Endeavour Tap Rooms

They told everyone they’d have a place like this one day. Not everyone believed them. After all, Ben Kooyman, Andy Stewart and Dan Hastings had been hawking Endeavour Beer, the brand they launched in 2010, for more than six years with few outward signs of their ongoing search for a place to put a brewery. They wanted the right site, in the right location and they were prepared to wait in order to find it.

They’d decided on this path even before they launched, figuring whatever money they could scrape together from friends and family to invest in a new business would be better spent building a brand than immediately building a brewery . So they’d turned to contract brewing, employing a production brewery to make and package their beer for them. Today, the lines with gypsy brewing increasingly blurred, it’s an accepted way to join the beer world but when Endeavour began “contract brewing” were dirty words, to be spoken in a hushed tone with a finger pressed to pursed lips. For their part, Endeavour didn't hide where their beer came from, though they did manage to raise a few eyebrows by calling themselves a “vintage beer company”. 

It stemmed from the founders’ fondness for wine and wanting to build a beer business around one of wine’s most fundamental concepts. Their reasoning was that a beer, like a wine, is not simply about who makes it but the variances in the agricultural crops underpinning it, specifically barley and hops. Their interpretation of a “vintage beer” was therefore not necessarily wed to the year the beer was made, but the year in which the ingredients were harvested. 

Following the logic, each beer – even if using the same recipe – would be slightly different year to year, due to differences in the ingredients based on the growing conditions. Some drinkers were confused, seeing the word “vintage” on the label and assuming these approachable pale and golden ales were meant for ageing. While Endeavour did, and continues to, flirt with that concept on a Reserve Amber range, most of the styles they were selling simply weren’t built for it. To better reflect their message, “Vintage” became “Harvest” on the labels.

The confluence of these factors – no brewery, an occasionally confusing marketing angle and approachable beer styles at a time when experimentation was catching fire – led some to lump Endeavour as "faux craft". They weren't bothered. They weren't pretending to be anything they weren’t, they were proud of their beers, people liked them, they sold well enough and they were picking up medals at respected beer competitions, – including two at the respected World Beer Cup. Still, there was no sign of that brewery, just that talk of “We’re still looking for the right spot”.

Then they found it. 

It was in late 2016 that the doors to the Endeavour Tap Rooms opened, leading visitors into a quite beautiful little brewpub in the heart of The Rocks. In terms of where you would want a brewery to be – perhaps any business to be – it is an enviable location: a few steps from the front door and you're staring at the Opera House; a short stroll up the hill and you're on the Harbour Bridge; and you’re almost close enough to the Museum of Contemporary Art to tickle it with a paintbrush.

Despite being one of the dinkiest little breweries in the country – taller that it is wide and stacked within the nooks and crannies of a heritage building – you do wonder how on earth they got the equipment inside. In this space, with an ability to literally touch the tanks and the taps at the same time, brewer Scott O'Brien has the freedom to make small batches of whatever he wants. 

There are eight taps in total, half pouring Endeavour's core range, the remainder Scott's creations, although he’s almost dealing with one less as the first IPA to ever have come from the Tap Rooms went down so well they’re loathe to let it run out (this was, incidentally, one of Endeavour’s initial two house-brewed beers to win competition medals, at the 2017 Craft Beer Awards). 

If the immediate popularity of the IPA took them by surprise, they soon discovered the cause. Given its location, the Tap Rooms is a bona fide tourist magnet and it turned out it was travelling Americans, pouring off the cruise ships docked at the end of the street, who were keen to wrap their lips around some Aussie hops. They’re making sure to cater for all countries now, with styles as diverse as chocolate stout, India red ale, rauchbier and lighter wheat ales infused with native ingredients foraged from the nearby Botanical Gardens.

On the other side of the wall, you’ll find the pub. The old layout of the building means it’s made up of many small rooms, upstairs and down, which adds an automatic cosiness. Add some ornate decoration to give a touch of class and it’s a particularly pleasant pub in which to sit and enjoy a meal – perhaps little surprise given the whole venture is a partnership between Endeavour and the Applejack Hospitality group responsible for several other well regarded Sydney venues. The food errs towards a modern American style, with an emphasis on smoked meats from the smoker housed out back. In general it’s food that goes well with beer although there’s plenty else, from the pickled to the freshly picked, to keep you happy regardless of what’s in your glass. 

