Chances are, the team at 4 Pines weren’t the first Australians to check out their local bars only to conclude there wasn’t a single good beer to be found in any of them. Equally, the chances are very few have decided to do something about it by opening a venue and brewing their own. Mostly Western Australian in origin and starved of the quality beer they’d become used to in WA, where the Aussie craft beer revolution started, that’s exactly what they did.
The result of their enterprise is 4 Pines, the brewery, bar and restaurant that overlooks the Manly ferry terminal and is playing a key role in turning Sydneysiders onto better beer. Opened in the middle of 2008 when there wasn’t an Aussie craft beer to be found anywhere in the suburb, it rapidly earned a reputation for brewing a quality drop. They started out with four core beers – Kolsch, Pale, Hefeweizen and ESB – but have expanded to a point where those are now complemented by 15 to 20 seasonals and specialty batches every year – plus the world’s first ever beer designed for consumption in space, a unique version of their stout going by the name – 4 Pines “Vostok Space Beer” Stout – www.vostokspacebeer.com .
The success of the brewery has been such that 4 Pines is in the process of setting up a new 50 hectolitre system (for those to whom that means nothing, that’s ten times the size of their current brewery – i.e. pretty darn big). The hope is that this will allow them to share the love and send more beer outside the local community. So far only occasional kegs have made it outside Manly – usually for festivals – and only the Kolsch, Pale, Hefeweizen and Stout are bottled, making the pilgrimage to the brewery itself essential for anyone wanting to tuck into everything from their Imperial Stout to the awesome Wee Heavy that debuted at the 2011 Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular.
Aside from the beer, 4 Pines kitchen is in itself what many locals come back for multiple times a week! From an eye fillet steak, to their famous chunky chips the menu covers all bases, while the mega burger and signature beef pie are the stuff of local legend, The venue also hosts live music every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. You’ll even find a magician wandering between the tables on Thursdays in what could be an Aussie brewery first, plus special beer nights and themed beer events and festivals, all of which you can keep up to date with by joining their beer club.
Here’s hoping more Australians who can’t find good beer at their local follow the 4 Pines example.
4 Pines (NSW) Beers
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series: Oktoberfest
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series: USA 2013
- 4 Pines Autumn Ale
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2013: St Pat's Stouts
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2013: Single Hops
- 4 Pines Christmas Ale 2012
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Wee Heavy
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: St Pats Stouts
- 4 Pines Spiced Ale 2011
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Single Hops
- 4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Amarillo Summer Ale
- 4 Pines German Specials
- 4 Pines Canuck & RyePA
4 Pines Kolsch
The 4 Pines Kolsch helped garner a little attention for the brewery in 2010 when it picked up gold at the 2010 Sydney Royal Show, one of the toughest judged beer competitions in Australia. Light straw in colour, with aromas of lemon and lime and a light malty palate, it finishes crisp and clean and is a good beer for winning over the uninitiated to the craft beer cause.
Awards: Gold - Sydney Royal Show (2010), Silver - Australian International Beer Awards (2011)
4 Pines Pale Ale
A beer crammed with four varieties of American hop and a hefty malt bill that results in a deep amber beer with a touch of ruby. The hops give you aromas of pine and grapefruit before the malt gives way to a solid bitter finish.
Awards: Silver - Sydney Royal Show (2010), Silver - Australian International Beer Awards (2012)
Style: American Pale Ale
4 Pines ESB
An Extra Special Bitter that’s true to the beer’s British origins, this gold medallist from the 2010 Australian International Beer Awards is a mouth-filling, full-flavoured malty treat of a beer. Deep copper in colour with some floral, earthy hints on the nose, the ale yeast offers up some nice fruit flavours before the malts take over in the form of coffee and caramel. Oh, and there’s plenty of bitterness at the end – it is an Extra Special Bitter, after all.
Awards: Gold - Australian International Beer Awards (2010), Silver - Australian International Beer Awards (2009)
4 Pines Hefeweizen
A beer that takes its inspiration from the style that was born in Bavaria in South Germany, but creates a version using only Kiwi hops. It pours a cloudy pale straw, has a mildly sweet nose with a touch of banana and a rounded palate of both banana and typical hefe yeast spiciness.
Awards: Bronze - Australian International Beer Awards (2010)
4 Pines Stout
The beer that is being developed as the world’s first “space beer”, the 4 Pines Stout is made in the dry Irish style and made with a seven-strong malt lineup. Nigh on black with a tan head, it gives off coffee, chocolate and caramel on the nose, characteristics that come through on the palate too, along with a smooth finishing bitterness.
