It’s been a long time between inductions. The stars aligned on this one and our latest inductee was welcomed by no less than 5 salty seadogs, including Lamb0 who’s
been absent from the BotF for some time.
Our latest member, Rhett, was treated to full blown BotF experience including beverages at favourite BotF haunts before and after the voyage. Frankie’s Pizza didn’t fail to disappoint with its usual eclectic range of tap beers including a Rhubarb Wit. The post voyage venues almost don’t need to be stated – but 4 Pines and Murrays got a run.
So to the questions.
Favourite beverage Tooheys New (seriously)
Favourite sport to spectate Test cricket
Area of trivial expertise War
Induction ceremony witnessed by Pommy_ch, Lamb0, Gerald, Oompaloompa and Bladdamasta.
It has been a sodden week in Sydney. The cruise ships have left at the right time because Sydney has, in the words of Edmund Blackadder, been wetter than a fish’s wet bits. That didn’t deter two old salty sea dogs from assuming the position on the Back of the Ferry for the voyage home. For a while we thought we’d caught a break in the weather, but ultimately not even Warwick Armstrong’s umbrella was going to keep us dry.
Before we adjourned to the Side of the Ferry we enjoyed a 500ml drop of Old Fart beer. This is a truly English drop. Malt to the fore. This is probably a good beer for the style, but my palate has become so conditioned to hop overload, I struggled to adjust and appreciate. By no means unpalatable, but I found the caramel overpowering. Need to have another for sure.
It’s been a long between drinks for a classic BotF post that is simply about a beer drunk on the Back of the Ferry. That’s what tonight’s post is. On the way to Circular Quay I pulled into Vintage Cellars on Carrington Street and spotted a 2012 vintage of the Northern Hemisphere Harvest made by Sierra Nevada. This is a special beer that is deserving of the full Back of the Ferry beerp0rn treatment. That includes the iconic Opera House shot, which on a blue Sydney day like today just doesn’t get any better. Normally the yacht frenzy occurs on a Friday evening, but tonight the stiff breeze had all sorts of yachts beating, tacking or whatever it is that they do. Happy to sit on the stern and watch.
The effort to which Sierra Nevada goes to for this beer is pretty exceptional. There’s plenty of “paddock to plate” stuff going on in restaurants at the moment and this is the beer equivalent of it. 24 hours after these hops are picked- they are in the kettle brewing away. The Sierra Nevada website will explain more technically than I can – but this is as fresh as it gets. Globalisation means that we are drinking the Northern Hemisphere Harvest in the Southern Hemisphere and it tastes great. This is seriously good beer. Love the big bottle. The hops are lipsmackingly good – there’s a piquantness that lasts and lasts. Even as I sniff the bottle, which I’ve kept to monitor beer label hyperbole, the fresh, grassy hop smell lasts and lasts. Don’t pass this up. It might be $12 a bottle (don’t get that given the Aussie peso’s strength), but it’s worth every sip. Jam it in an ice bucket, have it by the table and just enjoy it slowly.
Back of the Ferry’s North-East Asian correspondent, Tony from Toowoomba, is on an all too infrequent visit to Australia. Even when TfT does make it back to Australia it is not often that he gets to Sydney, but he makes the most of it when he’s here. TfT is an enthusiastic spruiker of the delights of the Back of the Ferry – and he was very keen to share its delights with 3 of his Swiss work colleagues. I made the trip across to meet TfT and the Swiss trio and it was a rocky old voyage. I hoped that our three inductees – who come from a landlocked country – could hack the swell.
We attempted to make our way out the back, but for the 3rd day running the stern was barricaded and the crew wouldn’t even let us down the side. So we took our position on the upstairs veranda bar. As we posed for the obligatory induction shots – beer in hand – we received the unfortunate news that the trip would be dry. Nonetheless, the voyage was eventful. The rollercoaster through the heads was exciting. The sight of the Manly Ferry coming the other way launching itself out of the water to such an extent that its propeller was visible. TfT and our Swiss inductees caught the ferry back later that evening and advised that ore than few passengers had been unable to cope with the swell, judging by some of the pavement pizzas that were visible.
Overseas guests always get the full blown Back of the Ferry treatment. It is not just about the Back of the Ferry or bars before or after the ferry journey. The full blown treatment also involves a trip to Sydney’s North Head, which provides one of the best free views of Sydney Harbour and of the path of the Manly Ferry. On this particular afternoon, it was blowing an absolute gale, but that probably served to enhance the experience. The height of North Head is vertigo inducing, but that is what provides such a wonderful perspective of South Head, the ocean facing properties of the Eastern suburbs, the city skyline and the Harbour. Naturally, after North Head, the traditional post ferry induction continued at induction favourites, 4 Pines and Murray’s at Manly. It’s got to be said that Murray’s latest menu is actually pretty at the moment – and a good feed and plenty of beers were had by all.
