There may be more unlikely venues for a craft brewery but, offhand, I can’t think of one. The Markets Hotel is a 24-hour pub opposite Sydney’s Flemington fresh produce market, where you’re more likely to run into a fork-lift driver hoovering down schooners of VB at the end of the shift than a beer snob savouring quality beer. Which is a pity, because the inhouse brewery produces a sound range of flavoursome beers. Occasionally, I’ve heard Paddy’s referred to as a ‘trophy microbrewery’ by fellow craft-brewers though, undoubtedly, with a degree of envy as it is, actually, a trophy-winning outfit: they snared the 2004 AIBA (Australian International Beer Awards) Champion Small Brewery trophy and they won the award again in 2006, only to lose it a few days after the presentation ceremony, following a protest from the runner-up. The latter incident is undoubtedly the most controversial episode in the AIBA 15-year-plus history. Both Paddy’s Brewery and Western Australia’s Colonial Brewing Company (which ultimately won the trophy) received exactly the same number of gold, silver and bronze medals but the latter had entered fewer entries and was correctly awarded the silver after a recount. An embarrassing ‘mathematical error’ by the chief steward was revealed as the reason for the mix-up. Whatever the motivation behind this microbrewery appearing in such an unlikely location, it has been pumping out noteworthy beers since coming on-line in 2001. The accolades won at various beer competitions speak for themselves and indicate that the various brewers who have manned Paddy’s pots and pans have been given a free hand with the house brews. Of course, it’s only available on tap at The Markets Hotel which makes a trip out Flemington markets way pretty much obligatory for any serious beer-hound.
The brewery offers a good range of flavoursome brews with some standout limited releases. Paddy’s is an unlikely oasis of fine craft beer tucked away in a busy blue-collar boozer.
Paddy’s Scottish Ale
Behind the Label
There is no label, as such, because Paddy’s has yet to bottle any of their house brews (though they are available in 12.5-litre party keggies) and even their tap-tops feature only the most basic logo. Obviously, the brewery takes its name from Paddy’s Market located opposite the pub. It’s a pity some of Paddy’s limited releases haven’t been bottled because they cover some exotic styles including a whiskyinfused Scotch ale (Clan Cameron), a rye beer, a lychee-infused fruit brew, a wooded Baltic porter and the self-explanatory Christmas Pudding Ale.
The Markets Hotel, 268 Parramatta Road, Flemington 2129 Tours by appointment; bar; restaurantcomments powered by Disqus