Awards: Gold - Australian International Beer Awards (2012), Silver - Australian International Beer Awards (2010)
Style: Irish Stout
4 Pines ESB (500ml bottles)
Way back at the first ever GABS – back when the “A” stood for Australian not Australasian, there were 20 not 89 beers, and it took place at The Local Taphouses not the Royal Exhibition Building – among the crazy high ABV beers and hop bombs one of the standouts was 4 Pines' Wee Heavy: a multi-layered, luscious malty treat. It was like a step up from their ESB, and now that ESB – which itself seems to have become beefier since – has been released in chunky 500ml bottles to complement the brewery’s 330ml bottle range.
And it’s a cracker: a rich, hearty blend of toffee and sweet nut aromas and flavours that heap layer upon layer of goodness into every mouthful. The hops are there to add little more than a spot of grounding earthiness and balancing bitterness, allowing the malts – and a wee bit of raisiny fruitiness – to take centre stage. The Crafty Pint grew up in the UK drinking ales and this is a reminder of home in a good way, so much so we’ve been foisting it onto all of our beer loving mates with gusto. Another winner from one of Australia’s finest and most consistent breweries.
Bitterness: 45 IBU
4 Pines Keller Door Series: Oktoberfest
There’s a line in the Sh!t Beer Geeks Say! video from Good Beer Week 2013 in which one of the geeks comments that a brewery’s beer isn’t the same since they increased capacity. It’s probably the kind of thing that will have crossed the minds of one or two as 4 Pines went from a Manly brewpub knocking out all its beers on an in-house 500 litre system to owners of a 5,000 offsite brewery – via a few contract brews of its big sellers. It’s a thought that is diminished pretty much any time you drink one of their beers as they continue what must be one of the smoothest transitions from said brewpub to one of the country’s largest craft brewers. This Oktoberfest beer is their latest quarterly bottled Keller Door release and, while it doesn’t get us hot under the collar like the outstanding ESB (little does at the minute, except maybe the prospect of Steve Mason, the Polyphonic Spree, Fuck Buttons and three big beer events in the next 16 days), it’s none too shabby either. For a start, it looks gorgeous – a glowing copper with fluffy white head – and while it possesses the caramel and toffee characteristics of the style, they’re not overbearing, with the gentle aroma and soft bitterness of noble German hops topping and tailing it all rather elegantly.
And good craft beer venues including:
Church St Cellars
Prince Wine & Spirits Essendon
Richmond Hill Cellars
Mordy Cellar Door
Corks Crew Cellars Torquay
Harvest Wine & Liquor
Yarragon Ale House
Bitterness: 23 IBU
4 Pines Keller Door Series: USA 2013
They love celebrating the nations of the world at 4 Pines. Give them a country marking an occasion of significance and they’ll give you a new beer; sometimes four. Once again they’ve used Independence Day as an excuse to head to the brewery armed with tonnes of hops to create a series of US-inspired ales. It’s the fourth time they’ve marked Independence Day in such a manner, with this year’s beers the 10th, 11th and 12th Yankee beers.
As brewery owner Jaron tells us: “This occasion is perfect to work with some fantastic ingredients and awesome styles of beer, as well as give thanks to Will Smith, in memory of the day he single handedly thwarted an Alien Invasion taking over the world.”
While it’s their fourth US-inspired series and umpteenth Keller Door release, it’s the first that has seen such a beer appear inside bottles; big bottles too. Said beer is the El Dorado IPA, which measures six per cent ABV and 55 IBU. We sampled Flying Dog’s single hop El Dorado when in the States earlier in the year (their single hop series uses 10 per cent IIPAs as the base beer…) and it was one of the better beers on offer at their cellar door (don’t be tempted by the Green Tea Imperial Stout…) suggesting it’s a hop with a bright, some might say golden, future. It’s a new clone of hop out of the Pacific North West, which the 4 Pines crew says gives: “multi-layered aroma and taste contributions including tropical fruit, cotton candy, pear, cut grass and watermelon.”
The other two new beers are keg only. There’s RyePA 2013 (5.6 per cent ABV, 40 IBU), which is an update on their 2011 release – a hearty American Pale Ale brewed with a portion of rye malt. Dry with a spicy complexity, apparently. And then there’s the Imperial IPA (10 percent ABV, 90 IBU), which they’re calling: “The epitome of loud, unsubtle Americans. Big, brash and bold with a mouth-puckering hop presence.”
Good bars and bottleshops nationally
Style: Various US hop bombs
4 Pines Autumn Ale
Inspiration for a new 4 Pines beer can apparently come from many different sources. It can, like their stout – the ‘Certified Space Beer’ – spend years in continual development and involve aeronautical engineers and zero-gravity flights. Others, like this one, have a rather more straightforward genesis. The story goes that 4 Pines brewers Andrew Tweddell and Chris Willcock were chatting with the bar supervisor, Chris Moore, when the conversation turned along the lines of:
Chris W: We need to brew another Cask Ale for after St Pat’s Day.