And now to our inductees and the all important questions.
Favourite beverage: Cuba Libre
Favourite sport to spectate: Ice Hockey
Area of trivial expertise: All Ice Hockey
Favourite beverage: Caipirinha
Favourite sport to spectate: Downhill skiing
Area of trivial expertise: Travelling (Daniel had recently 2 weeks on the West Coast of Africa)
Favourite beverage: Red wine
Favourite sport to spectate: Football (the round ball variety)
Area of trivial expertise: European cars from 1970 onwards
The boys loved Manly so much they returned the next day (by ferry, of course). Induction ceremony witnessed by bladdamasta and Tony from Toowoomba.
And now to the obligatory new beer. The boy’s at Porters Balgowlah had a new beer in the fridge. This beer had a very distinctive and clear label. A closer examination of the label reveals that this is not a boast of being the best pale ale going around, but rather that it is the first beer from Dad & Dave’s Brewing. Back of the Ferry is proud of its insular peninsula origins and we are delighted to see a new brew from the suburb of North Curl Curl. Whilst #1 Pale Ale’s creators are from North Curl Curl, I’m pretty sure that this is a contract brew. They’ve come up with a pretty good recipe. The number 1 theme comes through with the revelation that there is one hop and one malt used in the mix. Very sessionable, and I look forward to seeing it in a kegs in a few local haunts.
The last day of summer in Sydney has been quite simply inclement. The ferry ride home was unfortunately a side of the ferry experience due to an overly cautious crew that barricaded the back due to “bad weather conditions”. That surprised Back of the Ferry’s latest inductee (and indeed this correspondent), because really, the weather, whilst overcast and moist, was hardly bad. We’ve done far tougher trips than tonight’s voyage, but maybe the swell through the Heads was far bigger during the day.
Our latest inductee is a Caledonian, and therefore a little precipitation and grey sky was hardly a deterrent to a sea voyage. Sandy is a connoisseur of British beers and bars. He can navigate his way around the UK by bars. He is also a CAMRA member. So, it would take plenty to impress Sandy about Sydney drinking spots. BotF is now pretty practiced in providing the great bar experience on either side of the Circular Quay to Manly voyage, and Sandy received a one-two punch of Frankie’s Pizza followed by the Ferry. He was suitably impressed by the Frankie tap range, which was at its most eclectic. The Evil Twin Black Porter was freakily good.
So to the all important questions:
Favourite Beverage: East of England Mild by Waveney Brewing
Favourite sport to spectate: Olympics Beach Volleyball (women)
Area of Trivial Expertise: Pubs of England
Induction ceremony witnessed by bladdamasta.
A little secret abour Frankie’s is that they sell takeaways. The tap list is awesome, but their bottled beer range is also phenomenal. A beer that seemed to be flying across the counter was Cool Hops. This is an “Australian Lager” that is a collaboration from Northdown Craft Beer and Beer Here, Denmark. Cool Hops is a hoppy lager (yep – oxymoron alert), which features hop varieties sourced from Victoria and Tasmania. It is bright, sharp and not a typical lager. Lovely and definitely deserving of the best possible Back of the Ferry beerporn treatment.
Jarrod chose a magnificent day to be inducted. The Back of the Ferry was jammed and the tourists on the upstairs veranda bar were agog at the beer photography activity going on. Plenty of leave passes had been distributed and the least we could do was show Jarrod the finest establishments of the insular peninsula. This correspondent had to leave early, but Cam led our inductees on a merry traipse. Nice of our Melbourne member to act as the Manly tour guide.
Favourite beverage: Beer
Favourite sport to spectate: Rugby Union
Area of trivial expertise: Random bu11shit
Induction witnessed by illiards, bladdamasta and Cam.
Great arvo on the BotF with some real beer people joining illiards and bladdamasta out the back. Always great when Sydney turns on an afternoon that makes sunscreen suppliers happy. Our inductee this evening has been leading the good fight for craft beer for a long time. That fight has been waged in a part of Sydney foreign to BotF and their insular peninsula origins and we were more than happy to give Dan (aka BeerSnobs) a look at the northern beaches take. A trip to Blackets, a trip to 4 Pines and a trip to Murrays was a good start.
Of course the highlight was the journey on the Back of the Ferry and now to the obligatory induction questions:
Favourite beverage: Good beer
Favourite sport to spectate: Rugby League
Area of Trivial expertise: Craft Beer
After spending a good part of the evening with Dan – he’ll go close to winning any trivia comp where Craft Beer is in the bonus round.
