54-61 Harts Pub/Melbourne/Canberra/Harts again

December 11, 2012
although it's part of his industry

No, not his…

Harts Pub is an old-fashioned place, situated in a big old private residence  in The Rocks area of Sydney. It’s been a pub for quite some time but went through a lengthy refurb process which ended in 2009. As well as being a pub it’s also home to The Rocks Brewery, and their beers feature on the pumps alongside other NSW craft brews. Pints are the order of the day here, at quite, ahem, exclusive prices ($11+). The ambience is more like an English pub than most in Sydney, with a labyrinth of small rooms, fireplaces and wood.

The first time I went here in 2010 I had two pints, both from the in-house brewer: 54. 1809 Pale Ale and 55. Cribb’s Porter. I don’t appear to have made any notes but I think this was on a visit with our tall friends, and I think we headed off after two for some cheaper beer that tasted more like Coopers.

Another work trip to Melbourne soon after meant another pit stop at Beer Deluxe, and this did produce some notes:

56. Temple Soba Ale made with buckwheat, nearly gluten free. Light golden colour. As warms in mouth fleeting wheat taste. Mostly citrus hops though. Brewed for Japanese festival, had Japanese garden outside.

57. Murray’s Punch and Judy English bitter ale. Warned that it is mid strength, 3.8. OK!! Has the look of a classic bitter. Doesn’t taste mid strength, as she said. Nutty, actually more bitter than most bitters, still taste that despite bitterness of prev beer. Citrus hops again! Curse you Murray’s and the Oz craft brewer obsession with mouth-puckering hops!

Temple’s a brewery whose products I generally like, but this one didn’t really do it for me. Murray’s get a lot of press and have a reputation (and charge prices) that I don’t think their beers deserve. Anyone who calls themselves ”Australia’s most extreme brewer” needs to grow up a bit, I reckon. There’s nothing big or clever about shoving bucketloads of Cascade and Amarillo hops into your beers – bitterness is not an end unto itself.

I was a busy flyer back in 2010 and ended up in Canberra (again) soon after. Canberra, of course, means The Wig and Pen, and as well as drinking some of the lovely beers I’d sampled there before, I had a snifter of 58. Wig and Pen Big Ass.  My notes read:

9 per cent only served in wine glasses. Handpump. Tastes like a really strong bitter. Errr that’s it. Bit fruity.

I recall being quite disappointed with this. I was expecting complexity, some warmth perhaps, but there was nothing. Oh well.

Back in Sydney I paid another visit to Hart’s Pub, this time in the company of Lorkers. We took out a joint mortgage and managed four pints each in here. The records don’t show what Julian drank, but I started with 59. Paddy’s Pilsener from Paddy’s Brewery at Flemington, next to Sydney Markets. My notes simply state:

tastes like Holsten!

This is a good thing. Next I tried another beer from the in-house Rocks Brewery,  60. Byrne’s Red Ale which I think has now been rebadged as The Boxer Red Ale. As I recall, this was malty and inoffensive. I then had another pint of the Cribb’s Porter I’d had on my last trip, so it must have been ok the first time, and finished things off with another one from Paddy’s Brewery, a pint of 61. Paddy’s Old Regret. My notes say

dark, sweet, 5.8.

I must get up to Flemington at some point and give the Paddy’s stuff another go.

I’ve been to Hart’s Pub a few times since and liked it less every time. It’s got busier, which isn’t a problem in itself (means it’ll stay around longer) but seems to have engendered a “who cares” attitude in the staff. Popping in for one on my own a few months ago I got the distinct impression from the barmaid that my order wasn’t important and that I was some sort of freak for having the correct change for my pint. The amount of credit cards behind the bar financing tabs told its own story.

Advertisements

24-31. What happened?

March 6, 2011

It’s been ten months. And I’ve been busy. Busy working. Busy travelling. Busy presenting.

George Martin is my mentor

Studio A at 2MBS, last week.

