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 Beerâ? 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.