BotF witnesses: Bladdamasta, Illiards, Cam
On a late trip home after the obligatory post offsite dinner. Went to the Chophouse. Great restaurant if you like a side of meat with your meat. Strip sirloin on the bone – bewdiful. Not a bad beer list with a Two Metre Tall Bitter Amber Ale as the standout.
Post post obligatory dinner was had at the Paragon. This is a favourite of BotF correspondents when you get to the Quay before you thought you would and there’s a 15 minute window. Tonight I had a 10 minute window so a middie of resch was the go. The Paragon or the “Paragoon” or the”‘Goon” sells takeaway and remarkably I snaffled a Cuban cerveza. Cristal is made by Bucanero who claim to be near the cleanest, purest water in Cuba. Like the Chinese, they’ve knocked off German brewing property and techniques.
The evening isn’t balmy but hardly brisk and the harbour is a millpond. No wind. It’s simply a much better journey home than the $45 cab ride. Better on expenses too. So to the Cristal. Teofilo Stevenson is the best thing to come out of Cuba. Cristal isn’t. I think the Cubans couldn’t translate the German recipe. Malt throwdown, not malt bomb.
A big night for inductions on the Back of the Ferry, with no less than 3 inductees on the night. For a while it looked the Side of the Ferry might have been the go, but the rain held off and by the end of the smoothest of journeys the Back was bathed in an eerily filtered light.
Nick is a long time reader and occasional commenter and it was terrific to finally get him on board.
Nick’s induction was witnessed by Bladdamasta and Rob.
On 9th November 2009, the Back of the Ferry blog came into being. To celebrate still going after 3 years a number of members spent the evening doing a few of our favourite things. A fore runner to Back of the Ferry was a bar review map that tried to keep a record of bars between the place of work of a couple of BotF founders and Circular Quay. The map has not been maintained for some time, but where possible it is still good to slip in a quick pint before the voyage. Whilst some of our membership prefer the Occidental or the Concourse, this correspondent’s go-to-bar is Hart’s Pub. It has been a mighty contributor to our Untappd uniques tally over the last year. They didn’t disappoint and we enjoyed a fine pint of Hop Vintage Growers Ale (2012) from Endeavour True Vintage Ale. Fresh, hoppy and sessionable. Our first Melbourne inductee – Cam – popped in to join the first leg of the celebration before heading back to Mexico.
A Back of the Ferry birthday cannot be celebrated without a voyage on the Harbour. Joining correspondents illiards, oompaloompa and I were members Jeroen and Don. The weather was cracking and there was action aplenty on the Harbour with plenty of army and police vessels out and about to protect Charles and Camilla. Twilight yacht racing had begun in earnest and the Friday night security guards did the right thing and stayed indoors (probably forgot their suncream). illiards brought another unique onboard and we enjoyed a bottle of Skull Splitter from the Orkney Brewery. This wouldn’t be the first choice for a warm spring afternoon – but we were on a uniques mission and it was all Mick could find at the bottlo. Skull Splitter is a wincingly strong 8.5% with a rich, fruity taste. A meal more than a drink – one for another time.
Back of the Ferry has enjoyed many a 4 Pines beer and so the third leg of the celebration was to be had at the home of 4 Pines opposite the Manly Wharf. No uniques on offer so I went for the always superb 4 Pines Hefeweizen. We were joined by a very early member – Kieran and his lovely beer drinking wife, Natalie. With the sun shining on the 4 Pines balcony, the celebration could have ended there – but we had one final stage to complete.
My cantina has been the scene of much Back of the Ferry discussion and along with the Back of the Ferry has been the scene of the consumption of the most Untappd uniques. As we entered the cantina, our tally stood at 997 uniques and in my fridge were more than enough to reach our goal, but our 1000th was going to be special. After ripping into a Bernard Celebration Lager (not sure what it was celebrating) we opened a bottle of Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter. This was a terrific porter and a great accompaniment to the Halloumi that was flying off my barbecue. Ballast Point will get a fulsome review later. By now another of our earliest members, Josh, had joined us along with our technology correspondent, Cyril Dickthorpe.
It needed to be a special beer for the 1000th. I’ve had a bottle of Murray’s 6th Anniversary Ale for awhile now. Murray’s has been an important part of Back of the Ferry. We’ve been to the opening and re-opening of the Manly Murray’s and enjoyed plenty of new and wonderful beers there and on the ferry. The 6th Anniversary Ale is a Belgian style Barleywine and comes in at a massive 15%. It is simply massive. Amazingly the alcohol content didn’t dominate. Yes, it was boozy, but it was hops that stood out for me. If I get my hands on another, I will. We toasted the 1000 and the 3 years and agreed that there couldn’t have been a better beer to mark both occasions.