Hobart’s beer oasis

For a cold brew on a hot day there are few nicer spots than the Old Sydney Hotel in Bathurst Street, Hobart, if you happen to be down that way. The front bar has the cosiness of an English pub – a watering hole where people of all ages sip and chat comfortably against the background of live acoustic music.

On a recent visit, the bar offered sixteen beers on tap, ranging in style from wheat ale to stout, with selections from several microbrewers as well as Australia’s brewing giants Lion Nathan and Foster’s, owners, respectively, of Hobart’s Boag’s and Cascade breweries.

The local selection included the hearty, malty Winter Willie Warmer Dark Ale from Willie Simpson’s new Seven Sheds Brewery, located at Railton, near Devonport on the state’s north coast; and its pale and delicately fruity counterpart, Moo Brew Wheat Ale, from just up the Derwent River at David Walsh’s extraordinary Moorilla Estate complex.

What a pleasant surprise, too, to find delicious, fresh draught beers from distant Stone and Wood Brewery, Byron Bay – the exuberantly, fragrantly hoppy Draft Ale and zesty, light but complex Pale Lager.

Judging by the Saturday afternoon crowd and range of beers being pulled, the drift to interesting beers is alive and well.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009