MALT SHOVEL BREWERY (JAMES SQUIRE BEERS)
Address: 99-101 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Camperdown, Sydney
Beers : The James Squire range mainly – “One Fifty Lashes” Pale Ale, “Stowaway” IPA, “Chancers” Golden Ale, “Nine Tails” Amber Ale, “Four Wives” Pilsener and more. Nine mainstay beers widely available. Also other ranges, including the Mad Brewers beers.
Until 1993, this brewery was the source of the famous Hahn beers, made by master brewer Chuck Hahn. It was then bought by the brewing giant Lion, and re-named as the Malt Shovel Brewery. Certainly the best known craft beers made at the Malt Shovel are in the James Squire range of nine mainstay brews, still made under the supervision of Chuck Hahn.
Sceptics may say that a Lion owned brewery cannot produce true craft beers, but they would be judging too harshly. I am happy to say that these are real and genuine, traditional beers brewed with care and honesty.
The James Squire range is to be seen in many pubs and retail outlets, and probably qualifies as the most widely available Sydney craft beer. What it is to have a Lion behind you.
James Squire, the man who gave his name to this range of beers, is best known for his convict past and for being Australia’s first brewer, or at least the first commercial brewer. He was sent from England to Australia in chains for the crime of stealing some chickens – a paltry offence if you ask me. He arrived in Sydney with the First Fleet in 1788. After serving his sentence, he became a free man and started a brewery at Kissing Point on the Parramatta River, in 1798. This was called “The Malting Shovel” and ran for 24 years, using hops grown in Sydney. That is fairly amazing, given the hot, often dry climate that Sydney is well-known for.
As well as having a career as a brewer, James Squire later actually became a constable, and later, his grandson became the first Premier of New South Wales.
Rather than list the fairly big range of beers, please have a look at the James Squire website, which explains the choice in detail.
My favourites are:
James Squire “Stowaway” India Pale Ale, clear copper with tastes of lychee, caramel and minerals. A long bitter hop finish, and 5.6% ABV. This is dry-hopped with English Fuggles, to give lots of bitter hoppy flavour.
James Squire “The Chancer” Golden Ale, clear, deep caramel colour with added roasted wheat that produces toasty flavours and tropical fruit flavours – think mango – from Amarillo hops. Clean, citrusy and refreshing. A cleverly constructed beer with 4.5% ABV.
James Squire “One Fifty Lashes” Pale Ale, gold and slightly hazy, a light aroma of citrus and grapefruit. With added malted wheat, there are notes of lemon, grapefruit and passionfruit with a long nectar finish.
The Malt Shovel Brewery also produces much of the “Kosciusko” Pale Ale and the amazing Mad Brewers exotic and outrageous one-off brews.
I tried the Mad Brewers “Garden de Paradisi”, a limited release Witbier or Wheat Beer ; this is cloudy, gold and with strong aromas of fruit, wheat and spice. Apparently as well as the addition of lime and mandarin peel, a rare West African spice called “Grana Paridisi” (Grains of Paradise) is used in the brew. Delicious, with spice, citrus and African mystery along with 6.2% ABV.
This brewery can only be visited by prior arrangement and is not open to the public. I know, I knocked on the door for five minutes and I still didn’t get in. Hey guys, how about setting up a regular tour time, say once every month?}