Our top picks for Sydney Craft Beer Week 2016

More than 100 events celebrating everything craft beer will be taking over Sydney for the next week, forming the sixth annual Sydney Craft Beer Week from now until Sunday 30th October. It all kicked off last night at the massive Opening Night Gala, the yearly sell-out that only begins to scratch the surface of craft beer, both new and old, that’ll be showcased through hair of the dog breakfasts, beer matched chocolate dessert dinners, history lessons, and more; hell, there’s even axe-throwing competitions on the program, and of course, the ever-popular tap takeovers which will see some of the best breweries posted up in some of the city’s best venues.

Below are some of our top picks of the busy program, doing away with the obvious signature events and really diving into the wonderful variety on offer this year. Make sure you’re across these ones and enjoy a week full of craft greatness.

Craft Beer Fight Club

Aside from planning one of Sydney’s best Melbourne Cup Day events, Surry Hills favourite Dove & Olive will be setting the scene for a Sunday arvo craft beer showdown between three heavy hitters – Two Birds from Spotswood; Wayward Brewing Co. from Annandale; and 4 Pines from Manly. Dove & Olive and its two sister venues, Keg & Brew and The DOG, will each be backing one of the brewing teams, collaborating on a brew they feel will make them the “Good Beer Champions” and earn the “Golden Growler” award. Craft beer bragging rights are at stake here, and its all about who can win over the public with each brewer on hand to showcase their weapon of choice along with some of their established brews. A total of 6 beers (middies) will be available per person so even if you’re favourite doesn’t win, at least you’ll be nice and crafted up on a lazy Sunday afternoon. More information and tickets can be found HERE.

Sunday 23rd October | Dove & Olive, Surry Hills | 12pm-3pm | $34.

Ale Stars with Garage Project

Any craft beer enthusiast who has been to Wellington – or New Zealand for that matter – comes away with a singular love for Garage Project, truly one of the most creative and inventive breweries in the world. This writer first tried a few of their brews as part of the capital’s annual Welly on a Plate festival and has since been enamored with the business, so of course this event is going to make the cut. Garage Project’s founder, Jos Ruffell, will be a special guest at The Local Taphouse’s monthly Ale Stars, which is a series all about sheer dedication to an appreciation of craft beer.

This special edition will see Ruffell providing guests with some insight into Garage Project while some of their bews flow around the venue, fueling both dinner and a round of trivia. More information and tickets can be found HERE.

Wednesday 26th October | The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst | 7pm-10pm | $45.00pp

Down & Dirty MTB

If you’re a fan of mountain bike trails and craft beer then this one’s a no brainer. Head north on a Wednesday evening and find yourself in Elanora Heights where Beechworth-based Bridge Road Brewers will be waiting with mountain bikes ready for craft beer enthusiasts to brave one of the best trails around, riding all the way to a BBQ and the full range of Bridge Road brews. Participation in the bike ride is not necessary, but those who brave the trails will have truly earned those beers at the end of it all. To register and read more info click HERE.

Wednesday 26th October | Elanora Scout Hall | 6:30pm-10:30pm | Free Entry

TimeOut Hop-Up Bar

The TimeOut Hop-Up Bar will be back for another year, smack bang in the middle of busy World Square to provide a little CBD oasis for craft beer enthusiasts who want to really savour an afternoon or evening with some of the best brews in the country. Often used as the after-drink option of SCBW, the beer garden will be running all throughout the entire festival with various events and showcases planned. Even Jameson will be using the platform to host tasting sessions for their new Caskmates expression, which is a whiskey that has been finished in stout seasoned barrels.

Events include Time Out’s Beer Banter (Sunday 23rd October, 1pm), the Time Out Craft Press Launch (Monday 24th October, 6pm), and Time Out Battle of the Busker (Tuesday 25th October, 6pm).

Various beers will be on tap at the beer garden, including a special sneak peek of Sweet Caroline, a new lager from Urban Craft Brewing Co. that will officially launch on Tuesday 1st September. More Urban Craft Brewing Co beers will be available in tasting paddles upstairs from the pop-up at the newly opened The Bavarian

22nd – 29th October | World Square | 12pm-3pm, 5pm-9pm (Saturdays, Fridays, Sundays); 5pm-9pm (Monday-Thursday)

Pint of Origin

The Crafty Pint have boiled the best of Australian craft beer down to an accessible, digestible Sydney takeover, managing to get six of the city’s best pubs to turn over their taps to the beers and brewers from the six Aussie states (ACT falling into the NSW fold). It’s a way to fully showcase small breweries across the country while giving Sydneysiders the chance to traverse the country without leaving the city. All takeovers will be for the duration of the week.

Randwick’s The DOG Hotel (2 St Marks Rd, Randwick) have NSW/ACT with over 50 taps available. 4 Pines will be taking up almost half of these with 26 of their beers and ciders, headlining a strong lineup that includes Wayward, Akasha, Batch, Grifter, Pac/Wig & Pen, Drs Orders and New England.

Rozelle’s The Welcome Hotel (91 Evans St, Rozelle) will be surrendering to a Queensland takeover for the week, and while the lineup hasn’t been revealed you can be sure the sunny state will be lending some of their best, both established and underrated.

