Independent brewers from all over Australia gathered in Willoughby last month, giving locals a very special glimpse at the underground industry of craft beer.

Steph Nash

The purchase of one golden ticket gave attendees ten tasty tipples, with an array of choices in beer, wine and cider. Willoughby Hotel became a fair ground for Australia’s pot-bellied entrepreneurs, with a crowd of hundreds swarming the barracks for a taste of some unique varieties of liquid gold. With the heat in full-force, and the rock ‘n’ roll blaring, Willoughby Craft Beer Fair was a successful day for brewers and drinkers alike. The stereotypical ‘Aussie beer lover’ has changed: blue ‘wife-beater’ singlets and tins of VB be gone – the new beer drinker is wearing designer sunglasses, tight jeans and holding a bottle of craft beer.


Sydney Observer’s choice beverages are:

1. WHALE ALE by Murray’s Craft Brewing Company

Although light, creamy and refreshing, Murray’s Whale Ale is as full-bodied as its title. Made from both malted and unmalted wheat, the beverage has the sweet, fruitiness of a pale ale, and the sharp, crisp after taste of a dry ale. Best of both worlds.

2. ALCOHOLIC GINGER BEER by Monteith’s Brewing Co.

If you’re a fan of Monteith’s Crushed Apple Cider (and you should be), you would definitely be a fan of Monteith’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer. With the sweet and spicy tastes of ginger, and the light bitterness of yeast, this ginger beer will be your newest beverage of choice. It’s highly carbonated, and best served ice cold. An excellent summer sip.


Cooper’s 2014 Vintage Ale uses four different types of Australia hops to give their beer a unique fruity and spicy flavour. This beer is ideal for storing, promising to develop a richer, more classic taste over the next two years. Sweet and floral, and yet enticingly bitter, Cooper’s Extra Strong Vintage Ale is paired well with a salty, hearty meal.

4. DIRTY GRANNY APPLE CIDER by Matilda Bay Brewing Company

With a powerful sour punch, and a unique dry astringency, Dirty Granny Apple Cider is one of the more beer-ier tasting ciders that you should add to your favourites list. As the name suggests (figuratively, of course), it’s like biting into a big fat green Granny Smith, only with a bitter beery taste to follow. Not your typical sickly sweet cider.