With Sydney Craft Beer Week 2014 done and dusted, the post-beer recovery regime of Berocca, Hydralyte, and handfuls of painkillers begins.
But on the positive side, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably also enjoyed the fruits of at least one of the many Sydney Craft Beer Week 2014 events. This memory, or lack thereof may aid in your recovery. As always, if symptoms persist, see your doctor.
While occupational commitments at the fruit shop kept me from most of this week’s beer related Shenanigans (more on that later), there were a few wild horses that were shamefully ineffective at keeping me away from the Sip & Savour event held at Carriageworks this weekend. Chaperoned by my work colleague Phil, we confidently embarked on a journey through a sea of over 250 international and local craft beers and ciders.
Now, while I can’t recall every single one of those drinks (apparently memory loss wasn’t listed as a probable side effect of this event), there were a few stand-outs that I feel compelled to share with you in this public service announcement.
First up, and early out the gates due to their prime position in the arena, was The Australian Brewery.
While I haven’t given these guys much thought in the last year or so, it turns out they’ve been up to some interesting things while my back was turned. The thing that caught my attention was their use of smoked grains.
As you may or may not be aware, there are generally few main ingredients in beer, one of the more important ones being malted grain. But what the clever craftsmen at this brewery have been doing is smoking the grain as opposed to simply roasting it. This makes for an unmistakable aroma, and lingering aftertaste that I can only describe simply as smoky bacon. And if there are two things I love ≥ life itself, its beer and bacon. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear/see/taste that they’ve affected one of their refreshing lagers with this smoked grain.
Although lagers aren’t at the top of my list while I stare longingly at the bottleshop fridge, I’ll be recommending this crisp, smoky delight to all my friends, and oh… the whole internet!!
As I mentioned a little earlier, this kind of event lends itself to a little bit of a hazy memory, and try as I might, I can’t remember what they’ve decided to call this delicious elixir. Was it Smoky Something Something..? Oh, no! I took a photo!
*Fumbles through iPhone camera roll*
… Highway to Helles! Keep an eye out for this hellishly smoky lager. The boys assure me there will be more seasonals in the future featuring those delicious smoked grains!
The Australian Hotel Brewery is located at 350 Annagrove Rd in Rouse Hill.
Towards the end of our adventure, we happened upon a little gem from an American brewery called Six Point. Even though I had tried just about every IPA at the event, I was still enticed by the allure of their double IPA which they lovingly called ‘Resin’.
I should reiterate that this was at the pointy end of the festivities, so the exact details and nuances of this particular IPA have long since escaped my memory. That is except to say that the intensity of the spices in this Indian trade route inspired number left me very excited indeed!
If you enjoy boring beers, you probably wouldn’t have made it this far through my ramblings. So for the love of all things holy, heed my recommendation. Follow me blindly, and hunt down this beer! You won’t regret it.
‘Resin’ by Six Point Brewery
I mentioned Shenanigans earlier. That was no accident. Yes, there were plenty of beer induced sillinesses going on, but there was also a little known Sydney brewery hiding up in the bleachers.
Shenanigans Brewing Company are brand spanking new on the scene from Enmore/Marrickville, and I can’t express in words how thrilled I was to run into them.
Oh the things they’re doing with beer!!
My pick of their exciting range was their ‘Holey Porter’. Their own words describe it best:
“A dark beer inspired by the band of merry sailors who formed part of the first European settlers to New South Wales and used rum as our first form of currency. This is a porter given some extra special treatment by way of rum soaked oak chips, a handful of spices, and a sprinkle of chilli.”
If that description doesn’t make your tastebuds tingle then you should probably take up drinking something other than beer. This was by far the most interesting session beer of the day.
I also have to recommend their American Brown Ale ‘Flight Path’. They’ve collaborated with local Marrickville coffee roasters Double Roasters to infuse their ‘Flight Path’ blend into this beer which adds a sort of cold drip coffee flavour to the already complex flavours of the ale.
If you only ever buy beer from one brewery every again, please consider these champions.
Visit www.shenanigansbrewing.com for more info.
Happy drinking, friends.