They seem to have a thing for tucking microbreweries into the bowels of hotels in Sydney. You’ve got the Lord Nelson’s crazed rabbit warren affair in The Rocks and this, formerly the home of the Schwartz Brewery but renamed the Sydney Brewery since 2012, found underneath a hotel just to the north of Hyde Park. Opened in 2005, it’s a buzzing hive of activity responsible not just for keeping the taps in the hotel’s bars flowing, but also many others around Australia supplied by the underground microbrewery.
Operating on a Firkin wood clad 800 litre brewhouse imported from the UK, head brewer Michael Capaldo oversees the brewing of a wide range of beers, from a US style Pale Ale (their biggest seller) to a punchy porter and Belgian strong ale. He’s also responsible for a light summer ale and cider under the Sydney Brewery label.
The brewery is just one part of the former Macquarie Hotel, which also houses a public bar and brewery bar on the ground floor and has accommodation on the upper floors. In between is Bill & Ton’s Italian restaurant, which holds events in conjunction with the brewery, and the Raval Cocktail Bar, a decadent room with impressive stained glass windows and vintage furniture that’s like an ornate relic from another era. Completing the package is the nightclub Mac Music.
The people behind the brewery are also responsible for a couple of Aussie beer festivals. Their first venture was the National Capital Craft Beer Festival at the Mercure Hotel in Canberra that’s been running since 2008. It was joined in 2011 by the Brew Mountains Festival at the Fairmont Resort in Leura in the Blue Mountains, with the inaugural event attracting several hundred beer lovers through the doors.
Sydney Brewery Beers
Schwartz Pale Ale (retired)
The brewery’s biggest seller is a tasty take on the popular US Pale Ale style. Plenty of hop aromas on the nose, even more hop led flavours in the mouth and a solid bitterness to keep you coming back for more.
Style: US Pale Ale
Schwartz Schwarzbier (retired)
Could you have a Schwartz brewery without a Schwarzbier? This dark lager has picked up more than its fair share of medals in its time, proving to be a classic example of the style in which coffee and tobacco notes complement a crisp mouthfeel.
Schwartz Pils (retired)
A step up in flavour from some of the lighter ales and lagers the brewery produces for the hotels in the chain, this is their take on the traditional Czech pilsner style. Rich malt flavours are topped off by aromatic, lightly spicy Saaz hops and a firm bitter finish.
Bitterness: 30 IBU
Schwartz / Kissmeyer Aussie Spiced Saison
They left quite a legacy, those visiting Scandinavians who arrived en masse on our shores back in March and April. Already we’ve seen some fantastic collaborations released in which the brewers from Beer Here, Mikkeller and Kissmeyer played their part. And here’s another one, the beer brewed by Anders Kissmeyer with the team at Schwartz in March. A yeast-driven farmhouse style with a local touch provided by some distinctly Australian ingredients – bush tomatoes, pepperberries and wattleseed – with some pomegranate added for fun, it’s now pouring at the brewery in the heart of Sydney. And, as our man in Sydney, Nick O, points out: where else are you going to get your hands on a Kissmeyer collaboration for $3 a schooner…?
Style: Spices Saison
Schwartz Belgian Strong Dark Ale (retired)
If the yeast profile for this Belgian Strong Dark Ale is any indicator, this is not your average beer. According to brewer Michael Capaldo, the recipe calls for Belgian Trappist yeast in the primary ferment, a Champagne yeast for the secondary ferment, a Dark Lager yeast plus “a million malts and a whole lotta love”. When you put all that together you get this super-smooth 8.7% black beauty.
Style: Belgian Strong Ale