There’s a distinctly European vibe to these releases that hit tap at the Endeavor Tap Rooms in The Rocks in quick succession. And, given the aesthetics of the brand, the venue’s location in the colonial heart of Australia and the cooling weather, it all feels very fitting. It’s remarkable given almost all the ingredients are Australian and Aussies decided a long time ago that European beers are not and will never be cool. Quite frankly, it’s a disgrace.
First up is the OPT Porter. Named for the
monstrosity deliverer of economic prosperity, the Overseas Passenger Terminal on nearby Circular Quay, the OPT is a brown porter with an emphasis on brown. This beer is a deep brown with ruby highlights, much closer to a more traditional beer drunk in the mother country a couple of centuries ago. The beer eschews bitterness and roasty malts for a softer, sweeter approach. It’s all caramel and chocolate without being cloying. But probably the most noticeable and exciting aspect of this beer are the hops. Fuggles is the most iconic English hop variety and it’s being grown at Ryefield Hops right here in Bemboka, NSW. The Fuggles lends an earthy, grassy and almost tea-like aroma to the sweet malts. It’s a wonderful combination and probably the reason it’s been used in brown porters for 150 years. Essentially, it’s a pitch perfect English porter comprised entirely of Australian ingredients.
Beer number two is the Hazy Wet Hop IPA. Now just holster your comment writing fingers there, fella. Clearly, we’re aware that the name of this beer sounds more American than privatised healthcare but it tastes anything but. The growing popularity of wet hop beers probably belies how underwhelming a lot of them turn out to be. One might think jamming a whopping great sack full of hop flowers into a beer is going to make it bitter and more intensely aromatic than using those little green pellets that’ve been sitting in cold storage for months. But you’d be wrong. Without going into the hugely exciting science of beer, fresh hop flowers are nowhere near as potent with perceived bitterness and aromatics. So it’s somewhat baffling that many brewers still seem to believe that the only beer you can make with fresh hop flowers is some kind of American IPA.
What Endeavour have done here is create a Belgian style IPA which differs from the American versions through those signature Belgian yeast characteristics. The use of rye in the malt bill adds a bit of spice and the all Australian hop bill (which includes 10kg of fresh Galaxy flowers) provides plenty of citrus. What results is a hazy golden beer that’s bitter, spicy with a strong marmalade streak. The hint of bubblegum and yeasty esters make for a much more interesting beer, and it works.
Last but not least, we have the Voyager Amber Ale. In January 2019, Endeavour switched to NSW maltsters Voyager Craft Malts for all their base malt. As a little nod to that, they’ve brewed up an amber ale exclusively using Voyager specialty malts as well.
It presents as an almost red deep amber with a big fluffy head. Although technically an American-style amber, again the ingredients are all Australian with the exception of a bit of US Cascade. The beer leans more into the malty side of the amber ale spectrum with a sweet biscuity flavour offset by a decent perceived bitterness and classic Cascade hop aroma and a bit of a berry note probably due of the use of Aussie Enigma. Again, this beer is more strongly reminiscent of an English style ale and an excellent choice for an autumn evening spent people watching in a 19th century pub.
- Various styles