Who loves craft beer? Sydney on Tap loves craft beer. Who makes excellent craft beer? Rocks Brewery makes excellent craft beer. The guys and gals of Sydney on Tap were psyched to accept an invitation from the brewers themselves to come on down and try out a range of their beers - from the classics and fan favourites to the unique, bizarre and seasonal. Read on! Exclusive coverage from a man who doesn’t know nearly enough about beer as he likes to have people believe (that’s me).
A small squad from Sydney on Tap sat down in the well lit, open air Rocks Brewery in Alexandria. Built into the large brewery itself, the spacious bar has a rustic facade with its wooden panelling, corrugated iron sheets and bright furnishings. Pleasantly busy on a Saturday afternoon, we were treated to a sneaky private tasting, complete with walkthrough from the cheerful, enthusiastic Rocks representative, Aidan. Here’s what was up!
First in line was the crowd favourite around Rocks and wherever else in Sydney it’s offered: The Hangman Pale Ale. Easily the Rocks’ most popular brew, The Hangman delivers a fruity, well-balanced and well-rounded crisp taste with a hint of citrus. It was easy to see why this one sold like hotcakes around the craft community. A good beer to start with, either on a night out or even if you’re only now thinking about dipping your toe into the craft beer scene (we recommend it!).
Next up was equally well received - perhaps even a little more equal - the flavoursome Governor Golden Ale. Offering a stronger, more prominent initial taste and mouthfeel, this refreshing beer felt like a natural step up from the Hangman - like all the flavours enhanced with some added fruity vibes (we caught a little grapefruit in there). A resounding yes from all four Sydney on Tap representatives, especially from old mate Jack who couldn’t get enough of it!
We slowed down a little with a subtle lager known only as Convict Lager. A smoother beer that lingered on the tongue and created quite a strong, dominant mouthfeel that dropped away before reaching the back of the palette. A very easy beer to drink, it transitioned nicely into the combo breaker - the Hills Cloudy Apple Cider.
Now some Sydney on Tap residents are not afraid to say they don’t like ciders (Beau), however I am not that man. I will happily declare I like a good, balanced cider, and the Hills was definitely that. Hailing from Adelaide, the Hills is a beautifully fresh, crisp palette cleanser that isn’t overly sweet like many ciders on the market. This earned it a few bonus points for the less cider inclined members of the squad. Surprisingly bitter and cleaning out any lingering tastes from the previous brews, it was time to move on to the heavy hitters.
In front of us was the 5th beer, the India Session Ale. A smooth gradient on the palette, this beer fell away nicely and was a nice contrast from the usually more alcoholic and bitter IPAs we’ve tried in the past. Overall a similar flavour to the Hangman, can’t go wrong with that.
The 5 beers were done but we weren’t finished just yet! Our boy Aiden brought us out the Saison D’Conviction. Similar to the Golden Ale earlier, this tasted even sweeter and fuller as noted by Jake - you’ll make a beer critic yet.
Last but not least was a dark beer, the rising star at Sydney on Tap. But this wasn’t a stout or a porter - this was a Scotch Ale. It sits at a pretty high alcohol content but man was it tasty. You could really feel that alcohol kick, but it was also quite sweet, which contrasted nicely with the other more bitter beers we had tried. Another one to remember while hatching our scheme for a dark beer and chocolate pairing night.
Finishing off we ordered ourselves some great burgers and gave a huge thanks to the Rocks Brewery for hosting a bunch of ragtag boys for an afternoon in their excellent bar/brewery combo.
The brews we tried are all great examples of how beer should be taken. Maybe don’t go overboard smashing a cheap case of VB at that party - a couple tasters here and there really opens you up to a whole bunch of new flavours that you would have missed if you went all H.A.M. on one beer.
Thanks to the Rocks Brewery for having us round and especially Aidan who took time out of his day to walk us through each and every beer. If you liked this article head on over to Sydney on Tap’s Instagram and Facebook - throw a couple likes our way. For all your craft beer needs be sure to check back with the fine guys and gals that make Sydney on Tap the semi-successful venture it is.
thoughts & feelings - extended edition
This is where we at Sydney On Tap post all the things that couldn't fit into the paragraphs on each bar page, or the comments under each beer.