Back of the Ferry’s love of a rooftop beer is well documented. One of the world’s finest is the rooftop of Hotel Sweeney – 236 Clarence. That might seem like lofty praise for something that is only 4 floors up, but the combination of fine beer, cheap hearty grub and outdoor drinking makes it a winner for mine.
The killer is the four flights of stairs. You really earn your first drink when you reach the top. The trick is to remember to order your food on Level 2 before you head on up to the roof (officially known as “Dot’s Rooftop“). The food’s good. Choice of Thai or Pub. I had the signature “Chimney Burger”, which features a tender minute steak and satay sauce. You aren’t left hungry.
They’ve gone to some effort to keep the rooftop in use during the winter (and yes – for Sydneysiders – it’s been bitterly cold) with heaters and blankets. You can also knit a pretty thick beer blanket with terrific dark beers on offer at the moment. Last visit I had an amber and a couple of darks that I hadn’t tried and all very good with one bring exceptional.
I’m gravitating towards ambers and reds this winter. Just perfect for the weather and those deep caramel malt tones warm me up every time. Rocket Science Red Planet is a belter and a wonderful example of the style.
One of the very best beers I’ve had recently was Judas the Dark, by Woolshed Brewery. This South Australian brewer has produced a stunning dark ale. The use of Roasted wattleseed provide a nuttiness that combines well the chocolate malt of a solid dark. At 4.7% ABV, it is a perfect lunch time beer. I’ll be visiting Woolshed Btewery if I can get anywhere near SA.
Rock’s Brewing seasonal stout – “Anileation” – is a terrific dry Irish Stout (more Sheaf than Guinness). Get it while it lasts.
An in situ post (MV Queenscliff)
No, we haven’t accidentally reposted last week’s post. Mr Liquor has clearly fallen for the charms of the NLW sales rep, who according to the sticker distributes Birrificio Angelo Poretti beers. He’s added Originale (4 Luppoli) to his fridge to accompany Tre Luppoli and a couple of other Italian beers. He sells it by the stubbie (330ml) and an attractive 3 pack.
Again I’ll let the website provide the brewer’s description. “Thin Adherent” is again not an enticing phrase, but this time I’ve shown the Italian and English wording to give context.
The beer isn’t that hoppy. It’s more a Euroswill Malt Bomb lager. Very Menabrea/Moretti. Not the best for a chilly night on the BotF. A summer smasher, but all 4 hops have as much presence as a NSW forward pack at Lang Park last Wednesday or they cancel each other out or they were in the vicinity of the brewery when the beer was made. Take your pick.
An in situ post (MV Narrabeen)
It is a red letter day these days when Mr Liquor at Circular Quay stocks something the BotF boys haven’t tried. Tonight he’s outdone himself with Birrificio Angelo Poretti’s Tre Luppoli in a hefty 660ml bottle making an appearance on his shelves.
Such a grandly named well packaged beer deserves the full Back of the Ferry beer p0rn treatment. Just a shame it is so dark. Birrificio Angelo Poretti was founded in 1877 by Angelo Poretti in a small town not far from Milan. After a few takeovers it has ended up in the hands of the rapacious Carlsberg Group. That’s not immediately apparent from the label but it’s dark and this correspondent is no longer capable of reading fine print, especially when it is in Italian.
Tre Luppoli means 3 Hops. BAP makes 5 varieties each with an increasing number of hop varieties, capping out at 7. Tre Luppoli is the pale lager of the family and does actually have a malt and hop profile that is better than the limpid description the Brewers own website proclaims. It’s perfectly pleasant, with a little effervescence. Perhaps an occasional upgrade for pommy_ch and lamb0 who remained wedded to their VB longnecks.
Today’s been a long day. On the 6am to Melbourne and the 6.30pm back to Sydney. It hasn’t been Qantas’s finest day but the detail is dull. Qantas’s inability to provide accurate guidance on departure and boarding meant that I discovered the Crown Lager Bar in the Melbourne Qantas Domestic Terminal.
It is a smart place worth finding. They advertise that they show sport and iThey serve a cold beer. Not surprisingly The Crown Lager Bar is a temple to Crown Lager. From the gold kegs in the glass menagerie at the entrance, to the Crown gold and black colour scheme which is applied to tables, chairs and poles to the three taps all pouring Crown Lager – this bar is on a singular message (except I think you can also get a Crown Gold in a bottle).
There are drink options for people that want something other than a Crown (cider, wine, spirits), but that won’t change the colour scheme. This is a smart looking place and will definitely become popular particularly if Qantas get prematurely trigger happy on “Go to Gate” announcements.
“You’ve been approved to attend the conference in New York”.
These words from this correspondent’s boss signaled the good fortune of getting a corporate ticket to the Big Apple. That evening, before I could finish asking the mrs “do you want to come to New York?” she had her bag packed and was waiting by the door.
After a 30 hour journey from Wellington to NYC, there was no thought of tiredness or sleep, after all this is the city that never sleeps and I’d never set foot here before. A whirl wind first day that was free of corporate responsibilities saw a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, a very moving visit to the 9/11 memorial and a nosy at Wall Street.
The next 2 days were spent in the suit and tie fulfilling official duties. My newly acquainted American industry colleagues were quick to point out Flight of the Concords and the All Blacks to me – probably their only knowledge of New Zealand.
Once formalities were over, the formal attire was gladly hurled into the back of the suit case and out came the shorts and jandals to cope with the 30+ Celsius days (I should say 86 Fahrenheit). After a couple of days in the burbs of New Jersey (and afar) with mrs kiwisinoz’s extended family, it was back to Manhattan.
