A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
I'll confess up front, I'm not much of a beer drinker, but when a local craft brewery made it into the nation's Top 10 with two of their ales, what was a girl to do but go and taste some? Located at 14 Harkeith Street, Mona Vale, on the northern beaches of Sydney, this renovated warehouse is easy to find because it's right behind Mona Vale Hotel, and the striking murals lining the walls at the driveway make a grand entrance.
Young entrepreneurial couple Grant and Jaz Wearin are relatively new to the trade of brewing beer. "It was just something we always knew we wanted to do", says Jaz. Leaving desk jobs in Sydney, the two embarked on a six-month fact-finding trip around the U.S.A., particularly the west coast and Colorado - the mecca for craft beer. So impressed with what they saw and learnt, they brought brewer Dennis De Boer, back with them, and as they say, the rest is history. Not even into their third year of trade, Modus Operandi's ales have already won an impressive array of awards.
I didn't quite know where to start because, much like going to a winery to taste a range of different varieties, there's a core range of beer that's always available, plus new seasonal varieties added each month. Jaz pours me four different types, ranging from their award-winning Pale Ale to a much darker stout-style. The colours and aromas vary to an extent I didn't know was possible with beer. "We take no short-cuts", says Jaz. "Fresh live yeast is flown in from the U.S.A, we source specialty hops and malts from all over the world, and as soon as it's brewed and packaged it's refrigerated, as there are no preservatives". Perhaps it's that freshness I can taste, as each beer I try is surprisingly refreshing and light. And all this is happening before my eyes, as the bench and bar we sit at overlook the factory floor, adding to the laid-back, happening vibe of the place.
outdoor seating at the entrance to Modus Operandi Brewery
A team of 20 keeps the business pumping. Along with reps on the road, it's all hands on deck to cater to busy evenings, providing burgers and pizzas - just the kind of 'pub grub' hankering that comes with sitting sipping an icy cold beer. Plus, Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons can see you grooving along to some live local musicians. Jaz and Dennis seem to have thought of everything - they even provide a 'growler-swap' system, whereby you can purchase a bottle of a particular brew you like, then return with the empty bottle and have it refilled with any other brew you may like to try.
I particularly like the upstairs section which provides a casual lounge area, a long bar to prop at and watch the activity on the factory floor, and a large dining area which would be perfect for functions like birthday parties or hen's nights.