December 4, 2012 by Nick Oscilowski
Next Wednesday, Sydney's incomparable suburb of Newtown celebrates its sesquicentenary. And, in honour of the 150 years that have passed since being proclaimed a municipality, one of its youngest residents is brewing a celebratory gift.
The crew at Young Henrys will be revealing the Newtowner, a 4.8 percent ABV English summer ale which, according to the release notes, is "made with Australian Pale and English Crystal malts … finished with a trio of Australian hops, producing a golden, refreshing beer with a well-rounded malt and hop balance and a slightly dry finish."
It's a tribute from the new boys on the block to what is an old and extremely colourful area of Sydney, one that finds comfort in being different and appears to value community like few others.
That said, it does seem odd to be referring to Young Henrys as new, considering how much of a fixture they have become in the community. Indeed, locals have taken to their arrivel with such gusto that, on busy days, one could conceivably find their way to the brewery by sticking to King Street and watching out for people carrying deep brown glass growlers with the flowing letters "YH" emblazoned upon them. Yet the brewery is still well within its first year of operation…
With a motto of "Serve the People", Young Henrys appeared focused on its community from the very beginning. That suggestion has only been strengthened as 2012 has worn on and the brewery continues to ride a tide of good will and local support. That's in part on the back of beer releases like Black Enmore, made with Peter Fenton as part of the Rock n Roll collaborations, which was as soulful a homage to a suburb as a beer might get. Then there was Radio Red, released during Sydney Craft Beer Week, which was a fundraiser for community radio station FBi – a station that actively supports local music.
They are striking examples of a brewery understanding and catering for its immediate market. Newtown, so it seems, has long been full of diversity and Young Henrys is simply a natural part of this. Stopping in at the brewery on any given day, youre as likely – perhaps more likely – to find artists, musicians, chefs and poets than you will beer lovers. The brewery, like the suburb it lies within, is a creative hub.
And its surely no coincidence that the ascent of Young Henrys has helped the continuing rise of craft beer in neighbouring suburbs – the likes of nearby Erskineville, Redfern, Glebe, Petersham and others are increasingly sporting the "YH" tap badge, as well as other brands. So often, it seems, craft beer and community go hand in hand.
But, for all that those neighbouring suburbs may offer, thanks to the likes of Young Henrys it's Newtown that continues to reign as king, proving that being old school is still cool.
Cheers, Newtown, to the next 150 years.
On the official Proclamation Day, December 12, head to Brown Street in Newtown for a street fair to reflect on something old, then off to The Courthouse Hotel to try the taste of something new. Following the official launch, Newtowner will be available at several other venues within the 2042 postcode.