If you're from New South Wales and drink craft beer, the chances are you know of Rocks Brewing. Over the past few years, it has become one of the more widely recognised breweries in the state despite not actually having a brewery until early 2014.
For the first five years of its life, Rocks' spiritual home was Harts Pub, with its beers brewed under contract at eight or nine other breweries while its owners searched high and low for somewhere to build their own. Initially, they hoped they would find a site in The Rocks before finally they found their home in an industrial estate in Alexandria.
And what a home it is. The glass-walled space houses a brewery setup unique to Australia as well as a gorgeous, exposed wood brewery bar and kitchen. It means visitors can work their way through the ten Rocks beers and ciders on tap, tuck into some quality beer-friendly food – or both – while sat as little as five metres away from where the brewers are at work or in the large, 800 square metre, family-friendly outdoor courtyard dotted with intriguingly landscaped planted plots.
The brewery is a 2,000 litre HEBS brewing system from IDD in California that The Rocks crew reckon is capable of handling a dozen or more brews a day should there be demand. This is thanks to a concertina-like mash filter system that significantly slashes the time it takes to push through a brew and also allows them to attempt beers such as one they created with almost 100 percent wheat for GABS 2014 - something that would be nigh on impossible on a standard brewery setup.
Having built the brand with more straightforward beers, such as a golden, pale, IPA and red ale, the move to their own brewery saw more experimental beers make regular appearances, while 2017 saw the brewery collect a trophy at the Craft Beer Awards for one of the beers in its Conviction series of limited releases.
At the brewery bar, they offer five-beer tasting paddles, while visitors can also load up on PET growlers designed by the Rocks team to take home. Should you call in on a weekend, you can work your way through a tasting paddle while enjoying the sounds of live acoustic music.
The brewery owners have also added another pub to their collection, with Rocks beers, as well as a range of other local and international craft offerings, pouring through the 16 taps at the reinvented Lord Raglan in Redfern.