And busy drinking too. But somehow the list of beers I’d drunk overwhelmed me and inertia took over as far as writing any of them up properly. But I kept that list going, and made some notes along the way. Rather than attempt full-on reviews of all of them, here’s part one of a whistle-stop tour through that list, with the occasional comment/picture to shed light where it exists.  Eyes down for a full house…

24. Old Admiral

The Lord Nelson Hotel maintains that it’s the oldest pub in Sydney. It probably is, but it’s only been brewing it’s own beer since 1985. Does some good stuff too. Did I go in there in 2010? Not sure, but I bought a six-pack of their Old Admiral, one of the two beers they make available in this way, Three Sheets being the other. A thick, strong (6.1%) porter, Old Admiral is a nice way to finish an evening. They serve it too cold in the pub though.

25. Hatlifter Stout

I reviewed this in my stout taste test in 1999. My views haven’t changed.

A Friday at The Marly

The Marlborough Hotel, Newtown

26. James Squire Porter

27.  James Squire Mad Brewers Orchard Ale

I drank these both at The Marlborough Hotel (aka The Marly) in Newtown with Louise and her two tallest friends. You don’t often get the porter on draught outside of the James Squire Brewhouses, so this was a nice treat for me. Like a creamier, more vanilla-y Old.

The previous Mad Brewers release I’d tried was really awful, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Orchard Ale. I’m a sucker for a saison (which is the base for this beer), and the apple taste worked well. I’d like them to make this one again. I had it on draught (I think the Marly was one of only a handful of pubs to have it that way) but it was released in longnecks too.

A Friday at The Local Taphouse

Nude (1930) by Edwin Holgate (1892-1977)

28. Holgate Road Trip IPA

29. Feral Barrel aged Saison

The Local Taphouse opened in Darlinghurst in early 2008 and I’ve not been there nearly as often as I should have been. It’s on the wrong side of town for me, which is part of the problem, and if I went here frequently I’d have no money or liver left, but I think the main reason I haven’t been more often is that I don’t feel 100% comfortable in here. I like beer, but not at the level that these guys do. I feel a bit intimidated. Still, it’s doing really well and I’m glad it’s there. Maybe it’s me that needs to do the work.

Anyway, I was there with Lorkers, who’d just started his new job at UNSW so that dates it to early March 2010. I had a Trumer Pils to quench my thirst, German and so not to be counted. I’m sure it was fine. I have no notes on the Holgate Road Trip IPA or the Feral Barrel Aged Saison but I seem to recall being vaguely disappointed with the saison. They’re both breweries I’d like to visit at some point – I’ve enjoyed most of the Holgates I’ve tried, and Feral look like they do some interesting stuff.

A Monday at Beer Deluxe

Shirley Temple. Probably not drinking beer.

30. Temple Saison through a Randall
31. Temple Saison in a bottle

Looks like I was going through a saison phase. Beer Deluxe is in Federation Square in Melbourne, where I was on business. I was also just starting a bout of the genuine ‘flu, so my head was swimming even without the beer. Beer Deluxe doesn’t look particularly exciting from the outside, but it has a good selection of aussie micros on tap and a fridge full of bottled wonders so I always try to pop in here when I’m south of the border. They also have one of those randall things, a chamber between the barrel and the tap, usually filled with a beer-related ingredient, which the beer shoots through under pressure on its way to the tap and subsequently your glass. It was full of hops when I turned up, which they were putting the Temple Saison through. I had a schooner of the draught though the randall, and then a bottle of it au naturel, to see if I could tell the difference. I could a bit, but I was feeling rather unwell.

So unwell that when the barman had come over and showed me a 750ml $30 bottle of a rare saison and left it on my table, in my befuddled state I thought he’d given it to me to keep. As I staggered out of the door he came hurtling along to explain that it wasn’t a gift. I got in a cab, went to the airport and spent the next three days in bed.