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