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Dave’s Brewery Tour

Feel like a real beer in Sydney? Call Dave.

Dave and his delicately-decalled vehicle
Dave and his delicately-decalled vehicle

Like most beer drinking countries, which are practically anywhere the sun shines, Australia over the last hundred years has seen the cycle of small/big/small again.

In the pioneering days almost every tiny town had a brewer or two with a larger number of them in every city as it grew.

Then came industrialisation, consolidation and rationalisation. The taste of beer ‘progressed’ from individual to standardised.

A paddle full of pleasure
A paddle full of pleasure

Good for the thirsty masses but definitely no fun for the enthusiasts.

In some cases there was outrage against the system. In 1971 in Britain the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) took appropriate umbrage against the steady supply of sameness in metal canisters from the amalgamated giants. Real ales from struggling traditional breweries and small new ventures made their mark in wooden barrels on the counters of local pubs. Happiness in a pint glass was restored.

Other countries in Europe didn’t call for such assertive action, but the craft beer movement was a necessary reaction in the New World. Thirty years ago in Australia, big breweries dominated every state with very samey lager styles. Out of the West came some heroes. In Fremantle, Matilda Bay and Little Creatures spread the word. Today there are over 100 craft breweries around the country. In Sydney you can find pubs that will let you sample three or four or more of them but it’s much more fun to visit the actual breweries to absorb the malt and hops through your pores before you take the liquid amber into your mouth.

We have just the man to take you there.

Dave Phillips.

Dave explaining the brewing process at Four Pines of Manly
Dave explaining the brewing process at Four Pines of Manly

He does tours from his city base around Sydney’s Inner City, the Inner West, the Wild West, the Northern Beaches even down the South Coast. You’ll visit three or four small to medium size establishments, and watch the brewers in action over their mash tuns, kettles and tanks. Examine the various malts and varieties of local and imported hops before you sample the beers they create. Rejoice in a sip or two of American Pales, Indian Pales, Saisons, Golden Ales, Summer Ales, American Browns, Wheat Beers, Stouts and Porters.

The Tasting Room at Nomad
The Tasting Room at Nomad

Not your standard schooner at your local. And your local doesn’t have the passion of Dave and the dedicated brewers you’ll meet to talk you through the nuances of the time-blessed arts that deliver those aromas and flavours.

The longer tours include a beer-connoisseurs lunch, and of course you travel comfortably in Dave’s discreetly-decorated coach with like-minded aficionados, swapping stories of your first beer, your favourite and your least liked.

The Brew Hall at Modus Operandi, the sign on the back wall says: ‘honest local fresh
The Brew Hall at Modus Operandi, the sign on the back wall says: ‘honest local fresh

Dave told us American visitors to Sydney, especially those from noted craft beer states like Oregon, California, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Washington call and book as soon as their boat docks or plane lands. It’s a great endorsement and if you have a thirst upon you, you can find out more at



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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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