Perhaps because you can only get through a fraction of its beer menu, it’s best to crash here while you’re in town. Rooms at the B&B start at only $99 AUS and it’s central to soaking up the local flavor. The main attractions of the pub’s dining menu are the gourmet pizzas topped with local fauna: kangaroo, crocodile, emu and barramundi. Vanderlaan cracks that “not too many countries are willing to consume their coat-of-arms,” but adds that “kangaroo is delicious.” The meat on the ’roo ’za is marinated in roasted native capsicum and cranberries, and the recommended beer pairing is Boag’s Premium. If you order the one with saltwater croc (marinated in spicy coconut cream and Thai herbs), pair it with Gulf Brewery’s Humpback Pale Ale. No matter what the order, Blinkhorne says, the staff is always happy to suggest which beer would complement the dish.
One other place that Vanderlaan advises not to miss is the Local Taphouse (122 Flinders St., TheLocal.com.au), not far from The Rocks in Darlinghurst. There’s an even 20 taps. and you’re likely to find rarities from local brewers. Its simplicity and sincerity make many beer aficionados consider it the best beer bar in town.
If feasible, schedule your visit over Jan. 26, when Australians celebrate Australia Day. It commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet on Sydney’s shores back in 1788. Perhaps the voyagers intuited that the climate in nearby Tasmania was perfect for growing hops. Whatever the case, the penal colony established back then has flourished and matured just like the beer culture that is beginning to thrive today.
From there, a short stroll toward the peninsula leads you to the newly opened second location of Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. (murraysbrewingco.com.au/manly). Not only is the view of the coastline superb, but Vanderlaan insists the lineup of beers is quite worthwhile. “Murray’s is famous for unusual and ever-changing interpretations of classic styles, an approach that would be familiar to the American craft beer lover.” Perhaps he is refering to its 10 percent India Black Ale or the “forbidding” Heart of Darkness Belgio Imperial Stout.