An Adelaide boy new to Sydney with a thirst for exploring!
Published November 10th 2014
Craft Beer Hunter #2: The Rocks
While The Rocks is famed for having some of the oldest pubs in Australia, finding one that serves a delectable craft beer can be a challenge if you don't know where to look.
Let's start with the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, which according to their website is Sydney's oldest continually licensed hotel in conjunction with being Australia's earliest example of a pub brewery. The Lord Nelson have six 'mainstay' beers which you'll always find flowing through the bar lines. This includes Three Sheets Pale Ale, which is perhaps their best known drop and can be widely found in other venues. Other mainstay offerings are the Quayle Summer Ale, Nelson's Blood Porter, Trafalgar Pale Ale, British style Victory Bitter and the Old Admiral Ale. In addition to the core range of beers, a number of seasonal ales work their way through the taps as well. A majority of the beers are under $10 a pint as well so they're as pleasing to the wallet as they are to the taste buds. For a meal, you have the option to stay downstairs and take advantage of the casual bar dining setting, or venture upstairs to the more formal restaurant on the first floor.
Next up we have the Australian Hotel on Cumberland Street. You'll find a couple of craft beers on the fonts at the front bar, including Murray's Angry Man Pale Ale and a 'beer of the month.' Beer of the month is usually locally sourced from a NSW brewer – at the time of writing this article it was the Riverside 69 summer ale hailing from Parramatta. Perhaps even more impressive is the expansive range of bottled beers available. The Australian boasts over 120 different beers and staying true to their name, all of them are from within our shores. In a true ode to foodies, The Australian has a beer recommendation for each of the items featured on their menu. For example the Chilli Beef pizza is paired up with a Two Birds Taco to give you a double dose of Mexican, with the beer displaying refreshing coriander and lime notes from the cuisine that inspired it. Make your way to The Australian on a Wednesday night and in addition to trivia, you'll be treated to $15 jugs of craft (or 'premium' beer). For those who are cash poor, you can opt for the $10 standard beer option.
Impressive range of bottled beers at The Australian
Down the road from the Australian and tucked around the corner on Essex Street is Harts Pub, which was one of the early adopters of the Sydney craft beer scene. Another all Australian line up spread across 12 rotating taps and two traditional hand pumps. Hand pumps rely on manual force to pour the beer rather than gas, leading to a less carbonated and slightly warmer result. This can influence the taste of a beer significantly, particularly amongst darker beers and English style pale ales. A staple amongst Harts' taps are the Rocks Brewing Co range, which can be nabbed for $7.50 a pint during happy hour (4pm – 6pm, Monday to Friday). Outside of that, most beers are in the range of $10 - $13 pint and are also available in pots and schooners. For those finding themselves somewhat baffled by the fourteen odd beers available on tap, a tasting paddle featuring any four is a favorable option. For a cheap night out, on Thursday's you can get a basket of onion rings or spicy chicken wings for a mere $5.