In all the years that Endeavour’s founders talked about opening a brewery, they’d talked of a bigger dream too: having a beer estate in Tasmania where they could grow their own malt and hops and properly showcase vintage beer as they imagined it. If past form is any indicator that might take a while but, with the Tap Rooms now a focal point for beer in one of Sydney’s most iconic locations, they can dare to keep dreaming. 

Nick Oscilowski

Name
Endeavour Tap Rooms
Address

39-43 Argyle Street
The Rocks
Sydney 2000

Phone
(02) 9241 6517
Website
Hours

Mon to Sat: 11am to midnight
Sun: 11am to 10pm

On tap at Endeavour Tap Rooms

Endeavour Tap Rooms Regulars

Endeavour Harvest Mid Pale Ale

Within the ever expanding boundaries attempting to contain the craft beer world, there seems to be relatively little attention paid to traditional hop and malt focused beers hovering around the 3.5 percent ABV range. You might place blame for that on the inherently simple flavour profile which is something of an antithesis to what the modern craft beer movement has been about: namely, the pursuit of more flavour. And yet, a low alcohol middie holds an important place – especially for anyone wishing… Read more
Style
Australian Pale Ale
ABV
3.5%
Bitterness
25

Endeavour Growers Lager

For most intents and purposes Endeavour's Growers Lager sits fairly neatly in the “clean, clear and cold” category of beer. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find at its heart an interesting Aussie take on a European lager. That’s based first on having a fairly traditional malt bill but topped with Ella hops, the variety they’ve deemed to be the nearest local equivalent to the Czech Saaz hop which famously features in so many well known lagers. It means a beer of subtle bready malt… Read more
Style
Lager
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
29

Endeavour Growers Summer Ale

The ‘tweener in the Endeavour range, the Growers Summer Ale is a halfway point for those that want a little more than the Lager but a little less than the Pale Ale. The beer is very pale courtesy of light malts – Vienna and Cara Pils plus a touch of raw wheat – and with a Vic Secret and Ella hop combo has a touch of resin, a bitterness that nibbles away gently and even a little spiciness leading into a dry finish. … Read more
Style
Summer Ale
ABV
4.2%
Bitterness
25

Endeavour Growers Pale Ale

The Growers Pale is the top seller in the Endeavour range and it's not especially difficult to see why that would be the case. After all, pale ales are the most popular beer for most breweries and this one pretty well delivers what you’d expect from an Aussie interpretation of the style. A combo of crystal, caramel and Munich malts gives the beer sweetness and body while Galaxy and Ella hops, added at several points – with particularly emphasis on dry hopping – do their bit to give off fruity… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
33

Endeavour Growers Golden Ale

As a business, Endeavour very much has an Aussie-first focus when it comes to ingredients and approach. The Growers Golden Ale is arguably the one core beer which allows itself to stray from the brief conceptually, sitting more in the camp of an English Bitter than it does with the kinds of golden ales made in most Australia breweries. Sure, it uses Aussie hops Ella and Vic Secret whose most notable contribution is a slight touch of resin, but you'd be forgiven for believing there’s something of… Read more
Style
Golden Ale
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
30

Endeavour IPA

Following the opening of the Endeavour Tap Rooms the IPA was the first beer to be made at the new brewery and gain a permanent place on the taps. That position was largely earned through outright popularity on the back of overseas tourists filing through The Rocks keen to get a taste of what Aussie hops could do. And thanks to the trio of Vic Secret, Ella and Galaxy they certainly got what they after, with the overall flavours erring towards the earthy, peppery, dry and bitter side rather than an… Read more
Style
IPA
ABV
6.4%
Bitterness
60

Endeavour Tap Rooms Specials

Endeavour Dark Wheat

Tapped November 20th, 2018
There’s a Fawlty Towers-esque “Don’t mention the war!” element underpinning this release from the Endeavour Tap Rooms. Specifically: “Don’t mention the Dunkel!”. This beer, according to most style guidelines, would be classed a Dunkelweizen but of course they wouldn’t dare call it that because who actually knows what that is or would buy one unless they were lingering alone and confused in some Bavarian beer hall? “Dark Wheat” seems far less foreign and terrifying so that’s… Read more
Style
Dunkelweizen
ABV
5.1%

