Crown Golden Ale – beerp0rned

In situ – MV Queenscliff

Crown Lager was a board room staple in the 90s. If you wanted to convey success and confidence, then Crown was the drop. Whether the beer was any good or not, the bottle was unique, the shape was classy and the gold labelling topped things off.


Crown Golden

For whatever reason, CUB decided to dilute that exclusivity. The most heinous crime was the Crown Mid, which, if memory serves, had a yellow as opposed to gold label. Stoopid – but some sports venues mandated the 3.5%.

Crown Golden Ale created a kerfuffle at the time of its launch with ridiculous hyperbole that was always going to be lampooned. But 12 months on, it remains on sale and the livery works. Think of it as the away strip. Same colours, but reversed. The iconic gold and black (not the ’77 Melbourne Cup winner), but it’s black and gold.


Photographs well

It isn’t the worst beer ever made. It’s perfectly potable and eminently smashable in a heatwave. There’s a mild hop profile that makes it more interesting than its golden big brother. Same bottle, better beer, IMHO.

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The 2015/16 daylight savings season begins with heat

We like our milestones and astronomical markers on the Back of the Ferry. Yesterday marked the first day of Daylight Saving travel on the BotF for 2015. No special beers for the trip, but I am partial to a can as opposed to a stubbie on sweltering days like yesterday (35 degrees).


The DK Lillee brow mop

Like moths to a flame, a solid quorum gathered to mark the occasion. Lamb0 has undertaken to be more diligent in future posts marking such occasions as solstices, equinoxes and the like. The daylight savings means the steady arrival of big cruise ships and on cue one was berthed at Circular Quay, adding to the postcard panoramas we get to enjoy on each trip.


Big boats begin berthing

Sydney’s been hit by an early heatwave and sunscreen really should have been worn on this trip. Since weather records have been kept, we’ve not had two hotter October days in succession. Over the weekend that meant thousands of tourists flocking to Manly’s beaches. Fortunately, we have a newly ex-prime minister as our local member with plenty of time on his hands. He can do more patrols than his schedule previously allowed at Queenscliff SLSC, whilst keeping an eye on the horizon and ensuring that his signature (only?) achievement remains intact. Our beaches and borders are safe.

Former PM photo bombs

Drinking in Singapore with old mates and Dragonfruit beer

A flying visit to Singapore was not expected to throw up much in the way of anything really. I was in the Lion City for 28 hours and any down time was going to be spent watching footy finals in a raucous expat bar. 

Cyril – fancy seeing you here!


Work finished a tad early and despite the warnings from locals about the haze I decided to walk to Robertson Quay from Boat Quay and just check out possible future destinations and maybe visit RedDot for a cheeky one on the way. As I checked in my DragonFruit beer (made to celebrate SG50), I noticed another check in from Singapore. A quick text revealed that Cyril Dickthorpe, BotF’s IT correspondent was in town. “See you in 5”. The wonders of social media and Untappd in particular. 

Dragonfruit beer and insane wings


I like RedDot and remember enjoying a hideous looking green beer, which I shared with Cyril. What I didn’t share was the hottest wings I’ve ever had. Chicken Fagra are little mid wings with a liberal dusting of spice and Szechuan pepper that left my mouth numb and burning for about half an hour. Not pleasurable. Good to see you Cyril.


Hazy sun over Clarke Quay

The stroll along the river is always pleasant, even in the haze and humidity. The haze from Indonesian and Sumatran bushfires is an annual event. Earlier in the week schools were closed down and many outdoor bars shut. My old band mate (The Bladdamastas), Graeme almost pulled the pin on outdoor drinking, but acquiesced as on Friday the haze wasn’t so bad.

There are no shortage of expat bars in Singas. Boomarang (sic) at Robertson Quay is very popular and with the draw of simultaneous finals – the haze wasn’t deterring anyone. A bucket of Coopers Pale (love the export Roo) seemed as good as any choice. As the sun goes down outdoor drinking is excellent. Thanks for the catch up, Graeme. See you soon. 

Finals, Graeme and Coopers Pale Export


Cisk Lager – a Maltese surprise from Mr Liquor

Mr Liquor’s capacity to surprise has grown of late. He really outdid himself yesterday, providing illiards and I with our first Maltese beer (thanks Untappd for pointing that out). 

