Craft Beer & Cider Fair 2013 at the Oak Barrel

The second annual Craft Beer and Cider Fair was held by The Oak Barrel on the weekend with over 80 varieties on taste. The sold-out event offered ticket holders the opportunity to (responsibly) taste many brews during a four hour period, as well as chat with brewers and brand ambassadors.

With new exhibitors and first release brews on offer, the event was another success for the independent bottle shop who has built a solid reputation for its whisky fairs and boutique wine fairs. Food was available for purchase and the hearty Wicked Elf Porter Pie with mash and porter gravy was the popular choice on the day.

Below are the highlights and top picks of the fair.

Rocket Science Mad Hatter IPA
L-R: Dan, Mike, Steve from Dennis Beer Co
First ever Rocket Science Mad Hatter IPA on pour!
Willie Smith Organic Apple Cider
Craft Beer and Cider Fair
Le Pere Jules Poire Semi Dry Cider
Darlo Dark
Happy Goblin Pale Ale
Riverside Brewing Co Forty Four American Amber
Wicked Elf Porter Pie with mash Potato and Porter Gravy
Oak Barrel Craft Beer and Cider Fair
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Serving beer from teapots may have drawn a constant crowd to their stand but the three guys from Dennis Beer Co had more to celebrate. Mike Archer, Dan Kemp and Steve Moore formed their company in late 2012 and their brand new Rocket Science Mad Hatter 6.4% IPA was launched at the fair. Gourmantic was fortunate to have the first pour of the American Style IPA with a twist. Infused with a special tea, it has sweet citrus and pear on the nose with a crisp sweetness of fruit finishing with the bitterness of the IPA.

Also on taste was the Rocket Science Red Planet 6.4% launched 8 weeks earlier, floral and peachy on the nose with rich malt flavour and hop bitterness. The Rocket Science Halo of Saturn aka ‘Hop Behemoth’ 8.0% has a full, rich palate with citrus and pine on the nose. Keep an eye out for their impressive range of craft beers.

The standout cider at the fair was the Willie Smiths Organic Apple Cider 5.4%, a Normandy style of cider, made on the apple farm in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Unfiltered, the cider retains more flavour. It has oxidised apple on nose and front palate, a hint of oak, and a long dry finish.

From France, Le Pere Jules Poire (Pear/Semi Dry) is a French semi-dry cider, made of 100% pears, with a fruity and dry finish. Refreshing and very pleasant to drink on its own, it is equally enjoyable with hard cheese.

From Sydney Brewery comes Darlo Dark 4.9%, a bold lager with a clean front palate and a long finish of chocolate and coffee. The beer gets its flavour from the way barley is roasted and from the mix of hops which includes noble hops. Also worth tasting was the Sydney Brewery Glama 4.6%, a summery brew to enjoy on long hot days. It’s light and fresh on the palate with a hint of fruit and a touch of bitterness on the finish.

Riverside Brewing Co Forty Four American Amber 6.5% is a big and bold US West Coast style of beer that is very hoppy and malty. Happy Goblin Pale Ale from Mount Kuring-gai was on tap, a clean and fresh style of pale ale that is easy to drink.

Made in Port Macquarie, Wicked Elf Pilsner from Little Brewing Co is true to its style, with a clear fresh flavour without being overly hoppy. The Wicked Elf Kolsch is very easy drinking and word has it that they are releasing a Wicked Elf Mad Abbott Winter Warmer at 11.5 % next month.

Bridge Port Brewing ‘Kingpin’ Double Red Ale 7.5% has double hops balanced with malt, and has a toffee, caramel/biscuit aroma with a toffee and burnt sugar finish on the palate, and the Bridge Port Brewing Hop Czar Imperial IPA 7.5% is a refreshing style with dominant notes of grapefruit followed by a bitter finish.

From Birra Italiana comes Birrificio Toccalmatto Zona Cesarini Pacific IPA 6.6% used Japanese hops and a very bitter and dry finish – a brew to enjoy with grilled meat, roast pork and spicy dishes. Holgate Chocolate Porter 6% is a classic and robust style of porter infused with cocoa and vanilla which makes it a style to enjoy in winter or as an accompaniment to chocolate desserts.

Tempered over burning witches, Monty Python’s Holy Grail 4.7% is rich with malt and floral hops, sweet on the nose with a honey and caramel on the finish.

Another beer worth the mention is the Brekspear Triple 7.2 % with its molasses flavour, a beer that is fizzy on the palate, and one that undergoes a two fermentation process followed by another in the bottle.

And what better way to end the tasting than with Calvados Pays d’Auge that has been aged for 6 years followed by a decadent sip of Delord Bas Armagnac 1985.

The Oak Barrel’s Craft Beer and Cider Fair has proved once again Sydney’s growing and keen interest in the craft beer movement and the passion of brewers and punters alike.

The Oak Barrel
152 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.