Having spent more time recently in Melbourne bars and pubs than Sydney bars and pubs, BotF is firmly of the view that Melbourne pubs on the whole, crap on Sydney pubs. Sydney, however, is slowly trying to redress the balance. There’s an enormously long way to go, but places like Grandma’s Bar at the south end of Clarence Street, Sydney are a start. Websites like Sydney Bar Zine keep you aware of new bars, which are starting to open with more frequency particularly in the city, inner city and Eastern suburbs. Grandma’s Bar has a capacity of 50 people and keeps bloody long hours. 12 – 12 Monday to Friday and 5 – 12pm on Saturday. This little gem is in a basement under a guitar shop and you’ve got to know where you are going. Grandma’s is a wine and cocktail bar with a cursory nod to beer – but it’s a good cursory nod (3 varieties of Monteiths and a Tiger). The simplest menu I’ve seen for bar food, consisting of 3 types of Jaffles and chilli biltong or curried cashews for nibbles. Give it a go.
We’ve already reviewed Monteiths Celtic Red, so for the obligatory beer review, here’s one of the oldest and best craft beers from the US. Samuel Adams Boston Lager was first launched in the US in 1984. The Boston Beer Company has launched over 30 beers since the flagship Boston Lager, but they’d go a long way to beat this one. An awesome full bodied lager – which is kind of a contradiction in terms if you think about most lagers – this is simply a cracker. For some reason it is bloody expensive in Australia – maybe the bottlos haven’t sold their stock acquired before USD/AUD parity. The flavour is attributed to the blending of two specific hops types – read ’em on the bottle – but whatever they are, they impart a thirst quenching bitterness that is also extremely moreish. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Boston, but a pint of Samuel Adams is always on the cards. The label says that Samuel Adams was “Brewer, Patriot”, which sounds a little twee – but given the New England NFL team is called the Patriots it’s not inconsistent.