I drink beer now. (This is a big statement for a person who doesn’t like carbonation and didn’t chug a beer until after she graduated from college.)
In Sydney, it’s hard to avoid drinking beer. And this isn’t a shock at all, considering how ride or die Sydneysiders are about their food and coffee. But coming from Manhattan – the island that celebrates the up and coming – and a frequent visitor of Brooklyn -the borough that celebrates the artisanal – I feel quite at home when I hear the phrase, “it’s local.” Without skipping a beat, I dove into Sydney’s craft beer scene… even if I’d only be halfway through my first schooner when you’d be asking for a third.
At any given bar, you’ll find a number of the local Sydney craft brews on tap. It’s worth giving them a go, since they’re guaranteed to have more flavour than Australia’s VB or Tooheys. And since becoming a bartender is a hot gig in this town, you can bet that the guy or gal behind the bar is ready and willing to help you find your beer match for the night. But if you can’t choose where to go to start your journey, a great way to explore Sydney and support Sydney business is to go to the craft breweries. Here are three that I really enjoyed visiting:
For The Pub Experience: Pubs are a dime a dozen in this town. So for the ultimate pub experience that doubles as a brewery, visit The Lord Nelson. This establishment is actually Sydney’s oldest pub brewery, so the history abounds! When I visited, I had to try their most popular choice: Three Sheets, an Australian pale ale. It was like candy but sudsier. Drinking it among the original-seeming floors and barrels is an experience worth having in Sydney’s historic The Rocks section.
For The Brewery Experience: Maybe it’s because it’s science I actually understand, maybe because it’s like cooking… For whatever reason, I like going to breweries to actually see beer being brewed. Located in Marrickville, Batch Brewing Co. what you see is what you get. The brewery is smack dab in front of you, so as soon as you enter the garage-of-a-brewery, you get a whiff of mash. The bar is a bunch of reclaimed palettes. The seating area is one long table. Since it was the end of summer when I visited, I got their What-A-Melon, a light wheat beer that I knocked back easily. Of course, they have a regular, non-seasonal menu full of Australian pale ales, American pale ales*, IPAs, and more.
For The Day-Drinking Experience: Day-drinking is a favorite pastime of mine and Sydneysiders alike. In fact, there’s a phrase for doing it with dignity on a Sunday: Sunday Sessions. So if you’re keen on it but crave go to a chilled environment along the water, head to 4 Pines over in Manley. With a delicious food menu, you can enjoy lunch or snacks while you taste a flight of 5 delicious brews on a deck or covered bar area. The brewery is more polished than the other two I mentioned, but it is far from pretentious. And it was its laid back beach vibes – and maybe the friendly bartenders – that persuaded me into trying the only stout beer I’ve had and actually enjoyed (minus the time I had a Guinness in Dublin. It really is better there.).
There are so many other local breweries in this city – Young Henry’s, Nomad Brewing Co., and Sydney Brewery to name a few – so the fun of exploring goes on! Wherever you go and whatever you do, drink responsibly & support local ✌️.
* I had no idea that American Pale Ales were such a thing elsewhere in the world… but they are!