Fine real ale at St Albans

A trusted scout recently sniffed out a delicious cask-conditioned real ale at St Albans in the back blocks of the Hawkesbury estuary, north of Sydney.

Established in 1836 the Settlers Arms Inn was a stopover for Cobb and Co’s arduous Sydney to Newcastle trip on the Great North Road. It’s now a popular watering hole in its own right and still attracts visitors taking the scenic route from Sydney to the Hunter Valley.

Owner Ian Burns-Wood has Settlers Arms Real Ale made to his specification by Matt Donnellan at St Peters, Sydney. Burns-Wood says the ale’s hand pumped from the cellar to the bar and served at around seven degrees – allowing the aroma and flavour to flourish. He says he’d serve it slightly warmer, but probably wouldn’t get away with it in Australia as we’re too used to icy cold lager.

Our scout loved the beer and wrote, “This tasted and felt like a real ale –malty and estery [fruity], balanced with floral hops. Gas was pretty much non existent, but this is not a criticism in this case – the light bubbles are part of the style, and the beer still had a trace of head”. We’ll review it for Quaffers on our next Hunter trip.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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