Be sure to visit these 4 Sydney pubs.
An old TV advert in the U.S. held that “Foster’s is Australian for beer.” That might have been true at the time, but these days Australia’s got a lot more beer to offer a thirsty visitor than the usual domestics of Foster’s, VB or Tooheys.
Both craft brewing and microbrewing are gaining popularity, so, after sightseeing a bit during your city break in Sydney, you can slake your thirst at any one of a number of brew pubs and other establishments that focus on lagers, ales and a large range of other brews.
Lord Nelson Hotel and Brewery
Settle down for a pint or three at the Lord Nelson Hotel and Brewery over in The Rocks district. As the name suggests, the brewery serves up English-style ales. Its main claim to fame, in addition to the stellar ratings given by visitors, is that it’s the oldest licensed hotel in Sydney. It originally opened in the 1830s, and has maintained an old-school charm to this day. The house brews are crafted using no added sugars or other ingredients, so it wins props from beer purists.
The brewery’s bar pours brews available year-round as well as seasonal offerings. The Lord Nelson’s brews range from the Victory Bitter British pale ale to the Nelson’s Blood porter to the easy-drinking Quayle Ale.
Once these have whetted your palate, the attached kitchen serves up traditional and non-traditional pub food. The menu includes several vegan or gluten-free options. If you’re looking for more dining options, there’s an upstairs bistro with more formal meals.
4 Pines Brewing Company
Over in Manly, the 4 Pines Brewing Company makes a nice rest stop after touring the harbour — it’s located not far from the ferry wharf. Established in 2008 and named after four Norfolk pine trees chopped down to make way for machine guns during the Second World War, the brewery now offers high-quality beer in a low-key atmosphere.
4 Pines currently offers six different beers: a kölsch, a pale ale, a hefeweizen, an extra special bitter, a stout, a “keller door” special and a cider. Of these, the cider and “keller door” specials are most beloved of brewery visitors, as they are only available at the brewery itself or occasionally in kegs at special events.
The wise staff at 4 Pines suspect you might get hungry on your ferry ride to Manly, so they also offer pub grub, snacks and mains. Their best deal standing is the Monday “Our Shout” promotion, in which patrons get a free beer when they order a main dish. If you can’t make it to Manly on a weeknight, round out the weekend with a trip to sample the Sunday roast and hear live acoustic music along with your beer. But when we went we just had burgers - nothing fancy, but they hit the spot!
Australian Hotel Brewery
In Rouse Hill, the Australian Hotel Brewery serves up cold ones in the open-air brick courtyard next to its modern brewing facility. One of the newest breweries in this list, the Australian earns its place with its award-winning pilsner and pale ale. The pub at the brewery also serves the brand’s line-up of seasonals, which can be quite unique — such as the recent Indian Belgian ale.
Like the Lord Nelson Hotel and 4 Pines, the Australian offers food in addition to its liquid refreshments. Adding to the attraction of its menu, which offers bites ranging from snacks to full meals, the Australian is a popular place for family dining because of the enclosed children’s play area. Reservations are recommended.
Malt Shovel Brewery and Tooheys Brewery
If you’ve got time to make the arrangements, it’s also worth looking into a tour at the Malt Shovel Brewery, which makes the James Squire line of beers, or the Tooheys Brewery. Both of these breweries offer occasional tours, but you have to contact the brewery well in advance to see if they’re able to accommodate your group.
Tooheys Brewery is located in Lidcombe, where one of Sydney’s most recognizable local brands of beer is made. Tooheys lager and Tooheys Old, their darker beer, are staples for local Sidneysiders. Contact Tooheys brewery to find out when tours are offered.
Meanwhile, the Malt Shovel Brewery, which used to make Hahn beer but now is the font of the flavourful James Squire beers, is located in Camperdown. This historic building has been producing beer for over a century. Now, some of the signature brews prepared here include One Fifty Lashes pale ale, the Hop Thief American pale ale and The Constable copper ale. If you can’t find a tour of the brewery that matches your dates in Sydney, James Squire beers are on tap at The Hero of Waterloo pub in The Rocks and at the Grand Hotel in the city centre.
But, why stop at just one brewery in Sydney? When you’re already in the city, have a go and try them all!
I'd love to hear from you! Do you have a favourite watering hole in Sydney? Or have you ever sought out an Aussie bar somewhere else in the world?
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Our Five Favourite Freebies in Sydney
Australian Sweet Treats to Savor.