Gough's Big Beer Day Out

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Maintain the Rage!
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After reading with envy all these tales of blokes from Perth, or Adelaide, or Sydney getting together and sampling a few brews and being unable to get to one myself, I decided to head on down to the big smoke from Newie myself to visit some of the places I'd heard the Sydney brewers talk about on this forum all year and taste some new beers. I've asked others for reviews of some of these places in the past, so thought I'd better give one myself. Took my old man who likes a drop as well and we set ourselves only one rule for the day. Tap beer only. Here goes...

Jan. 2nd 2004. First day of Steve Waugh's last test. Couldn't get a seat at the cricket so decided to head to Sydney anyway and just do the drinking part of the equation minus the 7 hours in the sun...

First stop 11am - The Australian Hotel in the Rocks.
Top pub! My favourite for the day. Went there after someone on here said it was the only place anywhere near me where I could try Little Creatures on tap. Well worth the effort. Much better on tap than in the bottle. As soon as she started pouring it I was blown away with that Cascade smell... Everything I loved about it in the bottle was there but kind of more up front. Fresh is best I guess. Close to a religious experience. $4.50 a middy is a bit steep but worth it for this beer.
Next I tried a 'Scharer's Lager' from Picton. Nice Lager. On the malty side. Couldn't pick the hops 'cause I was still tasting the Cascade from the Little Creatures, but a good palate cleanser. Sorry Scharer's.
Next was the Cascade 'Summer Blonde'. I'd had the other three beers in the seasonal range in the bottle before and not been that impressed. This was beautiful though, tasted like the perfect session beer, but with enough quality to keep my taste buds interested. Dad's favourite for the day.
Last beer at the Australian was the Scharer's Burragorang Bock. Only real disappointment for the day. I love the Bock style and made one of my own duuring winter which I rate as my favourite homebrew so far. This one just tasted burnt and was actually hard to finish. Met a Zimbabwean bloke who came in at 11:15 and bought a jug of it between him and his mate who swore by it. Then again he was sitting in the sun and had finished 2 jugs of it by the time we left at about 12:30... Not my cup of Bock.

2nd stop - Lord Nelson Brewery
Walked under the bridge and down to the Lord Nelson Brewery. Had heard good things about the place but had never been. Tried the '3 Sheets' ale first after reading their board and having a quick squiz at the brewery behind the glass. Lovely beer. Tasted more like a really big German style lager than an ale, lots of malt, not many 'fruity' flavours that I was expecting. I think I could become addicted.
After getting no return from asking the surly barmaid for a suggestion as to what to try next we gave the Trafalgar ale a whirl. Not bad, but pretty tame after the 3 sheets. The staff at this place all looked like they would rather be chewing off their own hands than talk/serve beer so we left before trying any of the others. Worst atmosphere of the day.
3rd stop - Belgian Beer Cafe.
Mmmm, Belgian beer. I'd been busting to get down to this place since I'd heard they'd opened. Leffe Blonde on tap. Sensational. Same with the Brown. Had a Chimay Blue just so I could get Dad's reaction. "This isn't beer. More like licorice wine..." Oh well, can't please everyone. Nice place this cafe. Could see myself working through the menu if I had the dosh and lived in Sydney. Still, I'd already tried most of the beers on the list before and Dad was a bit over the whole Belgian thing after 3 beers so we moved on. At least now I can say I've paid $10.60 for a stubbie of beer! What was I thinking?
4th stop - James Squire Brewhouse.
Nothing like a good walk on a hot day to make you feel like a beer. Nice location on the wharf but not much atmosphere inside unfortunately. Bit of a 'barn'. Staff were pretty hopeless in terms of their beer knowledge as well. "I don't drink the stuff mate"!! Fair dinkum! Maybe they employ them so they won't touch the product...
We can get the Amber Ale and the Pilsner on tap in Newie so we tried the India Pale Ale first. I'm not as impressed with the IPA in the bottle as I am with all their other beers, but on tap... Sensational. Second only to the LCPA as beer of the day. Anyone who hasn't tried this beer on tap, get out there and get into it. Bigger hops, bigger malt, less 'crystally' taste. A great beer.
The Porter was beautiful as always. Similar to the bottled stuff though. They didn't have any of their 'brewhouse only' brews up and running which was a bit of a bummer.

5th stop - The Australian Hotel again...
A quick stagger over to the rocks and a couple more LCPA's to steady us for the trip home. Just as good as the first time, but with the added bonus of being really starting to fly after a top day's drinking. Weird conversation with a Belgian bloke, and we're back to central by 8 for the train ride home.

So there you go. A long post but I had to get it off my chest. Can't wait to do it again.

My top 3
2. James Squire IPA
3. Lord Nelson 3 Sheets Ale

Special mention goes to the Australian Hotel. If it was only in Newcastle it would be the perfect pub :D :D :chug:

Try the Admirals Blood when next at the Lord Nelson. . .
Sounds like an awesome day Gough.
My office is next door to the Belgian Beer Cafe, and it is hard to resist stopping in for a beer on the way home :)

You should have stopped at Harts Pub also (next to the Shangra la hotel between the Australian and the Belgian Beer Cafe) as they have the St Arnou beers.

Thanks for the tips fellas.

Doc, it was an awesome day. Haven't ever been to Hart's pub, but will give it a go next time I'm down. I realised after talking to Linz a few weeks ago that I've tried most of the St. Arnou beers up here in the Hunter Valley as there is a 'brewpub' in the old Potter's Tavern in Cessnock that has them. Not bad beers. Was up there earlier in the year.

Any other suggestions you might have for the next trip gratefully accepted.

top posting gough.well done.
nothing quite like a bit of research.
if you really love lcpa as most of us do then if your ever in perth try it fresh at the brewery.bloody sensational.freo is on my hit list again this year.
Thanks Big D. I'd LOVE to get to Fremantle/Perth one of these days, but it isn't really looking likely at the moment. Dunno if it is further from Newcastle to Perth than Arnhemland to Perth (maybe?), but I do know it is bloody expensive to get there! One day...

great post gough. if i ever get to sydney, ill be printing this out and using it as a guide. just as something to do while the wife goes shopping.
:D :D

Can just imagine your wife's reaction when she finds you at the end of the day after all that "sight-seeing" joecast :chug: :chug:

Nice review Gough

I'm going to be in Sydney for work in 3 or 4 weeks so this will be my "Lonely Planet" style brew tour guide!!

I was planning on hitting the James Squire Brewhouse, but didn't know about the others ..... hmmm I think I'll have to be careful with the company credit card ;)


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