Cisk (pronounced Chisk) Lager is brewed by the loftily named Simonds Farsons Cisk Ltd. This company is the result of a number of mergers and it is quite the conglomerate. Beer, soft drinks, fast food etc. it must get confusing and their website indicates they’ve mixed up product lines with a Chill range of fruit flavoured beers, that look like soft drink.

Cisk Lager is a totally innocuous lager with not much of anything really. Nice bottle top.


A return to the Great Britain Hotel and a pint of GBH

In 2010 and 2011, this correspondent beat a frequent path to Melbourne. Many a post work debrief was spent in the pubs of the inner city suburbs. Yesterday, I had the good fortune to revisit one of my favourites – the Great Britain Hotel.

The GBH and GBH draught

I liked it because of its in-house tap beer, which was appealingly named “Piss“. Naturally a post was written about the experience. Piss is no longer available. Didn’t have a chance to enquire as to why, but perhaps the staff tired of sniggering requests for “a pot of Piss, thanks”. It has been replaced or perhaps Piss’ name has been replaced by GBH Draught. (Not a bad name either way you interpret it). 

Furphy and a street view

Also on tap is Furphy Refreshing Ale. This kolsch style beer comes from Little Creatures’ Geelong Brewery and is Victorian to its boot strap. The navy and white livery, the big V and its ingredients are all Victorian. A pretty good beer, which does what it suggest. Keep an eye for it.

Last time I visited the Great Britain Hotel, the portrait above the door was of an unrecognisable (to me) man of Middle Eastern appearance. No doubting who looks over the entrance at the moment.


Barrio Cellar and @RiversideBrew Cellar Door

Popped into a couple of previously not visited venues on the weekend, which are at opposite of some sort of spectrum.


Barrio Cellar is a relatively new addition to the increasing number of CBD bars that one accesses down a flight of stairs from street level. Unlike places like Stitch Bar and Uncle Ming’s there is clear signage indicating Barrio Cellar’s presence. It can be found on the northern side of Elizabeth Street just west of Martin Place. I popped in on a Friday arvo for a quick catch up with a colleague and the crowds were flooding in.

No prizes for guessing this bar’s big ticket item. Some beautiful bottles adorn the bar and signs proclaim the ubiquitousness of tequila. There is one beer on tap and a functional list of bottled beer including a Feral or two. I like how you can drink at the bar and watch the clearly skilled bar staff at work. Food menu looks promising and the burger has received good reviews. I tried the fried olives, which were definitely aided by the blue cheese sauce. All up a cool joint.

Riverside Brewery

For the next couple of months I will be chauffeuring a daughter on Saturdays runs to the Hills district of Sydney. That’s given me the excuse to finally visit Riverside Brewery and its cellar door. Its opening hours (2 – 6pm not 12 to 4 as indicated by Google (grrr)) coincide nicely with rehearsal times.
Riverside Brewery seems to have survived the shock departure of its founding brewer, Dave Padden (gidday, Dave) and it is creating some interesting heavy beers as well as maintaining its solid core range.

Scenes from a brewery

The cellar door has a small area with boxes and crates to sit upon as well as a bar to belly up to and have a chat to the guys. Tasters, growler fills and bottles are available and on this particular Saturday there was some one offs available.

I was glad they had small glasses available because both tasters I had were big ABV beers. Anything above 8 is a big ‘UN in my opinion. The Tzar Imperial Red Ale and the Yeasts of Bourbon were 9 and 10 respectively. The YoB was stunning. Boozy in a Liquor soaked Christmas pudding kind of way. The Tzar is a challenging beer. Tea and fennel are in the mix and both are apparent. Plenty going on – but for mine, I’m not sure of the combo.

Got my growler filled, bought a unique long neck  (Othello’s Curse) and have an option that is better than sitting in a carpark in West Pennant Hills for a couple of hours. Happy Days.

The Tzar – a complex drink

New member – Jeremy

It’s been some time between new members, but our latest inductee has been a long time reader of Back of the Ferry from afar and has played a part in expanding our international readership.

Jeremy is a sibling of one of the BotF founders and has traversed the globe on many occasions to almost the four corners. He’s lived overseas for a number of years, but is a Sydneysider at heart. His journey was held in the most pleasant of conditions and naturally concluded with a solid session at 4 Pines (as all good inductions should).

So to the important questions:

Favourite beverage; Reschs (especially after a long time OS)

Favourite sport to spectate; Eastwood Rugby

Area of trivial expertise; 16th century thalassocracies (look it up, ed)

Induction ceremony conducted on the MV Queenscliff and witnessed by bladdamasta and oompaloompa


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