Andrew: What should we brew?
Chris M: The Summer Ale was popular.
Chris W: Yeah, but it’s not summer anymore.
Chris M: Autumn Ale?
Chris W: Makes sense.
Andrew: Autumn Amber Ale?
Chris W: Brilliant!
And so we have the 4 Pines Autumn Amber Ale, which the brewers have described as “a pretty typical American Amber style, with a toasty malt sweetness and rounded tropical and grassy hop notes”. Those come from the Mosaic hops from the USA which were used to experiment in bittering, aroma and in dry hopping. We’ve been told that’s it’s drinking perfectly from the hand pump and at the current rate won’t last more than a couple of weeks.
Style: American Amber Ale
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2013: St Pat's Stouts
Despite having a flash new brewery in Brookvale, the brewing team at 4 Pines are making sure they still get time to play with the old set-up back in Manly by continuing to knock out their Keller Door releases. This latest release coincides with St Patrick’s Day – surely of of the stoutiest times of the year – and the St Pat’s Stout series. Where last year they served up four new stouts, this time they’ve gone for just the two; one big and one small. The small one is a Milk Stout which, at just 4.3 per cent abv, makes for a light and easy-drinker. With its coffee aromas, the brewers reckon this is one that’ll tempting enough to make you put down your latte. At the other end of the spectrum is the Black Forest Imperial Stout which clocks in at eight per cent abv. The brewers say this one’s an “experimental take on a high alcohol Russian Imperial Stout. Big and bold and infused with cocoa and cherries during maturation”. It might be one to sip on towards the end of the night – “a dessert in a glass that comes to life as it warms”. NO
Strength: Various strengths
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2013: Single Hops
The first Keller Door release from 4 Pines for 2013 is a new incarnation of 2012’s popular Single Hop Series. The concept of the Single Hop Series is for the brewers to make the exact same beer several times over, with the only difference to the recipe being the variety of hop that’s added. This year there are three beers on show, made with a malt bill consisting of 95% Ale malt, 4% Wheat and 1% Crystal malt. The hop varieties are Centennial from the USA, Hallertau Mittlefruh from Germany and Target from the UK. To give an idea of the sorts of differences to expect, the aromatic Centennial hop is widely used in American Pale and Golden Ales, Hallertau Mittlefruh should give lemon and lychee aromas while Target should bring through citrus and passionfruit. If you get a chance to taste these beers side by side, you'lll find that the Single Hop Series is probably one of the most rewarding – not to mention delicious – ways to discover the role that hops play in a beer. And if that necessitates a trip to 4 Pines at Manly, well… NO
Style: Single Hop Pale Ales
4 Pines Christmas Ale 2012
There’s something undeniably comforting about a winter Christmas: the glow of an open fire, snow outside the window and a warming festive ale in hand. But in Australia – where Christmas is generally spent increasing one’s quota of sun, sand and surf – the last thing on most people’s wish list is a strong dark spiced ale. What would be far more suited to the climate is something like a Summer Saison, and that’s exactly what 4 Pines have delivered in time for Christmas 2012. This “highly sessionable” beer, as the 4 Pines crew tell us, is “orange in colour, with a distinctively spicy flavour and aroma, highlighted by the traditional yeast strain and the addition of cinnamon, clove, star anise, fennel, and pepper.” ‘Tis the saison! Nick O
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Young and Jacksons
Junction Beer Hall
The Local Taphouse Darlo
Warners at the Bay
Style: Spiced Saison
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Wee Heavy
We seem to recall that, back in the depths of time when GABS was merely the Great Australian Beer Spectapular held at the Local Taphouses rather than the behemoth that now bestrides the Royal Exhibition Building, one of the highlights was a rich, multi-layered malty number from 4 Pines going by the name Wee Heavy. So this, we assume, can be taken as some sort of relation of said beer. Its big, musclebound older brother perhaps, as while we remember the previous one rocking in at around seven per cent (exits Rainman mode), this is a rather larger affair. It’s a 9.5 per cent strong Scotch Ale brewed in honour of St Andrew’s Day and if you head along on the night of the launch (November 30) there are prizes on offer. Namely, they’re giving a free Wee Heavy to anyone who proves their Scottish heritage, wears a kilt or can hold a conversation in a Sean Connery like accent.
