FLAT ROCK BREW CAFE
Address: 290 Willoughby Rd, Naremburn
Type: Brewery and Brewpub
Beers : varies, but usually English Bitter, Golden Ale, Pale Ale, Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter and an India Pale Ale (this is the Flat Rock beer list only).
The Flat Rock Brew Café is one of Sydney’s best-loved craft beer venues. As well as making their own beers, the café has probably the largest selection of bottled craft beers, from all over the world. On top of this, the food served is of gourmet standard, and there are daily specials, such as Seared Tuna served with a piperade, charcuterie sharing plates and Kipflers with Roasted Garlic. The Flat Rock Café is on Willoughby Road, just before it meets the Warringah Expressway.
The Flat Rock Creek, after which the café is named, flows through rugged bushland, surprisingly only a twenty minute walk away. The area around the café is quite built-up, so for me to find a quiet valley with a creek running along it was an unexpected bonus. If you walk down to the creek (to work up a thirst!), you also pass by the Henry Lawson Cave. This is where the great Australian poet sometimes came to get away from the crowds, to be on his own and to think and write. Opposite the cave is a small amphitheatre, and on special anniversaries, public readings of Henry Lawson’s poems are given here in commemoration of the great man.
There are usually six Flat Rock beers on tap, including a Golden Ale and a Pale Ale. The Golden Ale is a hazy, deep amber with plenty of hop bitterness and a citrus finish. This has 5.4% ABV. The Pale Ale is similar with a superb malt-hop balance, and tropical fruit notes.
There are also two porters – a Chocolate Porter and a Coffee Porter. The Coffee Porter is nearly black with a taste of roasted malt and espresso. Plenty of coffee flavour in this excellent Porter and it has 4% ABV. A drink to relax you and wake you up at the same time!
The English Bitter, for which the Flat Rock Brew Café is well-known, is the best of this style that I have found in Sydney. It is made with East Kent Goldings hops, and the beer is then conditioned in casks. Drawn by hand pump, it is copper-coloured with a lacy head, and it has that characteristic rustic, floral taste with nectar notes. It is low in carbonation, as it should be, has 4.3% ABV, and is served at a slightly higher temperature than most Aussie-style beers.
There is also a popular India Pale Ale on tap. The actual list of Flat Rock beers varies as seasonal brews come and go.
The Flat Rock Brew Café is well worth a visit – their beers are only available at this venue. The café is open Wednesday to Friday from 3pm to 11pm, Saturday noon to 11pm and on Sundays from noon to 10pm.
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