Murray’s Brewery is the most happening place in Port Stephens, not just because it’s the only place you see people under the age of 50 but because it’s brewing some of the finest beer in Australia. Last Sunday TVG ventured over to the brewery from the placid Soldiers Point for a spot of lunch and an afternoon of tasting Murray’s finest.
Murray’s has recently been recognized by the Australian beer industry’s latest ranking as the east coast’s top brewer – with 8 of their beers included in this year’s “The Critic’s Choice Top 100 Beers of 2011” list. I was first introduced to Murray’s when I sampled the Whale Ale at The Passage, not sure why it went away, best have a chat to Ed about that. The Whale Ale is a seriously refreshing and tasty beer, the type of beer that hits the lips and makes you stop for a moment, hold the bottle out, look intently at it and contemplate how happy you are that beer was invented. On Sunday we tried a host of other beers including the ‘Big Wednesday’ IPA, The Angry Man and The Pumpkin Ale, all on tap, as well as a couple of others we took home, The Dark Knight and Heart of Darkness.
Personally I enjoy a dark stout style beer, it’s not for everyone. If it is your type of thing Murray’s Dark Knight is a treat, not only does it make you feel cool because it’s named after Batman, it’s as complex as you are, rich and flavoursome and perfectly balanced featuring hints of caramel and dark chocolate. My ‘point for creativity’ standout of the day had to be the Smashing Pumpkin Ale which was basically a spiced ‘Pumpkin Pie’ in a glass, it was deeply intriguing – however not for the man who dislikes cinnamon! The ‘Big Wednesday’ Indian Pale Ale, was surprisingly dry, I often find IPA’s to be a little too much but this one blends the perfect amount of hops to create a very drinkable and dangerous beer.
To cap the day off Murray’s serve a serious lunch, we had a couple of pizzas that were very hearty, I wouldn’t recommend having a pizza each, there’s a lot of topping for your money! Every meal that came out of the kitchen looked worthy of a photo and after a quick chat with some fellow diners I heard each was as good as it looked.
Murray’s is doing things right, from the labelling of it’s products to it’s ‘Beer’ barbecue sauce, at no point of the day did I feel as though this craft brewer was trying to be anything it wasn’t and I love that, just a humble Australian brand making quality products. If you’re heading north and you need some lunch or a delicious beer, I highly recommend getting off the highway and driving in to visit Murray’s, you won’t be disappointed.