When Steve Lamond of Beers I've Known suggested I look out for Murray's beers, I marked the brewery location on my map as somewhere to go when I was driving the camper van back down south towards Sydney. On my second trip to Manly, I had plenty of daylight left so we walked towards the beach to see what it's like. As it turns out, and I had yet to visit, the beach is far more impressive than Bondi beach (no beer articles for Bondi). In fact Manly seems to be more how I picture Bondi to be.
My initial plan as the sun started to dip towards the horizon was to walk along the beach promenade for a bit but that plan utterly failed when I noticed the big Murray's sign.
When you walk in the arch, you then go up some stairs and walk along a balcony and you then have the option of walking in to the bar, it seemed a little odd design-wise but who was I to argue?
What to pick? There are plenty of beers on tap, not all of which are from Murray's but the majority are. Since I still had plans to visit the brewery, I saw no reason to try all the beers.
So I picked a select few, as usual when it is myself and my wife, I pick a beer for me and then something lighter for my wife and I try hers to see what it's like.
There was a great choice of house beers on the chalk board and some of them sounded awesome. So my plans to only have one or two went out the window and I worried there would be nothing new for me to try when I got to the brewery. Feic it.... or Feck it, whichever you prefer. (technically the first one)
If I'm going to start off, why not start with the big guns? Actually I randomly picked and my first duo was the Grand Cru and Hunters Bock. Two strong beers to start with. The Grand Cru was fruity (sweet) and tart at the same time. Stone-fruit is something that is described in the description but to me it is tropical fruits. What is stone-fruit anyway? Near as I can tell, it is anything with a stone type seed in it so a plum or peach. Anyway, the tropical fruit gave way to a spicy plum pudding and all around yumminess. It was strong too at nearly 9% so off to a good start.
The Bock was not theirs from what I can tell it was far less impressive. Nothing wrong with it but it seemed quite light with a little chocolate and strong malty backbone but not a lot to make it stand out. I still don't know who made it.
Next I went for the pale ales. First up was the brilliantly named Nirvana pale ale. This was my wife's favourite. A Jaffa orange delight packed full of pacific northwest style hops, though locally grown in Australia. Also some German Hallertau to give it a slightly spicy kick. It tasted like, er, Nirvana. It was a lovely beer, a fantastic sessionable pale ale.
The double IPA was simply called Icon 2 IPA which to be honest, it's a rubbish name, especially considering how creative the other names are.
That was it, four beers between the both of us and it was time to move on. In this case it was Wednesday so we were heading to 4 Pines for ribs and a pint night.
The next day we went to a fish restaurant in Darling harbour called Bluefush. We were advised it had the best fish and chips in Sydney. Thinking we could just grab some and go, we went to see what it was like. It turned out it was a proper restaurant, though I reckon we could have just ordered and gone. I am not sure if it would have been any cheaper though. Since it was now Thursday, we were feeling the pinch due to just how stupidly expensive Sydney is for someone not on a Sydney wage.
We were glad there was some interesting beer on the menu, one of which was Murray's whale ale. This is actually a wheat beer and reminded me somewhat of Carlow brewing companies Curim. It is crisp, refreshing and somewhat pilsner like. To be honest it's a real thirst quencher and my wife lived it as well. Not very interesting but it does the job nicely.
I was very disappointed by my Endeavour 2010 reserve pale ale. With Galaxy and Amarillo advertised, I was expecting some fun loving criminals. Instead I got a Limp Bizkit. It started off great with a mandarin orange aroma mixed with pineapple but the taste more a watery tropical-esque pale ale. It was perfectly nice, just not something I would consider worth reserving let alone dating.
A note on the Murray's bar in Manly. The bartender told me that they would shortly (probably already the case) closing for 6 weeks or so. When they open next, they will have taken over some more units and have 25 (I counted 11 at the time) beers on tap. There will also hundreds of bottles available as well as a bottle shop (off-license/liquor store).
Between 4 pines and the Murray's bar, why would you want to live anywhere else but Manly?
There will be much more from Murray's to come soon.