BALMAIN BREWING COMPANY
Address: PO Box 604, Balmain, Sydney
Beers : “Original Pilsner”, “Original Pale Ale” and “Original Bock”
Balmain is one of Sydney’s oldest suburbs and in the nineteenth century it was home to the working families whose men laboured in the nearby shipyards, foundries and workshops. There was even a coalmine in Balmain that operated until 1931. A shaft was sunk, then the miners tunnelled north, deep underneath Sydney Harbour.
Complementing this tough, working man’s town, Balmain then boasted that it had more pubs per person than any other town in Australia. Of the over 50 that originally existed, there are still some 20 historic pubs serving cold beer in Balmain. In a complete reversal of its original status, Balmain is now one of the trendy, protected suburbs of Sydney. A nineteenth century workman’s cottage is now a valuable and sought after property, probably worth at least a million dollars.
Right until the mid-1980’s, there was a brewery in Balmain producing fine ales – the Great Old Balmain Brewery. After its closure, it became the dream of a group of dedicated Balmain brewers to re-create iconic Balmain beers. This dream has now become a reality. The new Balmain Brewing Company opened in 2010, and makes three great beers, widely available bottled and on tap in a number of Sydney pubs.
Sampling the Pilsner in “The Dry Dock” pub in Balmain, it pours a clean pale gold, with a light citrus aroma and taste with a strong hop finish. It has a balanced flavour from the Czech and New Zealand Saaz hops, and is 4.5% ABV.
The Pale Ale was next to try at the “Royal Oak”, also in Balmain. It has a trace of cloudiness and is, copper-red with a creamy head. There are rich malty caramels, tropical fruit, spice and citrus. This is an English-style Pale Ale with 4.9% ABV. It uses three hop varieties and four malts – no wonder this is such a stunning beer.
The “Original Bock” can be found in bottles, more commonly in the winter months. This is dark brown with a foamy, caramel head and fruity aromas. It has bitter hop flavours combined with stone-fruit and toffee. Three different malts are used to make this dark beer, and it has 5.5% ABV.
I recommend a walk around the fascinating old town of Balmain. I’ll definitely be returning to sample the craft beer again!