Craft Beer and Cider Fair at the Oak Barrel

The inaugural Sydney Craft Beer and Cider Fair took place at the Oak Barrel, a boutique bottle shop that has built a marked reputation with their Sydney Whisky Fair and with the Sydney Boutique Wine Fair in 2011.

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Craft Beer and Cider Fair

During four hours, guests had the opportunity to try a diverse range of local and imported craft beers and ciders, and chat with the brewers and brand ambassadors. Over 30 beer and cider brands were represented alongside Angostura, who showcased two rums and whiskies, providing a link to some of the rum cask aged craft beers.

E9th Brewing

E9th Brewing makes its mark with distinctive and original artwork on its products, the most famous being Doss Blockos beer which carries the squatters’ emblem. The paper-wrapped beer is an easy drinking smooth pale lager with 4.6% ABV.

The artwork on the bottle was originally found in a Fitzroy Laneway.

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E9th Brewing

Other products include the dry style Lick Pier Ginger Beer (4.0% ABV) with a clean aftertaste, best served with a wedge of lime, and the Fog City Cloudy Cider, an apple and pear blend that has a slight cloudiness. The 6.0% ABV gives it a richer mouthfeel than ordinary ciders.

Endeavour Vintage Beer

Launched 2 years ago, Endeavour True Vintage Beer makes use of seasonal variations as the philosophy behind their products. Much like wine is appreciated for its seasonal differences, their vintage beers reflect the year they harvested the ingredients.

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Dan Hastings, Endeavour Beer

The range consists of the Endeavour 2011 Reserve Pale Ale which uses Galaxy, Cascade and Summer hops. It has more body than a regular pale ale with a fruity aroma and a little bitterness. Endeavour 2011 Reserve Amber Ale uses Topaz hops and is darker in colour with more pronounced bitterness on the palate. Malt flavours and a little spice make is a good match with a dark chocolate dessert.

Batlow Cider

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Rich and Sam Coombes, Batlow Cider

With only 7 months on the market, Batlow Cider have made their mark with their fresh crisp apple flavour and an all-year rounder that is easy to drink. With 3.5 apples in every bottle, the product has no added colour or sugar. The cider is unpasteurised which gives it the advantage of retaining its crispiness.

MOA Beer

MOA Beer was true to its word with “finally something drinkable from Marlborough”. You could not go past the artful packaging or the massive case full of the entire range of beers.

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Justin Bade, Aussie Moa Hunter

MOA Brewing Co. takes its name from New Zealand’s giant, flightless bird and had the most impressive and comprehensive range on taste. The artwork represents what real men used to do in the old days with activities such as boxing and riding motorcycles.

MOA Original is a pilsener style, with fresh and floral notes, an easy to drink beer made from a blend of New Zealand premium malts and Nelson hops. MOA Methode is bottle fermented with a little spicy character. MOA Blanc is brewed using wheat beer, a blend of 65% wheat malt and 35% barley malt. It pours slightly cloudy and is a smooth tasting beer with a hint of spice.

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MOA Noir is a dark lager with chocolate and coffee bean aromas and flavours yet surprisingly easy to drink. MOA Pale Ale is a North American style of beer with floral and citrus notes. MOA St Josephs is brewed Belgian Tripel style, being more malt than hop driven with a strong spice flavour and aroma. MOA Five Hop Winter Ale is full-bodied with lots of flavour and a subtle oak character.

MOA Imperial Stout (10.2% ABV) is aged in oak Pinot Noir barrels and has coffee and chocolate characters – a beer that that goes well with desserts and the standout of the range on taste.

MOA also make Weka Apple Cider which is aged in French oak and Weka Pear Cider which is a drier more delicate style.

Brew Dog

BrewDog from Scotland has a mission to “create some of the most extraordinary, non-conformist, craft beers known to man, or dog” and they deliver with a range of beers with attitude.

Craft Beer and Cider Fair

BrewDog Punk IPA, BrewDog’s best selling beer is light golden in colour, easy to drink with fruit and light caramel on the nose. BrewDog 5am Saint is an amber ale which pours caramel coloured and is very malty on the palate. BrewDod Riptide is an imperial stout which is very dark in colour, with a touch of bitterness and mocha and chocolate flavours.

BrewDog have been in the news recently in relation to a controversy at the 2012 BII Scotland Annual Awards when they were refused an award by Diageo.

Moritz and Stone & Wood

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Moritz; Stone & Wood

Moritz Beer is an imported lager from Barcelona with a distinctive honey flavour. The beer is popular in tapas restaurants.

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale comes from Byron Bay and has fresh tropical fruit aromas with passionfruit flavours. The beer goes well with spicy Thai, stir fry and Indian food. A more recent addition, Stone & Wood Jasper Ale reflects the red volcanic soil in the hinterlands and is brewed from a blend of malts. It has a toffee and rich malt character with a spicy finish.

Balmain Brewing Company

With its eye-catching stand, Balmain Brewing Company brought mini kegs of beer and cider to the fair. The company was launched in 2010 in honour of mates and pub culture.

