Goodbye 33 Degrees – Hello Taproom

In 2014, the New Brighton Hotel renamed its first floor bar 33 Degrees and went hard on craft beer for some time. Back in the day US, Norwegian and Danish craft beer could be found on their taps. And you could pretty much be guaranteed an @Untappd unique on any visit. Since the original tap and beer wrangler, Spencer, returned to Northern America – the 33 Degree experience has been in a slow decline. The occasional unique would still pop up but the beers were increasingly becoming mainstream.

The Balter Alter

A couple of weeks ago, a substantial facelift and renaming of the first floor was unveiled. From now the space is known as Taproom – and there’s a few changes to the experience. You could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve walked into a NSW Balter taproom. Balter colours, livery and signage is everywhere and one part of the bar should be termed the “Balter Alter” given the exclusive presence of Balter taps. Around the corner, though, other brands are getting a look in, and I reckon these taps will be the ones that rotate fairly regularly.

22 taps

Electronic signs list what is on the 22 taps. In return for the fit-out Balter get 9 of the taps. Fortunately, that regularly includes limited release beers which demonstrates that Balter is given some leeway by its CUB/Asahi owners to make something other than Balter XPA and Captain Sensible. And the limited releases are generally very good. Their NZ series has been excellent. CUB stablemate Pirate Life also gets a good run. Non CUB/Lion brands that have appeared recently include Mountain Culture and Capital Brewing. For OktoberFest, they’ve recently added a couple of Weihenstephaner beers – which are always great on tap. The view from the veranda of the first floor has always been first rate and it was the place to sit on Sunday during the Manly Jazz festival. Hopefully some of the taps continue to rotate and who knows – perhaps a tap takeover or two. We’ll let you know.