Overwhelmingly, Australians drink lager rather than ale – a phenomenon changing at the margins with the growth of craft beer and, of course, through the popular but still niche ales of Coopers.
Amazingly, though, two old NSW ales battle on and can be found on tap, as we were reminded during the recent Moruya jazz festival.
Black, rich and malty Tooheys Old, first brewed in 1869, still has its followers and provides a stark flavour contrast to the taste-alike lagers served alongside it. Pubs all serve it too cold. But we weren’t game to ask for warm beer in a Moruya pub.
Kent Old Brown (original made at Tooths Kent Brewery) comes a few shades lighter than Tooheys old and a touch dryer, while still offering delicious, warming malt flavours.
That both of these niche beers survived successive changes of ownership over the decades is truly amazing.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 5 November 2014 in the Canberra Times