Address: 268 Parramatta Rd, Flemington
Type: Brewery and Brewpub
Beers : “General Sherman” Pale Ale, Pilsener and Porter
Paddy’s Brewery at the Markets Hotel, is right next door to the huge Sydney Markets at Flemington. Within sight of Paddy’s Bar and Brewery is the vast expanse of Sydney’s main fruit and vegetable market. Wholesale produce from all over Australia arrives here, to be sold on to shops and restaurants all over the city and beyond.
The day that I was at Paddy’s Brewery, there were three beers on tap – a dark, fruity Pilsener, (yes, a dark pilsener), a really flavoursome extra hoppy pale ale with hints of citrus and passionfruit, called “General Sherman” and a rich, dark malty Porter. This is a beer very similar to the better-known Stout, and which is now is making a comeback after nearly disappearing in the Great Lager Invasion of post-war years.
Walking across the market grounds to Paddy’s involves dodging the many forklifts loaded high with boxes of apples, tomatoes and every kind of food that our Aussie soil can produce. Of course, years ago, all this would have been carried around by men with carts using only muscle power; in other words, porters. This leads very neatly into the Story of How Porter (the beer) Got Its Name.
Back in eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain, a porter wasn’t just someone who carried your bags at the railway station. To transport all sorts of items across the big cities, such as food, furniture, coal, salt and even the local mail, required a dedicated army of people to move all this stuff around. Horses (with carts) were quite expensive and only the rich could afford these expensive animals – manpower was much cheaper and more readily available. The porters would load up their handcarts with sacks of potatoes and other vegetables in Shoreditch and then wheel them all the way to the West End of London – hot and thirsty work even in cold old England.
Anyway, with all this expenditure of energy, the choice of refreshment for these men was a newly popular dark beer. The use of intensely roasted barley malt gave it an almost black colour, and it was slightly sour and tangy to really hit the spot. This beer soon became the namesake of its favourite tipplers – Porter. From being a really commonplace beer in Australia (1914), it steadily lost its popularity, as the uniform, pale lagers took over. Well, good news; with the rise of craft beer, Porter, as well as many other beers, is making a strong comeback. Today, Paddy’s Brewery makes a really good Porter.
Just think, if we were giving that beer a name today it might be called “Forklift”…or “Ford Transit” or… whatever.