red Hill Brewery. Beers from Riverside Brewing Company and Endeavour were also available when we were there, as were twenty regular and fifty specialty bottles.
We left after a decent feed, before a brief stop at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. It may have been the 7.7% Intravenous Elixir by Doctor’s Orders Brewing talking, but I ended the night thinking that perhaps Sydney isn’t such a bad place after all…