There’s never been a better time to be a Northern Beaches beer lover, and now the Northern Northern Beaches have a convenient place to visit. On 30 July, Modus Operandi Brewing opened its big roller door to the public and they’ve hit the ground running in a big way. This correspondent paid a visit the weekend before last and spied the Father’s Day menu. A couple of phone calls later and illiards and I had convinced our better halves that Father’s Day really should be spent in a brewery with our families. Now for me in particular I was tempting fate. In the early days of Murray’s at Manly, I had convinced the missus to go there for Father’s Day. The menu looked great and a couple of new beers were on offer. The next thing I know she’s invited her dad and 15 of her family. In a portent for the future of that venue, the day was an unmitigated disaster. Entrees took an hour and a half, mains arrived after 3 hours, which was irrelevant as half the family had purchased burgers from around the corner. “Never again”, said the missus.
Fortunately, Modus Operandi‘s planning looked better from the get go. Simple menu, two sittings and plenty of staff. We’d snaffled a terrific table surrounded by brewing equipment and out of the way of foot traffic, so the matchbox cars could be hurled around without fear of OH&S sanction – gees, we could almost kick back with 6 kids in tow. Modus Operandi has a great layout. Rustic furniture is laid out inside and outside the brewery. They’ve made the most of the high ceilings and included a funky mezzanine section as well. The music selection is fabulous and embodies the US influence that permeates all aspects of Modus Operandi’s being. To find out more about the inspiration of the creation of Modus Operandi, check out Crafty Pint’s excellent article and interview with the owners and brewer. They’ve done the hard yards in the planning for the venture and it is paying off already. Some of Sydney’s beer doyennes were there – @boatmanpat, @OZBeer_MD and @DRsOrdersBrewin to name a few and @Untappd was going off with check ins.
The food was great. I’d had a sneak peek the week before and thoroughly enjoyed a thickly gelatinous beef rib, and the kids hoovered up the corn cobs. Father’s Day offered brisket, roast port and barramundi. All were magnificent and the table quietened as our families devoured their good sized portions. The regular menu is all about the US and all the favourites are there. But enough about the food – how’s the beer? Well, firstly for a brewery that’s only been open for a little over a month – there’s plenty of choice. Their “Rainbow Rack” with 7 good sized portions covers the current regular range. The beer list is pictured and a good range of styles is available. Maybe it is the influence of winter, but I’m a sucker for anything dark or an amber/red style at the moment. The Former Tenant (a red IPA) and the Silent Knight (porter) are excellent examples of their type, but the star was their first special – a black lager called 3.30. This was coffee infused and tasted bigger than its 5% ABV. A great accompaniment to our sticky date pud.
So, even for an insular peninsula type like me, Mona Vale seems like a trek. Don’t let that for one moment deter you. Modus Operandi is worth the trip. They’ve gone to plenty of effort – from the stories about their beer names, to their merchandise and to their beers themselves. Future events are promised, including Australia’s biggest beer cans (see Crafty’s article) – and it won’t be long before we’re gracing Modus Operandi’s threshold again. The Northern Beaches – god’s country indeed.
We don’t often induct members of the fairer sex, but a chance meeting with one of the fairest of them all gave rise to a Friday induction. Chris has a close association with the BotF founders, but usually travels on the bus
Her induction was a beauty with a big swell, ominous skies, a sprinkling of rain and stubbie of 4 Pines. Happy days.
Favourite beverage: Margharita somewhere in South East Asia
Favourite sport to spectate: My son’s AFL
Area of trivial expertise: food
Vessel: MV Narrabeen
Residents of Sydney’s Northern Beaches are often heard referring to their domain as God’s Country. People might think that that is a little presumptuous, but after one trip on the Manly Ferry on a sunny, a swim at one of the many glorious beaches and a stroll on a lofty headland at sunrise or dusk, visitors can be heard to mutter – “Bastards – they’re right”. And just when one thinks it can’t get any better, we get two new breweries thrown into the glorious mix.
illiards and I made a hit and run visit to Nomad Brewing Co. last weekend. They’d been kind enough to sling us a bait to their public opening in our capacity as the Northern Beaches slackest beer bloggers (more recently, it must be said) – so it was the least we could do. illiards figured that given Nomad is no more than a stagger from his place – he’ll get plenty of opportunity to give the place a more detailed going over in the future – a hit and run would be fine. It is a good set up. There’s the gleaming brewing equipment, which provides 25hl of capacity and a great little bar area to get your growler fills and have a sample of Nomad Brewing’s offerings. At $15 for a growler fill of the Sideways Pale, I think illiards mightn’t need to wash his growler – just come up regularly.
There’s three beers initially on offer. Rather than re-type, just read the info in the photo. The Sideways Pale Ale is very sessionable – and I’ll be up there with a growler this afternoon for a $15 fill. The Jet Lag IPA and the Long Trip Saison are fine examples of their respective styles. It looks like Nomad will be bottling their offerings as well. You can’t have enough beer clothing in your wardrobe and Nomad have outdone themselves with a broad range of gear, which goes beyond the standard beer t-shirt. Nomad proudly proclaim their Northern Beaches home on their gear (it’s sexier than saying “Brookvale”), but you’ll find
‘em at 5 Sydenham Road, Brookvale Road. Heaps better than the Brookvale Hotel’s bottlo! Nomad also offers membership at various levels and they are promising seasonals and special tastings. Will pay to follow their website. All the best – Nomad.
I’ve been coming on and off to Estonia for about 15 years now, and I always opted for their tume (dark) beers. However, following a visit this trip to the large island of Saaremaa for the first time, I really fell for the ‘farm’ beer as well as rye brews, both taking off in the craft beer sector, to such an extent that even the big boys are producing them now too. Today’s were sampled in an excellent 4-floor tavern that was transformed from an old windmill in 1974 in the centre of the port town of Kuressaare (host of an outstanding castle / fort), and the fayre we were served up was superb too.
