Almost 3 years ago to the day, I wrote about a Collaroy pub crawl. I noted back then that the Collaroy Services Beach Club aka “The Beach Club” was worth a repeat visit. Well, it’s taken me three years to get back there (shows how that once you are in Manly, you don’t travel far) – and what a rewarding visit. It’ll be a far shorter gap between now and the next visit. Last time I popped in, I didn’t venture upstairs. Big mistake. Even with slate gray skies, the views from the first floor are sensational. Just about every seat on the first floor has a view and if the swell is big, as it was this time, the surfers will put on a show and you’ve got a ringside seat. The bistro is upstairs and food is good. Seafood risotto is about as funky as it gets, but who cares when the ribs, steak, fish and burgers are cooked well and leave you well sated.
As good as the views are and as comprehensive as the punting facilities are – the star of the show for mine is the bar on the ground floor. The fridge and the tap racks are bulging with brilliant beer and you’ll be pretty much guaranteed to be able to try something you haven’t had before. I’ve got to say, I went a little beserk, but still left some @Untappd uniques behind for next time. They’ve done a terrific job of getting some seasonals/one-offs on tap. The Mad Brewers Wee Highlander, Little Creatures Single Batch: The Rule of Three and James Squires Hop Thief 6 were all available. Hop Thief 6 is a cracker and hopefully that gets some wider circulation. I also tried the Thomas Cooper Selection: Artisan Reserve – won’t be rushing back to it in a hurry. There’s some decent taps upstairs – but the real action is downstairs.
It’s not just the taps with all the treats. The bar fridges also contain some surprises. I’ve seen Barrique Okarma on a few @Untappd check-ins and marvelled at the name – but here it was in the fridge in all its finery. Barrique Okarma is an “Oaked India Black Ale”. Barriques are French wine barrels and this beer has spent plenty of time fermenting in them before being finished off with a dry hop. It is squintingly good and one to be dawdled over looking out to sea. An even more surprising find is a can of Maui Brewing‘s CocoNut PorTeR. I’m a big fan of all things coconut, but was expecting this to be a blend of Reef Oil and black beer. It was nothing of the sort. The coconut aroma was subtle and toasted and it complemented the chocolate maltiness of the Porter really, really well. A stellar beer.
The Beach Club is putting on a brewery lunch in a couple of weeks (14th May). It’ll be pretty difficult to get to this mid-week – but if you’ve got the opportunity then you’ll be able to get stuck into some offerings from Sixpoint, Magic Rock and To Øl. That’s pretty good line-up and not something you’d expect to find in Collaroy everyday. In my mind, there’s no doubt that the Beach Club is the Northern Beaches’ best craft beer venue. The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down.