Head along to inner west institution Forest Lodge Hotel (117 Arundel St, Forest Lodge) to immerse yourself in the brews of South Australia with a promised lineup with the likes of Prancing Pony, Pirate Life, Mismatch, Wool Shed, Fox Hat, Clare Valley, Big Shed and Coopers.

Annandale’s Empire Hotel (103A Parramatta Rd, Annandale) will reaching out to Tasmania to bring over some of their finest, with 11 taps up for grabs. Expect beers and ciders from Moo Brew, Hop Trial Brewing, Ocho Beer, Bruny Island Beer Co., William Smith & Sons, Fox Friday Craft Brewery, Double Head Brewing, T-Bone Brewery, and more. We have an inkling they’ll be some food sourced from Tassie too; did someone say Bruny Island cheese?

Pyrmont’s Quarryman (214 Harris St, Pyrmont) will welcome the brews of Victoria with a very wide range. Expect the likes of Dainton Family Brewery, Bad Shepherd Brewing Co., Edge Brewing Project (you need to try their Stagger Lee Imperial Stout), Venom Beer, Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall, Boatrocker Brewing Co., Moon Dog Craft Brewery, and more.

Last but not least will be the treasured Royal Albert Hotel (140 Commonwealth St, Surry Hill) in Surry Hills where you’ll find tap takeovers and food from Western Australia. The tap lineup hasn’t been announced but pay attention to their Facebook page for any updates.

22nd – 30th October | Various Locations | Free Entry

White Rabbit Degustation Dinner

One of our very favourites will be coming up from their Geelong based brewery to Redfern’s Cake Wines, bringing a whole heap of food and beer with them. The choice to hold it as one of Sydney’s hottest wine destinations is an intentional one, as Head Brewer Jeremy Halse will be there to take guests through the story and showcase of their Red Ale, a beer which uses to juices of Shiraz grapes, aged over an extended period of time in ex Pinot barrels. Also featuring through the night will be the Berliner Weisse, as well as some of Cake Wines’ own wines paied with canapes, smoked trout, and dessert served with White Rabbit Dark Ale – paired with either chocolate and hazelnut brulee, or white chocolate parfait with poached pear and cheesecake. More information and bookings can be found HERE.

Wednesday 26th October | Cake Wines Cellar Door, Redfern | 6:30pm-9:30pm | $80pp

Dark Beer Tap Takeover IV

King Street’s indelible Union Hotel will once again be the essential spot for those who love their darker beers, and for one night only the bar will be pouring over 20 carefully selected brews both new and old, as well as some staff favourites, for you to enjoy. Stouts, Black IPAs, and Porters will feature from 3pm on the Tuesday with the likes of Batch Brewing Company (Tank 6 Imperial Stout), Temple Brewing Company (Children of Darkness Black IPA), Nomad Brewing Co (Black Season Dark Saison), Feral Brewing Company (Karma Citra Black IPA), Wolf of the Willows Brewing (JSP Porter), Willie the Boatman (Black Bunny Dark Ale), and some more. Head to their Facebook for the full list. More information on the event can be found HERE.

Tuesday 25th October | Union Hotel, Newtown | From 3pm | Free Entry

Crackin’ Barrels

Head to Young Henrys on Saturday and find a special collaboration between the inner west brewers and Jameson Irish Whiskey. The air will be filled with grain, hopes, and barley as people down some boilermakers, pairing Jameson Caskmates with either Young Henrys Newtown or Young Henrys Real Ale. The Young Henrys brewery will be transformed into a cooperage on the night as well, providing the perfect platform for Jameson’s Master Cooper who will be flying in from Ireland, sharing a wealth of knowledge and insight into deconstructing, re-building, and charring barrels. More information can be found HERE

Saturday 29th October | Young Henrys, Newtown | 1pm-7pm | Free Entry

4 Pines’ Ultimate Beer Experience

This one will see you at 4 Pines Brewing Company HQ in Brookvale as the renowned brewers welcome you for a good old fashioned tour, which includes a “Lap of the Taps” tasting rack for you to sample some of their award-winning beers. Other parts of the tour include “The Lunch Challenge”, with rounds of 4 Pines Pale Ale infused crust and house-made toppings, and finally “Take Me Home” which will send all home with a six pack of handcrafted beer, but the nitty gritty will be a chance to take a seat at the bar, built into an old Dodge featuring 21 taps, which on the day will all be showcasing the large variety of small batch ‘Kellar Door’ range. You can grab more information and make bookings HERE

Sunday 30th October | 4 Pines Brewing Company HQ, Brookvale | 11am-1pm | $65pp

Little Creatures Tap Takeover

Tap Takeovers are a big part of Sydney Craft Beer Week, offering Sydney’s finest bars and pubs to brewers from around the country as they show off new and old brews. There’s plenty of these going around all week, but we’re particularly excited about the big presence from Little Creatures, who are descending upon a few pubs including The Lord Gladstone and The Warren View Hotel. There are also plans in place to spread the Little Creatures love to several bars around Sydney on Thursday 27th October, with specific venues announced via social media.

22nd – 30th October | Various Locations | Free Entry

For the full program of Sydney Craft Beer Week events click HERE.

Image supplied.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.