Sitting and sipping in Sydney's best small bars every Monday. Check here for regular reviews.
It’s not every day that you get to sip a beer that only 6 other people have tasted, but at Monday Barhop we were given this privilege by the wonderful guys at the James Squire brewery.
Entering directly onto the production floor is as intimate as it gets and heaven for a beer enthusiast. We head upstairs between the double-storey historic brass boilers, to an aged but charming private bar. The small brewery feels like a family business as the warmth and passion these guys have for their craft is rarely seen elsewhere. Their little establishment in Camperdown combines scientific prowess with artesian craftwork bringing it down to a personable level.
Obviously we can’t review their ‘bar’, as it is rarely open to the public. Rather, this is a bit of a heads up for what’s to come in the exciting world of James Squire brewing. Coming out early next year is this ‘secret brew’ we taste-tested. It’s the product of months of experimenting with flavours and spices and it’s pretty damn incredible. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it will be released in February as a limited edition brew under their Mad label. Not only that, but one of their expert brewers, Josh, is an aspiring chef. He’s been collaborating with their marketing team to create James Squire recipes that include their speciality beers.
What we learnt on the production floor – we start at the boilers where malt (milled barley) is heated to allow the enzymatic (amylases etc) release of sugars (maltose) before the addition of hops. It’s then on to the yeast cultivation and fermentation vessels which all feed into the fermenters for brewing. Heating ceases fermentation by denaturing the enzymes involved in the fermentation process. Downstream are the filtration setup, pasteuriser, carbonator and the holding vessels of “bright” or young beer before being kegged or bottled.
The brewers find time in their busy working schedule to provide unique insights into brewing and show us more of this beer mecca – even allowing one special bar hopper to add the hops into the next batch of fermented genius. The brew? The next instalment of The Constable Copper Ale. A new introduction to the mid strength beer market. In competition with Little Creatures Rodgers, though possibly more complex in flavour yet equally as smooth. One of an elite club of mid strengths that taste as good as a full strength ale. Watch this beer, it grows on you only too well!
‘James Squire is a classy beer,’ Josh told us ‘it’s what you bring to a party when you don’t want to bring wine.’ It’s this niche market that James Squire is filling; the classy craft beer. He even brought out some cheese and crackers and we matched them with some of their beers. This is a new era of beer drinking. Gone are the days where beer was synonymous with the pot bellied, stubby clutching man, lying back in his Lazy Boy watching the footy.
It is this new generation of beer drinking that gets Monday Barhop excited. We love the small, the simple and the sophisticated, and James Squire hits that mark effortlessly.
RW & KTJames Squire Brewery www.jamessquire.com.au