ST PETERS BREWERY
Address: 15 May St, St Peters, Sydney
Type: former Brewery and Brewpub at “Pumphouser” 17 Little Pier St, Darling Hbr
Beers : “Thunderbolt” Strong Ale, “1891” Honey Porter, “E’ville” and “Pumphouse” Pilsner, “Killagh” Stout and more including seasonal batches.
When the Sydney Hydraulic Power Company built this pump house in 1898 with its immense water tank on the roof, it wasn’t to deliver drinking water to thirsty Sydneysiders, but to deliver power. Yes, power. Strange as it may seem today, its purpose was to pump water at high pressure from its storage tank, through hundreds of pipes crisscrossing Sydney, to eventually reach a host of water-powered devices. Lifts, cranes and wool-presses were powered in this way. Water pressure was even used to open and close massive steel doors in Sydney banks.
After 85 years of service, water power was no longer needed since electricity was of course, a lot more convenient. The pump house was due for demolition in 1975, but fortunately it was saved and converted into a microbrewery, soon to become part of the new Darling Harbour development. Here the first “Thunderbolt” Strong Ale was brewed; a dark amber beer with a floral, hop aroma and a tasty hop bitterness tempered with lemon and light malt.
Many other beers have followed since – “1891” Honey Porter, “Killagh” Stout at the darker end, and “E’ville” and “Pumphouse” Pilsner – light and refreshing pilsners, clear and golden with an aroma and taste of lemon zest, and a long hop finish. I tried the “Pumphouse” Pilsner on a particularly hot, summer day, and sitting in the cool of the brewpub with an icy glass of this beer was rewarding, to say the least.
In 1999, the brewery was moved to a new location in the nearby suburb of St Peters, where the beers are now produced under the name of the St Peters Brewery. The historical pumping station is now an important St Peters Brewery brewpub and is called the “Pumphouse Bar”or simply the “Pumphouse”. The “Thunderbolt” Strong Ale is “still going strong” and is at its best here on tap, as well as being available in nice big bottles.
The “Pumphouse Bar” also serves many Australian and international beers, and is one of Sydney’s finest craft beer pubs. There’s definitely a message here, I think. Something about turning water into beer…