I booked tickets online well in advance from NZ to a game at Yankee Stadium. Couldn’t believe my luck when I saw there would be a game at this iconic ground in the week we happened to be there. What was even better was the quality of beer on offer compared to the diabolical rubbish they serve in NZ and Australian sports grounds. Even the mrs enjoyed the Heineken – along with the fries that had cheese squirted over the top – a heart attack on a plate! Beautiful – and only in America.
It’s worth breaking the chronological order of the trip by going straight to the highlight and my greatest beer p*orn effort to date. The Skylark bar on the 30th floor of West 39th Street was recommended to us. The mrs reserved seats online prior to our arrival. Upon arrival, the bouncers (wired up with ear pieces) checked us off the list, radioed ahead our impending arrival. As we walked along the never ending dark corridor, we came across the next bouncer who opened the lift and radioed something through to someone – we felt like we were in a movie or the President of the United States. Then…..the lifts opened – what a view! Our seats looked directly out to the Empire State Building. As the sun set the ESB was light up with red white and blue. My first thought – wow, what great beer p*orn! Mrs kiwisinoz rolled her eyes (I may have ruined the moment for her, who knows).
I happened to be downing a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ ale by Lagunitas Brewing Company at the time. This is definitely a sessionable drop – a very smooth IPA that has a nice hop bite to it at the same time.
Another rooftop bar, although not as prestigious that I had to check out was Beer Authority. This epic bar has three levels and 90 taps and an emphasis on craft beer.
It’s worth diverting from the bar and beer theme for a second to mention a Seinfeld pop-up museum that appeared for just 5 days in NYC. It was a complete replica of Jerry’s apartment. We couldn’t miss this one! So we queued up and got a look in around the replica apartment, including watching other patrons having a go at the famous Cramer entry into Jerry’s apartment and the reverse peep hole.
Other non-bar/beer activities worth mentioning included a Broadway show, Grand Central Station, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue (the credit card had to be resuscitated a few times) Central Park, and multiple night time visits to Times Square.
Right, back to the theme of the blog. We happened to take favour to the Ivy Bar & Grill on 8th Avenue. A great atmosphere of locals with a good selection of food and craft beer. I favoured the Dog Fish Head IPA but also tried the Magic Hat Dream Machine. Both get gold stars.
This unexpected trip to NYC will be hard to top. An amazing city that lived up to the hype and one that I will be doing whatever I can to get back to in a hurry. God bless America.
Then came the 32 hour door to door commute back home to New Zealand.
(P.S. After passing the 2 year anniversary of leaving Oz, this correspondent will be assessing the identity of “kiwisinoz” as it is now misleading).
Since Thursday, your correspondent has been partaking in angling and acquatic activities at beautiful Rainbow Beach and surrounds. I’m in the company of BotF’s former NE Asian correspondent, Tony from Toowoomba, who knows this area like the back of his hand. There’s plenty to do as highlighted in previous posts by TfT and I over the years. Slaking one’s thirst after a day of fishing or beach driving is one of those. Now whilst I didn’t cover a huge sample of venues I’ve been shocked at how hard CUB is working to relegate XXXX.
A couple of pubs I visited didn’t offer XXXX on tap and the introduction of Great Northern livery is very pervasive. The Rainbow Beach Hotel has so much Great Northern signage now you’d be forgiven for thinking it has actually been renamed the Great Northern. This is confusing particularly given the presence of two iconic pubs in Sydney and Melbourne called the Great Northern.
On the plane I was offered “a XXXX” and got a Gold. It seems that’s the XXXX that is being pushed in Qld in preference to the legendary XXXX Bitter. The prevalence of 3.5% mids in Qld is also noticeable. Great Northern Super Crisp, Carlton Mid, Cricketers Arms JourneyMan, XXXX Gold and Australian Beer Co’s Gold, which is badged as the pub’s or location’s own beer. All 3.5% ABV and lagerish.
In the Rainbow Beach Hotel’s bottle shop, XXXX Bitter is available (took a photo to confirm its existence), but the Great Northern cases dominate 3 to 1. The natives are being nailed though, getting charged $52 for a case of 330ml stubbies, whereas a case of a far superior beer (in 375ml stubbies no less) is $51. Fight the good fight Coopers!
A great place to slake one’s thirst is the Rainbow Beach SLSC. What a sensational job they’ve done on this place. It’s been opened up to provide some of the best views of a beach in the world and Rainbow Beach, particularly to the south and Double Island Point, is one of the best beaches in the world. Honest tucker is pumped out of the kitchen and kids get a good deal. Highly recommended for a feed and to digest as while watching the activities on the beach and the surf.
In 2010 this correspondent attended his first Canada Day celebration at the 4 Pines in Manly. They’ve continued that tradition each year and in 2015 illiards and I toasted our Commonwealth colleagues on site.
Poutine has become a staple on the 4 Pines Menu, but the flags, the (ice) hockey on the telly and the annual Canada Red beer were rolled out as usual.
The 2015 Canada brew was entitled Canada Red Rage and was brewed with maple candied bacon. To be honest this beer was more mildly miffed and the bacon was very subtle. A decent red ale to be sure, with a deep hue – but not particularly big. Hopefully illiards can wave the BotF flag at the July 4 celebrations as this correspondent will be resuming his acquaintance with our former North East Asian correspondent on the Sunshine Coast.