One of this correspondent’s favourite blogs is Barzine, which without fail provides a weekly erudite e-mail containing “an unbiased review” of a Sydney Bar. I like the writing style and his cast of characters as well as admiring the longevity of the blog. Most recently he wrote about a new bar on York Street called Spooning Goats.
I’d separately heard about Spooning Goats through the twitter feed of Sydney’s newest brewer (in terms of being available for public consumption). The Head Brewer of the Riverside Brewing Company was a former work collegue from the (ahem) mid (let’s just call it that) ’90s. Through the blogger and twitterverse, we’ve made contact again and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of his beers. Spooning Goats is one of the first establishments in Sydney serve some of David’s handiwork. Appropriate really (but unintentional I’m sure) because I think Riverside is using brewing equipment thatcame from Mountain Goat.
So on a Thursday evening, a few of us trooped into Spooning Goats. There mustn’t be a Vinnies or Salvos store between Cronulla and Hornsby that hasn’t been hit up by a small bar proprietor. The Retro look is a common theme – and it is a theme that is really executed here. Amazingly, in many cases the couches and armchairs actually match. The schtick is a couple of awesome spoon boards with a great collection of souvenir teaspoons (that’s what they looked like – I must admit my focus was on the beer fridge). I love a beer list with originals. The menu also promises some well-priced pies – maybe next time.
Now I’ve got to say that I made an ordering mistake, which did absolutely no favours to the 3rd unique of the afternoon. I ordered a Dalgety Pale Ale after an American Amber and a Robust Porter. D’oh. My excuse – I was just that keen to get my hands on a Riverside Brew. So, I am not going to pass any judgment on it or the Dalgety Brewing Company until I give it a much fairer crack. Judging by their website they deserve it.
So to the Riverside Brewing Co. The first thing you notice about the Riverside Brews is the artwork on the labels (not normally my thing). Very cool. Spooning Goats offered 3 of the 6 varieties that Riverside has produced – the 69 Summer Ale, the 44 American Amber and the 88 Robust Porter. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the 69 Summer Ale – but I hadn’t had the other two. I’ve got to say that the 44 American Amber is one of the better beers I’ve had for awhile. The lads with me also loved it. Very sharp and very big. Great appearance as well with a very dark amber colour.
The 88 Robust Porter is also a fine beer – but did suffer in comparison to the American Amber. It is smooth with a nice roasted notes and masks the 6% really. This is a very sessionable porter. Why the photo of the 55 Pale Ale on the Great Wall? Head brewer, Dave did slip me a couple of previews and I carted one of them to China with me. Despite carrying it up the Great Wall, I left it behind in Beijing and I think Tony from Toowoomba may have had the first sample. Good luck, Riverside Brewing Company and I look forward to trying some more.