Murray's Craft Brewing Company
But there’s a-nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer. So sang the late country singing legend Slim Dusty and, more importantly, the words of the famous song were penned by Gordon Parsons, a long-time regular at the Cosmopolitan Hotel at Taylors Arm. When Sydneysider Murray Howe bought the pub in 2003 he cheekily renamed it The Pub With No Beer and installed a microbrewery out the back. It was a doubly brave decision because the mid-north coast hamlet of Taylors Arm (population 50) isn’t exactly on the way to anywhere and is reached via some of the worst-sealed roads in the land. But Howe had a grand plan beyond the pub, recruited Kiwi brewer Graham Mahy and gave him a free hand to create ‘unconventional, hand-crafted beers’ that are pitched at a wider market. While Mahy has an obvious liking for Belgianstyle ales, he also has a fairly original take on flavour. ‘Typically, our beers are untypical,’ he says. ‘They’re not true to style.’ Mahy has moved on and his assistant Shaun Sherlock now runs the brewery but Mahy’s mark is still obvious. Nirvana Pale Ale straddles both British and American pale ale styles without really committing wholeheartedly to either and there is a gorgeously hedonistic Grand Cru. Anniversary Ale is a potent barley wine which spent time maturing in an ex-merlot wine barrel. Sure, Elephant Head Pilsner is a fairly predictable lager, possibly brewed with front-bar patrons in mind, but the rest of Murray’s range is a breath of fresh air. In a major recent development, Murray Howe has acquired the Port Stephens Winery, which he plans to turn into a joint showcase for their wines and his beers. A large tasting room, bar and restaurant have been refurbished and a microbrewery will be installed on the site some time in 2009.
Some Belgian inspiration meets laconic antipodean interpretations in a happy marriage for beer lovers everywhere who eagerly await the next ‘out-there’ creation.
Murray’s Sassy Blonde
Behind the Label
Who else could get Skippy and a schooner on their beer label and call it after a bloke named Murray? The logo suggests that no one here is taking themselves too seriously and fun is the order of the day. Sassy Blonde balances drinkability with an obviously Belgian yeast character, which hints at Leffe Blonde (a Belgian pale ale) before pulling back to a quaffable, yet undeniably ‘sassy’ sort of session ale. This is a beer with no real peer in Australia.
The Pub With No Beer, Taylors Arm Road, Taylors Arm 2447 Tours by appointment; bar; restaurant; takeaway salescomments powered by Disqus