Endeavour Citrus Pale Ale

Tapped November 20th, 2018
Olfaction carries a unique kind of nostalgic magic. None of our other senses are so quick to flash us back to a specific memory in the long distant past; voyages in grandma’s wardrobe, the torment of a childhood medicine, the school-era aroma of pencil shavings and a new eraser. This was the ensuing train of thought having been poured a can of Endeavour’s new Citrus Pale Ale to be met with an aroma not encountered for nigh on two decades: the smell of Fanta. It’s a rampant flourish of sweet… Read more
Style
Citrus Pale Ale
ABV
4.5%

Endeavour Kolsch & Red Rye IPA & Dessert Stout

Tapped October 10th, 2018
As he prepares to move on from the Endeavour Tap Rooms to pastures new, head brewer John “JB” Bogan is leaving a lineup of new beers that are a fair representation of the journey both he and the little brewery in The Rocks have been on in the past 18 months. The first is a Kolsch, a beer that nestles comfortably in the realm of easy-drinking styles with which Endeavour first rose but whose early reputation is being slowly shed thanks to the brewpub releases. As with the Rauchbier and Altbier… Read more
Style
Kolsch & Red Rye IPA & Sweet Stout
ABV
5.2% / 6.1% / 6.4%

Endeavour Native Ale

Tapped September 6th, 2018
At the beginning of 2018, Endeavour’s head brewer JB went walking. He stepped out of the brewery, turned right towards Circular Quay, followed the path past the Opera House, around Bennelong Point and into Sydney’s Botanical Gardens. There, he found himself tagging along on a Bush Food Tour that revealed an abundance of native ingredients growing in the area. It inspired him to celebrate Australia Day by making Bush Tucker Brew, the brewery’s first beer made with indigenous ingredients. Fast… Read more
Style
Fruit / Spice Beer
ABV
3.0%

Endeavour New South Pils & Reserve Amber & Belgian Tripel

Tapped August 6th, 2018
From their company’s inception, the founders of Endeavour talked about one day having two things: a brewery of their own and a beer estate where they could grow their own grain and hops and produce beers that were a true reflection of their location. While they’ve managed to chalk off the first thing on the list with their lovely little brewpub in The Rocks, that dream of country life is still some way off. In the meantime they’re doing they next best thing and collaborating with growers. And,… Read more
Style
Pilsner & Amber & Tripel

Endeavour Scottish Heavy & Choc Orange Stout

Tapped July 5th, 2018
They’ve adjusted to the seasons quite nicely down at the Endeavour Tap Rooms, unveiling a pair of distinct dark beers to please your palate across the warm days and cool nights currently constituting Sydney’s moderate winter weather. The first is a Scottish Heavy, a beer that’s weighty in name but light in nature at just 3.5 percent ABV. Unlike your average mid-strength golden ale, which can err towards a crisp nature and display of hop character, the Heavy is more determined to leave you… Read more
Style
Mid-Strength & Choc Orange Stout

Endeavour Belgian Blonde Ale & Vanilla Porter

Tapped June 1st, 2018
With the Sydney weather finally threatening to break into something resembling winter but not quite managing to cloud out the sunshine completely, the brewers at Endeavour have straddled the seasons by releasing something light and something dark. Beginning on the light side we have the Belgian Blonde Ale. This is their tribute to the unassuming old style of golden ale, where a handful of lighter malts have been cooked up together with some candied sugar and a Belgian yeast. In terms of aroma, the… Read more
Style
Belgian Blonde & Vanilla Porter
ABV
6.1% & 4.2%

Endeavour Donker Zuur

Tapped May 11th, 2018
Dark Saison. Barleywine. Double IPA. Cascadian Dark Ale. Remember the time when it felt like all Endeavour brewed was golden or pale ales? The latest in the increasingly expansive range of one-off beers to come from the little brewpub in The Rocks is arguably their most confronting to date: a dark sour ale that’s something of a homage to Oud Bruins. At the best of times it’s a style of beer that polarises thanks to its inherent vinegar-like quality, yet once you get past the intense sourness… Read more
Style
Sour ale
ABV
5.5%

