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.