Sydney Outsider’s Tom Collins gets on the sauce at the source.
76 Wilford St, Newtown
IF THE Young Henrys brewery was my local I’d be a modern day Rip Van Winkle. The few times I’ve dropped into their tasting bar for a quick lunch-time beer there’s been a disturbance in the space-time continuum. Before I know it I’m four hours in the future trying to think of an explanation as to why I never made it back into the office.
The brewery is tucked away in the graffitied, industrial streets a couple of blocks from Enmore Road. There are other brewery-bars where the brewery feels more like a showpiece than work site. At Young Henrys brewers unload pallets from trucks and delivery utes are loaded with kegs. At first glance it feels like you shouldn’t be on the site without a high-vis vest.
Once you step inside the bar area the mood is relaxed. A couple of worn couches and an old rug lend the place a laid-back vibe. It’s like being in a share house or staff bar where you’re welcome to grab a few beers (though you do have to pay five dollars for a middy). A wooden shelf is lined with beer glasses that belong to regulars. Oh, how I envy them.
There are people who aren’t big on the strong, malty aroma of the brewery; for me it’s the olfactory equivalent of a warm, nurturing hug. It’s also better than the stink of stale, spilt beer that pervades most pubs since smokers took over the beer gardens.
The beers on tap are always changing, giving you an excuse to visit regularly. The staff on hand know exactly what’s coming down the lines and are happy to make a recommendation (or three). On this visit we try the Cloudy Cider, the Barrel Aged Rootstock Hop and Tropic Thunder. The shadows lengthen outside. The lunch we skipped to be here is turning into dinner. It’s a good thing they don’t have a kitchen, or we’d never get out of the place.
I won’t pretend to know if the beer served at the brewery tastes any different to when it’s served at a pub but I find myself enjoying it more than usual. I’ll never climb the Himalayas and drink the water dripping from a millennia-old glacier, but I have drunk Young Henrys at its source. I imagine the feeling of satisfaction is similar, except Himalayan iced-water doesn’t have much flavour and can’t give you that pleasant, boozy buzz.
The Young Henrys tasting bar is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-7pm