Endeavour Wet-Hopped Cascadian Dark Ale & Summer Saison

Tapped April 18th, 2018
Towards the back end of 2017 the brewers at Endeavour filled the brewery’s designated ‘Something Dark’ tap with a roasty and pleasantly bitter Cascadian Dark Ale. It proved a popular beer so, when they went to the drawing board ahead of this year’s hop harvest, they figured it was a recipe they could bring back with a few seasonal tweaks. There are two key differences between the two versions. The first is, most obviously, that the beer has been made with fresh hops (five kilograms of Cascade… Read more
Style
Cascadian Dark Ale & Saison
ABV
5.9% & 4.7%

Endeavour Argyle Ale 2018 & Double Stacked IPA

Tapped March 28th, 2018
It’s been a year since the little brewery at the Endeavour Tap Rooms was fired up for the first time. To celebrate the fact, they’ve revisited one of the first new beers they put through the system: the Argyle Ale. That one, the 2017 edition, was an English strong ale but for this year’s version they’ve gone stronger still, moving into barleywine territory. Behind the scenes this beer was a bit of a brewer’s workout, requiring a mini mountain of malt to be hauled up ladders and tipped… Read more
Style
Barleywine & Double IPA
ABV
8.7% & 8.0%

Endeavour V.E.R.D.

Tapped March 2nd, 2018
Having foraged for inspiration and native ingredients for their recent Bush Tucker Brew, the brewers at the Endeavour Tap Rooms have looked towards locals of a different sort for their latest release. It stems from a trip that head brewer JB took to the home of NSW maltster Voyager, where he’d picked up the malt that went into a dark saison that appeared at the brewery over summer. A reciprocal visit from the Voyager team to The Rocks in February saw them hauling bags of a new "Super Munich"… Read more
Style
Red Ale
ABV
3.0%

Endeavour Bush Tucker Brew

Tapped February 1st, 2018
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… Read more
Style
Spiced Australian Ale
ABV
4.0%

Endeavour Melba Bitter

Tapped November 6th, 2017
Leaping fast out of the starting gates in order to stay a few lengths ahead of the IP lawyers, Endeavour has released a beer just in time for the Melbourne Cup. Part celebration, part homage and mostly just an opportunity too good to pass up, Melba Bitter was the first new beer made by head brewer JB following the birth of his first child. Using his newly acquired ability to make dad jokes combined with the beer using Melba hops and a release right on the cusp of the major racing carnival in his… Read more
Style
Bitter
ABV
4.6%
Bitterness
34 IBU
Stockists

Endeavour Tap Rooms

Endeavour Helga's Last Yodel / Rauchbier

Tapped October 24th, 2017
Ahead of Oktoberfest, Endeavour brewer JB decided he wanted to get in on the action by making a German style of beer. But he didn’t just want to do a lager. He wanted an alternative. And what could possibly be a better alternative than an altbier? Well, perhaps two alternatives. So he made a rauchbier as well. The alt (meaning “old”) is a copper coloured ale with some sweetness and toasty malt characters that was conditioned nearer the cool temperature favoured by lagers, with the ultimate… Read more
Style
Altbier & Rauchbier
ABV
4.4% & 4.7%

Endeavour India Red Ale

Tapped September 22nd, 2017
Andy Stewart, one of Endeavour’s founders and the original driving force behind the business’ beer recipes, missed out on giving the Tap Rooms brewery a proper christening due to being ensconced in the USA. So, understandably, on his most recent trip home he was keen to get his hands dirty and head brewer JB was only too happy to help him; he was even so generous as to organise a 5am start, mere hours after Andy had spent the preceding 24 in a plane. The pair got busy brewing an India red ale,… Read more
Style
India Red Ale
ABV
6.1%
Bitterness
58 IBU

Endeavour Dark Ale

Tapped September 22nd, 2017
When you stand at the bar at the Endeavour Tap Rooms waiting to order a beer, you pretty well know what you're going to get: after all, it says the name of the beer right there above the taps. Except, that is, if you're looking at tap number 7. That one is simply called "Something Dark" and it indicates that, yes, there’s a dark beer in here but, no, it won’t always be the same one. When coming up with the next beer it’s almost a case of brewer JB sticking his head out the door, seeing… Read more
Style
Mild Ale
ABV
4.1%
Bitterness
19 IBU
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