Yes, I know this seems ridiculous but I went to a coffee festival and drank beer.
Okay, I had a coffee and some food first but how could I resist a morning beer when Rocks Brewing had a pop-up bar serving some coffee inspired treats.
One Shot was an espresso-spiked, caffeinated red ale. Holding it up to the light, it glinted with a reddish colour, kind of like oxblood leather.
It showed off some reasonable head retention and it had a medium body which made it very easy to drink.
Some coffee notes came towards the bottom of the beer, whereas the malty notes you’d expect from a red ale were up front.
This created a nice balance and meant the coffee wasn’t overpowering. It was a great example of a coffee beer.
They were also serving a “depth charge”. A schooner of their Butcher porter, with a ristretto dropped into it. It was one hell of a taste sensation and a combination which worked well. It packed a fragrant coffee kick which helped bring out the roasty notes in the porter.
They also had their pale ale and golden ale on tap and these were proving fairly popular as always but it the real action was in the coffee beers, at least for my money.
All about the experience
If enjoying beer is all about the experience then they couldn’t have asked for better conditions. It was the warmest winter day for a while and the sun was shimmering across the harbour.
The Opera House and Harbour Bridge looked resplendent as always. Sydney is very easy to fall in love with.
They had a roped off area with keg-tables and stools which made it perfect. Drinkers were separated from the crowds and this allowed the RSA guys to do their job.
It also meant there was plenty of room to sit or stand, and the choice between sun and shade.
This kind of event is what SydneyBeer is all about. It’s good to see local craft companies coming together to showcase their wares and entice a few people. Rocks Brewing Co. were certainly creating a buzz and attracting a lot of attention (as you’d expect a pop-up bar at a coffee festival would).
The guys on the bar were doing a good job of selling their beers and talking to punters. Although, with a mountain of Black Star Pastry venison and porter pies, they didn’t need to do much to attract people to the bar. (I wish I’d had a pie – they looked so good!)
It’s kind of a shame that it’ll be another year until we may get to see this again. But I’m sure Rocks Brewing Co. will have pop-up bars elsewhere before then.
If you were at Aroma Coffee Festival and tried the One Shot or Depth Charge, let me know what you thought in the comments.