Wednesday, August 15, 2018

All Hands Brewing House

Got together with my old mate Jon last night, meeting at the All Hands Brewing House at King St Wharf. The venue is conveniently located at the bottom end of Erskine Street in the city (of Sydney), close to King St Wharf.  It's even more conveniently located near to Beer Deluxe, which gives us more choice than we really need on a weeknight.  Best stick to the one place.

This place started its existence as a James Squire mini-brewhouse, back in the early 00s from memory. I remember going to the launch of the Golden Ale (now called The Chancer) at this venue, with legendary brewer Chuck Hahn holding centre stage. I recall the amazing flavour of a newly imported hop variety called Amarillo.

Compared with the hop range today, Amarillo is kinda old hat. One particular AHBH beer manages to fit in six different varieties, old and new, including Cascade, Chinook, Topaz, Centennial, Simcoe, and Fortnight.

As with all good brewhouses, AHBH offers a tasting paddle of four choices, for $18, which is great value.  I selected the following (listed from right to left in the photo):

Longneck Best Bitter 4.1%
An immediate flashback to a London pub was quickly subdued by the modern influx of US hop notes. A fairly light body and easy drinking. However, when returning to it after sipping the others, it couldn't hold its own.  Drink this before trying the others.

Dunkel in the Rye Dark Lager 4.6%
Toasty, chocolate, medium body, and very drinkable. Good length and a good alternative to the ubiquitous IPAs. Speaking of which....

Hump Day I.P.A. 6.2%
Well, it was Wednesday, so an appropriate inclusion. Six different hops according to the blurb, with the tropical fruit and pine notes generally associated with US ales.  Strong guava/green seed notes that always reminds me of lantana. Not bad.

Skinny D.I.P.A. 8.9%
The pick of the bunch so far, with the aforementioned combination of hops, with a great malty spine to counterbalance.  Candy notes, apricot, pine. Comes in at 45 IBU, which I think could easily be ramped up.

I hooked into this while waiting for Jon to arrive, and when he did, we moved on to happy hour pints of Wood Duck Cream Ale, at 4.7%., and at $8 a pint. Nice.

This was certainly a revelation, being delivered via nitro tap (the black board said hand-pumped, but this was not the case), displaying the beguiling upside-down head as it formed out of bright, creamy, apricot hues.  A very malt-driven style, and a wonderful alternative to the fruit bombs of US & Pacific pale ale styles.  A great session ale, as Jon described it, and certainly worth the visit to AHBH for this alone.

I was pleased to see the Certified Independent logo on the AHBH web site.  I became aware of this a few weeks back when visiting Newcastle, and is an initiative of the Independent Brewers Association. Look for this logo.

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