Co-author of the ebook Secret Sydney Bars Walking Tour (Amazon). Reviews wine & craft beer bars and pubs, Asian restaurants and other places open late. Please visit my blog for more of the same from around the world https://www.TravelWineFood.com
Published April 27th 2016
Craft Beer for the Experts
There is a lot of misunderstanding about craft beer these days thanks to many marketers hoping their basic beers will be considered craft beers.
Generally, a craft beer is something that has been handcrafted and has a *very* limited release. It may only be around for a few weeks before disappearing forever.
If it is mass produced, available everywhere, including in bottles in franchised bottle shops, and you can buy it in six packs, it is highly likely it is NOT a craft beer.
The other thing to look for is how creative it is. 'Craft' means exactly that. It's an artisan beer. An artistic beer. Expect to see things you wouldn't usually find added to beer such as herbs, spices or nut flavours, or slightly mixed with things like wine or rum.
One of my regular haunts is Quarryman's Craft Beer Pub in Pyrmont. The great thing about this place is they usually have over 25 craft beers on tap to choose from.
On the night I went they had a nice stout and porter on offer (I'm not a big beer drinking but if I do drink it'll be thick and juicy black beer!) The coconut porter was closer to the style I liked, though I do prefer a touch of rum or whiskey flavour.
I also tried a tasting paddle of four different beers to review them for my partner who was overseas at the time. Not my style but I know she would have liked them.
In past visits (I've been at least 30 times!) I've tried wasabi, oyster, chilli, lamington and chocolate beer, among hundreds of others. Being able to get a paddle and taste four of their list is definitely appealing. What I really like, what keeps me coming back, is that the beer keeps changing every few days. Basically, whenever a barrel is empty, a different beer goes up. I'm not one to drink anything more than once, so being able to always drink something new is definitely appealing.
I rarely go to restaurants or common bars more than once for the same reason. If I ever find a restaurant that changes its menu every few days, I'd be a permanent customer! Quarryman's is rare in craft beer circles in Sydney as their taps change a lot more often than most other bars. There's always something new no matter when I walk in. Sometimes even on the same day!
Don't take my word for it, though. There is an app you can use called Now Tapped and you can simply compare other pub's taps with Quarryman's.
On certain times of the week they also have a smaller bar open upstairs where other beers are served. But, if that bar is closed, the ground floor bar staff are happy to run up and grab a beer from the taps if you request it.
They have a smoking area out the back which is pretty chilled without being chilly, even in the winter months. Gas heaters are everywhere to keep you warm, and the airconditioning is on during summer to keep you cool.
Quarryman's also has a number of events. I didn't win the free meat raffle on Tuesday, I missed a tap takeover on Monday and I wasn't there for the pig on a spit birthday celebration awhile ago, but I did make their black beer takeover last year (which was amazing!)
If you're not familiar with craft beer you might find their prices a bit pricey. Limited beer creation means higher costs so expect to pay $10 to $15 a glass. It's still cheaper than a cocktail but for those who are used to $5 beers, it's probably a bit outside your budget. In which case, visit Quarryman's on a Monday. They use that day to do a complete pipe clean so they finish off the barrels for about $5 a glass (subject to change).
These beers will be gone by the time you read this!
If you're not sure about craft beer, I'd recommend trying some international beers first to get a taste for different flavours, move on to some Bavarian beers, check out Hart's pub in the Rocks for some more local beginner craft beers, and then get adventurous at Quarryman's. If you're already into craft in a big way, then I've probably met you at Quarryman's already!