1. Beer is a chicks drink.
By cleverly disguising an epic beer degustation as a high tea, the ladies at Two Birds, Rocks Brewing Co and Bridge Road Brewers ensured a Y-chromosome free Saturday afternoon at Hart’s Pub. This sold out event attracted ladies from all over the beer industry, from those with a burgeoning interest to full on nerd (i.e. me).
Over the course of three and a half hours, we chatted about everything from beer to biology and back again, whilst enjoying nine courses of canapes matched with craft brews. By far, the absolute standout was the unexpectedly delicious curried egg sandwiches matched with Two Birds Golden Ale, however an honourable mention goes to Bridge Road’s champagne-like Chevalier Saison served with smoked salmon and feta.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a high tea without teapots and teacups, which was the method of choice for imbibing our beers. Casually sipping on our dessert – Rocks Brewing Co’s Russian Imperial Stout – out of a crystal cup, surrounded by the greatest number of beer loving women I’ve ever seen in one room, was surely the most elegant way to start Sydney Craft Beer Week.
2. Boilermakers and biltong are a match made in heaven.
Combine beer from Wayward Brewing Co and whiskey from Diageo and you have a boilermaker unlike any other – then multiply that joy by five! As educational as it was delicious, we learnt the proper way to drink a boilermaker (sips, not shots!), how to pick the combinations and how to match with food.
Starting with the complimenting citrusy shortbread flavours of Keller Instinct combined with Glenkiche 12yo, we quickly moved on to something more challenging – cutting through the harshness of the smoky Dalwhinnie 15yo with the fruity and spicy La Saison Petite. It wouldn’t be Wayward without the flagship Camperdown One Pale Ale, nor Diageo with the non-threatening, easy drinking Singleton 12yo. Once paired with some of the most delicious beef jerky (biltong) most of us had ever tasted, it would come as no surpise to me that a few attendees that night went via the bottleshop on the way home (and butcher the next morning!) to recreate such bliss.
3. Other states make alright beer, too.
This year was the first that Pint of Origin made its way to Sydney, showcasing the best beers from around the country. It was the only opportunity many Sydney-siders had to try the beers that never make their way here – the kind that are so good thirsty locals in other states drink them all up before they have a chance to get anywhere.
Not only that, but there were plenty of country themed takeovers too – USA, England, Belgium and New Zealand, just to name a few. Although these beers are sometimes found on the shelf, drinking it draught felt like being in their hometown, which makes it just that little bit more special.
4. Mead is f**king strong.
What the f**k is mead? Such a question got answered by none other than Steve Kirby of Stone Dog Meadery, who was the subject of our first ever Crafty Pint article. Thursday night at Yulli’s seems like a tame setting, yet fill the people with five meads and one braggot (that’s a mead beer hybrid, for those who haven’t read my article) and you have one very cost efficient event – like ten standard drinks for $30 type efficient.
Meads of all varieties were presented – from sweet macadamia mead Heading to the Coast to tart sour blackberry mead Prickly Lovin’. Then there was the downright weird, like Intertwined, with cacoa nibs and chipotles. Before you cringe – don’t knock it till you try it, despite the unconventional combination it was one of the night’s favourites. By presenting a variety to suit all tastes, Steve had converted even the most skeptical in the room to the wonders of mead.
5. People like what I write.
Okay, sorry, but I couldn’t write this highlights list without a little humblebrag. I won a trophy at the inaugural Sydney Craft Beer Awards for Champion Beer Writer/Blogger. While it serves as a fantastic drinking vessel, it was also validation that people read and like this blog into which I pour so many hours of time. If you are one of those people – THANK YOU! I couldn’t do it without your support.