Cruising Newcastle’s ale trail

Cruising Hunter Street, Newcastle, these days you’re more likely to find cold craft beer than a hot Holden. The Clarendon Hotel, for example, offers a revolving range of beers through its “guest tap”.

During our visit we try their “paddle” – a narrow wooden tray holding sample-size glasses – of beers from from the Central and North Coasts and Fremantle.

A pale ale from Six String Brewer, Erina, nails the opulently malty, aggressively hoppy American pale ale style – a balanced and delicious version of a style that’s hard to perfect. It’s available only on tap at present (and not in Canberra). But the brewery hopes to release a bottled version later this year.

Two beers from Black Duck brewery, Heron’s Creek (near Port Macquarie), are OK, but not memorable. And the Honeysuckle Hotel, on the waterfront, pours the perfect Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale, reviewed below.

Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale 330ml 4-pack $13.90
The website calls it a cross between the mild English pale ale style and massively malty-hoppy American style. The wonderful fresh brew I tried on tap recently in Newcastle leaned more towards the American style with its rich, smooth malt and highly aromatic and bitter hops. It’s now widely available in retail outlets.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 1 May 2013 in The Canberra Times and