Regardless of which side of the shifting the date debate you sit, history dictates that January 26 will always remain an important day in Australia. One place that will inevitably fall into the spotlight in that regard is The Rocks in Sydney. It’s where the Europeans first settled and where everything began to change in the country that would become Australia.
John Bogan works there pretty much every day, brewing at the Endeavour Tap Rooms. It’s an enviable location, with the majesty of the harbour on the doorstep, icons of architecture on two sides, a sprawling botanical garden in which to wander and a trove of stories – some good, some not – carved into its sandstone walls.
As Australia Day rolled ever nearer this year, John wanted to find a connection between what he’s doing now and where he’s doing it with a little of what’s gone before and could perhaps feature more in future. Strolling through the gardens, he spotted a sign offering a bush food tour.
He tagged along, walking and learning about the area, about the land’s indigenous people and the food they had available. As a brewer, three things stood out in particular: lemon myrtle, finger lime and Davidson’s plum. His plan was to make a beer, there in the heart of The Rocks, which showcased these natives.
Building backwards, he began by reworking Endeavour’s mid strength malt base to ensure there was a neutral foundation for the three local but light ingredients to shine. To that he added a small amount of Ella hops, which has resulted in a beer with a distinctly lemony aroma that transitions into more of a tingling lime character when it meets your mouth before ending with a very faint bitterness and a gentle but refreshing and cleansing tartness.
The point of this Bush Tucker Brew was to start making real and respectful connections between the brewery and the area in which it’s privileged to sit. In that regard, it’s an Australia Day ale with a difference – a search for belonging in the shadow of Bennelong.
- Spiced Australian Ale