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Andrew Martin (R), Balmain Brewing Company

Balmain Pale Ale (4.9% ABV) was the first beer produced and is an English style ale rich in malt and hop flavours with a hint of citrus. Balmain Pilsener (4.5% ABV) uses three malt varieties to give it more complexity, colour and biscuit maltiness.

Launched just before Christmas, Balmain Apple Cider (4.5%) is made from apples sourced from the Blue Mountains and Orange. It is a medium dry style of cider with fresh apple aromas.

Balmain Brewing Company plans to have a microbrewery in the inner west within the next 12 months.

Two Birds Brewing

The name refers to the two women behind the brand. Jayne Lewis is the brewer and Danielle Allen works in product development, making Two Birds Brewing the first beer company owned by women.

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Danielle Allen, Two Birds

Two Birds Golden Ale uses ale, wheat and Vienna malts and has won Silver in the Australian International Beer Awards. The flavour is fruity with a citrusy aroma. The Sunset Ale has more robust flavours with rich, toffee notes. Two Birds Sunset Ale is brewed using a combination pale, wheat and Crystal malts which make it a well-balanced beer.

Innis and Gunn

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Innis & Gunn Highland Cask (7.1%) is a limited edition an oak aged beer that has been matured in barrels that previously contained 18 year Grant’s scotch whisky. Over a few weeks of maturation in the barrel, the beer develops a rich and complex flavour. Dark in colour, it has oak, raisins and a malt flavours with a smooth and warming finish.

Innis & Gunnalso make a limited edition spiced rum finish.

French Cider and La Verte

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French Cider

Le Père Jules Poiré (4%), Cidre Traditionnel d’Anneville (4.5%) Le Père Jules Brut, Cidre Bouché (5%), Cidre de Cornouailles (5.5%) are French ciders of various flavour profiles which were previously reviewed. Traditionally, they are sipped from a special ceramic cup.

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Brasserie de Mont Blanc la Verte

Brasserie de Mont Blanc la Verte (5.9%ABV) is indeed a green beer flavoured with  Génépi (similar to absinthe) and brewed with water from the glaciers of the Alps. The beer has a light fizz with grassy aromas and a herbal finish.

Angostura Rum and Bunnahabhain Whisky

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Angostura and Bunnahabhain

Angostura Rum (7 yo) comes from Trinidad & Tobago and is a blend of 7 to 10 yo rums. Primarily a mixing rum, it goes well with ginger beer or in a Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktail. The flavour profile has a little spice on the finish with maple, caramel and coffee characteristics.

Popular with bartenders, Angostura 1919 is a blend of 8-12 yo rums and is a sweeter style of rum with vanilla, coconut and cocoa on the palate. This is a sipping rum with a complex flavour profile.

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Shayne Silver, island2island

Bunnahabhain is the least peated single malt from Islay in Scotland. The 12 yo expression is often described as the “gentler taste of Islay”. It is a sweeter style of whisky and an entry level into peat and smoke. Bunnahabhain 18 yo isfinished in sherry barrels and has caramel notes and little more smoke than the 12 yo.

Apple Thief Pink Lady

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Apple Thief Pink Lady

Apple Thief Pink Lady is a medium sweet style of cider from Eden Forest winery in Southern Highlands. The juice is sourced from Batlow and the cider is lightly sparkling made by natural carbonation. Sweet on the nose and on the palate, the cider is refreshing and pleasant to drink.

Moo Brew

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Scott Cameron, Moo Brew

“Not suitable for Bogans”, Moo Brew is acraftTasmanian boutique brewery that produces five core beers.

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Moo Brew

Moo Brew Pilsener has a crisp hop aroma and a medium body with a malt profile. Moo Brew Hefeweizen pours cloudy and is a German style of beer. Moo Brew Pale Ale uses Tasmanian hops and has a complex malt flavour with a bitterness on the finish. Moo Brew Dark Ale is an American style with caramel, chocolate and coffee flavours on the finish. Moo Brew Belgo (bel-jo) is an approachable Belgian-style beer that is easy to drink and keep drinking due to lower alcohol (4.5%ABV).

Top Picks

MOA Imperial Stout
Moo Brew Dark Ale
Doss Blockos beer
Innis & Gunn Highland Cask
Two Birds Sunset Ale
BrewDod Riptide
Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
Batlow Cider
Angostura 1919 Rum

The Craft Beer and Cider Fair was held on Saturday 26th May, 2012 at the Oak Barrel. As with previous Oak Barrel events, the fair offered the opportunity to taste a good cross-section of brands and learn about the variations in a relaxed setting. The event gave an appreciation of what goes into making the various craft beers and ciders and the stories behind the brands.

More craft beers and ciders that were on taste at the fair with food provided by the Food Society in Darlinghurst. Visit Gourmantic on Facebook for a photo gallery and remember to “Like” the page.

The Oak Barrel
152 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Gourmantic attended the event as media guests. 


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.