38. Pure Blonde

July 25, 2011

Google "Darwin Beer" and this is the number one image you get

In Darwin

38. Pure Blonde

I’ve said it before, but one of the perks of working where I do is that I get to travel around Australia quite a lot, and get to places that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to. Having said that, doing Darwin in 24 hours (get in at 2pm after a five hour flight, leave about the same time the next day) is a stupid thing to do and shows a lack of foresight. I’ve now done this twice, but to my credit, the third time I visited I went up for four days. I got much more out of the trip, the people I saw hopefully thought I was less of an east coast blow-in, and I didn’t feel like death when I got back to Sydney. Well, actually I did, but at least I had the weekend to recover.

This particular trip was my second visit, and also my second in the company of a nearly-famous female ex-footballer. NFFEF likes a beer, but tends to restrict her choice to either Pure Blonde or Corona. The bar we found ourselves outside, Monsoons on Darwin’s notorious Mitchell Street strip, advertises itself as a “restaurant and party bar”. Well, at early lunchtime there was no party going on and the menu looked basic, but they served beer very cold and in pints and we were building up quite a thirst walking the 400 metres from our last appointment to the cab rank so we decided to make a pit stop.

I chose Pure Blonde for three reasons (1) it was advertised as being dispensed at virtually sub-zero temperatures, (2) I thought I should meet another low-carb enemy face on, and (3) NFFEF would have called me out if I’d have ordered anything approaching “boutique”.

It was cold and wet and gave me a slight buzz. It went down in no time flat and I had another before we ventured out into the sweaty heat.


23. Resch’s Draught

May 10, 2010

League player in condoning drinking shock

I was on my way somewhere else.

That’s how you usually end up at The Paragon Hotel, one of two pubs at Circular Quay and the only one you’d really want to go into. The downstairs bar is pretty utilitarian but fine for a swifty when you’re waiting for a ferry, or as a starting point for a crawl through the Rocks. Upstairs is a bit posher but only just. Food’s standard but comes in enormous portions.

For some reason I’d forgotten that The Paragon does Coopers’ (but only on a tap around the corner) so I thought I’d go for a Resch’s Draught, which I’d been surprised to see Louise pick last time we were in here. “I want something thirst-quenching”, she’d said, and she certainly made the right choice. A 4.4% lager, crisp, bitter and with an overpowering taste of barley, it cleanses the palate beautifully and gets you ready for the next beer, whether it be another Resch’s or something more trendy.

Which is, let’s face it, pretty much anything on the taps.  Resch’s is the Toohey’s Old of lagers, in that it’s generally thought that no-one under the age of eighty drinks it by choice. It may be because the last time anyone spent any money advertising it appears to have been 1947, or it may be that it’s the last remaining beer from the old Resch’s Brewery, which officially took that name in 1906. The history of the brewery goes back to 1874, when the owners of West End Brewery in Adelaide set up premises in Waverley, Sydney. For the first two years it was called the Adelaide Brewery but they rather sensibly changed it’s name to the Waverley Brewery in 1876. Edmund Resch joined as manager in 1895, having run breweries with his brothers in rural NSW in the preceding years, giving the brewery (and the beer) his name eleven years later, moving it to Redfern in the bargain. Three years after his death in 1926 Resch’s was taken over by Tooth & Co. Of course, Tooth’s were taken over in their turn by Carlton United (Fosters) in 1983.  Why exactly (and where) Carlton keep brewing Resch’s is anyone’s guess – and you can get it in bottles too, both stubbies and longnecks – but I’m glad they do, not just from the heritage aspect but also because it’s a decent enough drop, one I’ll drink again.

2010 Resch's tap. See what I mean?

Thanks to ‘The Breweries of Australia: A History‘ by Keith M Deutscher (Lothian, 1999) for the above history lesson.


4. Tooheys Old

January 11, 2010
thank you, beerstore.com.au


Once upon a time all Aussie beers were like this. Before the Foster brothers (Americans!) and German immigrants and the introduction of refrigeration, lager was unknown in Australia – too bloody hot and no handy caves near the breweries.

Tooheys have been brewing Old, or something like it,  since 1872. Malty, vanilla-y, and with just a hint of burnt ash and coffee, this is my favourite Australian session ale. There are two other mass-produced dark ales that run it close, but Kent Old is more like a brown ale and Carlton Black is more bitter, and both are more difficult to get on draught in Sydney (although the St Leonard’s Tavern, a short walk from my place, does serve Black). Old has become my default draught in pubs that cater for the older generation. Yes, Tooheys are now part of Lion Nathan,  evil megaswill brewers, but as long as they remember at least a little bit of their history they’ll just about be ok by me.

Details: These were my first draught beers of the year, drunk in two places. The first two schooners slipped down at the Coogee Legion Club. One day I’ll have to do a separate post on Retired Servicemen’s Clubs and their influence on the community in Australia: there’s nothing quite like them anywhere else. Louise and I had been swimming at Coogee and snorkelling at Clovelly (hello British readers, wiping the snow off your keyboards) and popped in here for a couple after some excellent barramundi and chips from the hilariously-titled (sarcasm)  Chish and Fips on the beach.

Getting into one of these places usually entails either becoming a member (generally not that expensive, but Groucho’s rule applies) or proving that you live at least 6km away so that you can sign in as a guest, thanks to NSW’s oddly antiquated licensing laws. The guy on the desk didn’t both to ask us for any ID, which won the place a few points in my book, having had my protestations of “but I’m on holiday from England!” fall on deaf ears at the North Sydney Anzac Club a few months ago. Clearly Gallipoli is still an issue for some.

The beer selection is all the usual suspects (Louise had Resch’s) but, and here’s why we go into these places, the schooners were $3.80 each. And if I’d been a member they’d have been even cheaper.

Wanting to get away from the man/woman duo doing Lionel Richie/Fleetwood Mac covers in the corner, we slid across to the infamous Coogee Bay Hotel. Not being on the pull and not wishing to get glassed in the face, or made to eat their chocolate ice-cream, we only stayed for one and then used their bottlo to get a longneck of the beer of the evening to take home. Lovely day.

Lion Nathan have been bought up by Kirin recently: I wonder if the Japanese, with their love of dark lagers, will get a chance to try Old?

Photo Essay: Kent Brewery

December 29, 2008

Kent Brewery 1

Kent Brewery 2

Kent Brewery 3

Kent Brewery 4

Kent Brewery 5

These are pictures of the Kent Brewery site on Broadway, Chippendale, just down the road from Central Station, taken earlier this month.

The Kent Brewery was opened in 1835 by Sydney’s original big brewery, Tooth and Co. In 1983 Carlton & United (CUB) took over Tooth’s and brewed VB and Foster’s (amongst other things) here. In 2003, it was sold to developers and finally shut in 2005, the beers formerly brewed there now being brewed in Victoria and Queensland on cheaper real estate, I’d imagine. It will eventually be the usual mix of swanky apartments and retail/office space. Details of the closure announcement are here and more history than you might ever need to know is here. You’ll be pleased to hear that the gates (pictured in the last two pictures above) will remain, although I bet they wash off the residue on the tiles from the original “Tooth & Co Limited Kent Brewery” lettering, which you can still just about see.

The last picture above was a prize-winner in the second annual A Good Beer Blog / Stonch’s Beer Blog Xmas Photo Competition. Thanks Alan and Jeff! I’d never heard of Beaus’s All Natural Brewing Company before but I’m looking forward to receiving their t-shirt and hat in due course.