As part of #JERF (just eat real food) – and I know it’s a bit of a stretch – I have been drinking craft beer. And it makes a difference in so many ways:
- Local – you can get your local, I have 3 craft breweries within 2k of my front door.
- Additive free – as compared to mass produced beers, your small batch, local, craft beer will contain much less additives (if any)
- Unusual beers – get a proper Pilsner, Weißbier or Gose that you won’t get from the 2 big ones
- Know the Braumeister – as in the guy that actually brews your beer, which you bump into when you stop by to refill your growler
Here are a my locals:
Nomad is my local favourite. They are walking distance-ish and have an awesome range of regular beers alongside some amazing limited editions brews. They also have a tiny, comfy tasting room with live music every Saturday arvo.
Beers: Sideways (Pale Ale), Jet Lag (IPA), Long Trip (Spiced Season) and Cruisin’ Ale (Aussie Ale). My Favourite is the Freshie Salt & Pepper a GOSE – finished with real sea water harvested from Freshwater.
Modus Operandi are 10k up the road in Mona Vale. Similar to Nomad they got the good regular stuff and some funky specials. Their tasting room is packed on Sundays.
4 Pines is probably the largest of the craft breweries – but as far as I know still independent. They do Kölsch, Hefeweizen, Pale Ale and Stout as regulars and their limited editions are called Keller Door. They also do an amazing Ginger Beer (called Brookvale Union).
If you get a chance, visit their tasting room / brew pub in Manly right opposite the wharf. Great atmosphere and the food is not shabby either.
Dad & Dave’s being the smallest of the craft breweries. They do exactly 3 beers: #1 Pale Ale, #2 Belgian IPA and #3 Pils. Interestingly they started their business for the same 2 reasons my Dad did: lack of cash and their passion (unfortunately my Dad’s passion wasn’t brewing beer).
Here are my favourites from across the ditch (that is the Tasman Sea meaning New Zealand):
Wanaka Beerworks topping the charts these days… because it also matters where you have the beer. And any location on the shore of Lake Wanaka with a Cardrona Gold (Vienna Style Golden Lager), Brewski (Bohemian Style Pilsner) or Treble Cone (Wheat Beer) can’t go wrong.
Wellington is (evidently) the craft beer capital (pun intended) … having a craft beer trail (with corresponding map). Now you go on this trail until your liver stops playing along. 3 of them to highlight:
Garage Project is probably my favourite. They have a really broad range of beer and they are available widely (as in my local bottleshop). In fact there are so many, I don’t even have a favourite. Having said that, the Cherry Bomb is a perfect match to chocolate covered coffee beans (and I don’t normally like my beers dark).
Tuatara next on the list. Their APA (Aotearoa Pale Ale – Aotearoa is Maori for New Zealand, in case you’re not fluent) is fantastic … and occasionally on shelf at my local.
Finally the Fork & Brewer is always a winner. And yes, it’s in the name. They do a awesome range of craft beers on tap… and you get some decent food along your brew.
One last one. Not to be missed. Being German, beer is what I grew up on (explains a lot, doesn’t it). And good beer that is… reason being that most breweries are regional (at least in the South where I am from) or even local and have an integrated product concept. Probably not as experimental as the hipster craft brewers of the Anglo-Saxons, but honest & good beer. Too many to list. 2 worth mentioning:
Rothaus is a state / government owned brewery, yeap you’re right, I come from the only state globally that owns a brewery (explains even more, doesn’t it). Their trade mark beer is a Pils called Tannenzäpfle (small pine cone) and it is an institution!
But even the small town where I’ve grew up can’t prevent the hipster movement of microbreweries. (Not that I am complaining…) They now have a place called Barfüßer which is pretty much a restaurant / mircobrewery. Much more restaurant than brew pub and they only do a few beers, but hey food & beer is good and that’s pretty awesome for my good old home town!