Style: Wee Heavy
Bitterness: 22 IBU
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: St Pats Stouts
The second in the 4 Pines series of multiple releases sees them switch from showcasing hops to showcasing rather darker beers. In tribute to St Patrick’s Day, Keller Door 2 sees them unveiling a Dry Irish Stout (which is also pouring on the hand pump at their Manly venues) alongside an Oatmeal Stout, Choc Orange Stout and Russian Imperial Stout. The beers have been tapped at Manly to kickstart their Paddy’s Day Weekend festivities, while others are currently winging their way around the country’s beer bars for your deep and dark tasting pleasure.
4 Pines Spiced Ale 2011
Towards the end of last year, the crew at 4 Pines got into the festive spirit and laid down a very small batch of Christmas Ale. Alas, Christmas came and went with no sign of the beer. It remained firmly locked in its stainless steel prison, closely guarded but knowing its release was imminent. That time has finally come. Since it is now February, the specialty brew has been renamed ‘Spiced Ale’ and in terms of a description, it pretty much is what it says. In a way, having this Spiced Ale in February is probably about right because it’s about halfway between a Christmas cake and an Easter bun – something you might like to cherish beside an open fire on a cold night. But if you’re planning on waiting for winter to try it – don’t. Only ten kegs were produced for release on special occasions. Lucky for you, something special must have happened out at Manly because they have a keg tapped right now… Nick O
Style: Spiced Ale
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Single Hops
The first of a what will be a series of releases throughout 2012 from the brewing team at 4 Pines, in which they simultaneously showcase four beers that share a theme. The concept is launched with the Single Hop series, which we wrote about on Crafty late last year. The four beers have been brewed with an identical malt bill (95% Ale, 4% Wheat, 1% Crystal) with the only difference being the choice of hop. The four varieties being used are Amarillo – an aromatic American hop synonymous with APAs and golden ales, Sorachi Ace (Japan) – which has an overwhelming and unique lemon, lemongrass and lychee like aroma, Galaxy (AUS) – known for its citrus and passionfruit aromas, and Aramis (France)– a strong, herbal, lemon like aroma. The idea is to give drinkers that chance to see what different hops can do to a beer. Watch out for future releases in the Keller Door series later in the year…
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Local Taphouse Darlo
Fredas- Chippendale NSW
The Rose- Chippendale NSW
The Union- Newtown NSW
Archive Bar- West End QLD
The Pour House- Dunsborough WA
Clancy’s Freo- Fremantle WA
The Norfolk- Fremantle WA
Style: Summer Ale
Bitterness: 26 IBU
4 Pines Keller Door Series 2012: Amarillo Summer Ale
Throughout 2012, the brewers at 4 Pines will be releasing a series of single hop beers. However, it appears that they couldn’t wait to get started as one has slipped out already. Taking a similar concept to BrewDog’s IPA is Dead series and Mikkeller’s Single Hop IPA series, the beers will be brewed to the same recipe with the only differing aspect the choice of hop. Kicking off the series is the American hop Amarillo, which has led to a beer described as “light in appearance, with a sweet aroma, refreshingly crisp with a slight bitterness destined to please your taste buds”. If you want to check it for yourself, get thee to Manly!
Style: Summer Ale
4 Pines German Specials
For their Oktoberfest celebrations, the 4 Pines team has knocked out not one but four different German style beers to be tapped throughout the month. They are:
Pils, a 5.2%, 42 IBU lager featuring a NZ variation on a noble German hop;
Marzen, a 4.8%, 23 IBU lager they describe as “smooth, clean and rather rich with a depth of malt character that is soft complex and elegant”;
Dunkelweizen, a 4.7%, 15 IBU take on the dark wheat beer style that’s a “spicy, fruity, malty, refreshing” blending the yeast and wheat character of a hefeweizen with the malty richness of a Munich dunkel; and
Kristallweizen, a 5.0%, 17 IBU wheat beer that’s “pale, spicy, fruity”. You’ll find them all appearing on tap at some point in October after the launch of the 4 Pines Oktoberfest on the 6th.
Style: Various Germans styles
4 Pines Canuck & RyePA
A pair of new beers are rolling out of the brewhouse at 4 Pines this weekend as they set about celebrating both Canada Day and Independence Day. First up is the Canuck Canadian Red Ale, designed to be a perfect match with their maple syrup drizzled pancakes with bacon. It comes in at 5.0% and 30IBUs, is unfiltered and has “clean, fresh bitterness complimented by a biscuit-like palate and aroma”. Then on Monday, the RyePA (Rye IPA), a beer firmly in the image of the country it’s been brewed to celebrate – 7.0% and 49IBU – will be unleashed. According to the brewer, it’s “decidedly hoppy and bitter” and “exhibits a fine balance between resinous hop bitterness and a rye derived grainy palate”.
Style: Red Ale & Rye IPA
Strength: 5.0% & 7.0%
Bitterness: 30IBU and 49IBU