The traditionally dressed waitress was extremely friendly – I quite forgot I was in Estonia! The Pahtla regional “talu olu” (farm beer) came straight from the barrel, a draught sahti-style (“kodu” in Estonian) beer worth making the trip for. 7.6% beers are the sort of refreshment a farmer needs after a hard day.
I’ve continued to spread the word about BOTF, and it intrigues people that an Australian beer blog will go to such extremes to send its correspondents so far around the world. “Your round!” I explained to my new friend.
“You’re rounder,” he retorted. I hope you feel you are more informed about Estonian beers through BOTF – it’s surprising how a country of just over 1 million folk can have developed so many varieties of ales,. I leave you with Poide rye beer that to me sums up Estonian culture… independent, local (Saaremaa), Eastern European, new, innovative, earthy, a pagan attitude to beer, a real dark horse. It’s 5.2%, with the same hazy brown colour of rye bread – matching its flavour perfectly. Cheers, or “Tervist!” as they say round here…
One of my favourite small bars in West Wynyard is The SG Bar or as I prefer to know it – Spooning Goats. As funky and as hipster are the Barber Shop, Baxters, Ramblin’ Rascal Rose and their ilk – Spooning Goats is a far less assuming and more homely and welcoming establishment. There’s no posing here – it’s like drinking at your mate’s place. It can be tricky to find, but head South along York Street and just past the Forbes, on the left handside look for the “I Heart SG” sign. You won’t be sorry
And Spooning Goats is loyal to their mates. HopDog BeerWorks is much the same as Spooning Goats in that they’re a small brewer having a red hot go without attitude. They are one of Australia’s smallest brewers (I think that’s changing) – but they still pack as mighty punch. Yesterday they celebrated their third birthday and in honour Spooning Goats laid on a tap takeover. The list is below, but Redhopulous is a cracking, cracking beer and one of their greatest hits. I also fondly remember a pumpkin beer they did.
I raised a glass of Saison Because to the best small brewer in South Nowra amongst the happy throng at Spooning Goats. Other than sipping a sample at their cellar door, I could think of no more appropriate place.
Here’s three cheers – HopDog – hope there’s many more. BTW – have to try the Halloumi and bean pie next time. (Insert Homer drooling sound)
An Irish pub in the middle of town, or “Iiri Pubi” if you speak Eesti (Estonian), Sweet Rosie has been open for 4 years, following in the footsteps of a punk bar that preceded it… I guess punk is now truly dead, the last bastions that survived in this remote corner of the Baltics now extinct. Anyway, Sweet Rosie comes recommended from a gent from Boston I met, and I’m glad that Sam Malone is personified instead by his younger Viking girlfriends. I decided on local, popular favourite beer – the charming Kaia served me a half litre of Saku Originaal.
Saku established as a brewery in 1820, and is still going strong being brewed just outside of Tallinn, albeit under foreign ownership now. The “Original” is a light lager beer, only 21 years old (so hardly original) and uses crystal filtration to preserve it instead of pasteurisation… it slips down nicely at 5.2%. Too many of these lagers and the writing gets sporadic – best to move onto the 4.6% “Kuld” that hails from the same Saku stables, boasting to be the “cream of beers – masterfully balancing the strength of Nordic barley malt and velvety smoothness of sunny German Hallertau aroma hops… the purest taste of Kuld was achieved thanks to the German beer Purity Law Reinheitsgebot.”. I love marketing.
Linda served the next pint with the same Estonian grim expression that I have become accustomed to – don’t expect any service staff to give you a grin like a Cheshire Cat – perfectly charming lady, just culturally perfect. The Kuld is fine too, and could well wash down some Irish fayre (fish & chips / Irish breakfast / Rosie’s soft beefsteak) or, indeed, offerings from Parnu bay: herring plate; Greaves a la Kamikaze; or crabclaws with dillweed sauce… I’ll definitely try Kamikaze! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose.
The bar is quite crowded, and I wait for 15 minutes. I notice the other beers on tap: Guinness (Irish pub!); Newcastle Brown; Leffe Blonde; Staropramen; and grapefruit Sinebrychoff Long Drink, as well as Weston’s cider and Kiss perry. And then… St Peters Ruby Red & St Peters Cream Stout, both 2 miles from where I now live in Norfolk! It’s strange what home boutique beers travel as far as you do.
Ah, here is the fried bacon & soured cream (Kamikaze) snack – clearly ‘Kamikaze’ on the basis that the obvious local ingredient readily available and core ingredient to most dishes round here is missing: cabbage. And what else would you expect to be served with bacon in an Irish pub? Absolutely Kamikaze!
Apparently, Veerev is the original Estonian pub in Parnu, wooden floors that no doubt in the olden days would have been covered in sawdust. The eclectic paraphernalia on the walls gives this joint a welcoming feeling to any stranger, complimented by the friendly face behind the bar.
In the centre of the pub is a wooden trapdoor, where they keep all the
bodies beer. I’m advised that I should come back again during the last week in October for ‘British Week’ when there will be some British beer on tap, as well as the Ambassador making an appearance. The pub is busy for a Tuesday lunchtime, and we opt for indoors as the weather is inclement, even though there is a large square umbrella covering the outdoor smoking area.
I’ve chosen an A.Le Coq lager, the only beer on tap – it’s Estonian, and like Coopers or VB, is the popular quite drinkable Brand. On the practical, chunky tables, there’s a civilised game of chess underway, eagerly overseen by drinking companions with nothing better to do on this rainy day in Parnu.
Come to Veerev for a homely pint!