Open since December last year, not sure how we’ve missed this spot at destinationsville – Darling Harbour. There’s a nice Inner West kind of vibe to this place which is uncharacteristic of the standard King Street Wharf venues.
A growing mainstream awareness of craft beers, they offer a unique and rare experience joining local mircrobreweries, Endeavor Tap Rooms at The Rocks and Circular Quay’s Squire Landing.
There are five permanent taps with another four that alternate depending on the demand. Despite production having to rely on demand, it provides a creative space for Head Brewer, Sam Clayman and his team to refine and retweak seasonal releases. This is a win for beer lovers, enabling Sam to experiment with different yeast strains and play around with fermentation temperatures.
The microbrewery acts as a backdrop to the bar entry housing five vessels which can produce over 5600 schooners. Exposed piping and mesh gating accentuate the timber setting giving an urban edge to a casual night out.
For the laymen out there like myself, the IBU measure indicates the hop content in the brew – impacting flavoring and stability of the beer.
We lined up 7 from their taps. It was like a rainbow of beer showcasing some very distinct styles of lager and ale:
From Left to Right (man that was hard work):
HUMP DAY I.P.A. (Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV • 45 IBU)
It’s an inviting copper toned schooner of trickery. iThe artist paints and you see exactly what they want to express, one of the more abstract styles in the All hands repertoire, if you’re bitter – this one’s for you! They tell me it’s an acquired taste for the refined palette.
WOOD DUCK CREAM ALE (Alcohol Content: 4.7% ABV • 18 IBU)
It’s the signature and crowd favorite. It uses nitrogen to replicate the foamy tops of a cask ale but there are other carbonating/oxidising factors to it also. The only thing you need to know is there’s a nice comfortable sweet spot of vanilla and speckles of spice that come through.
BUNNY HOP LAGER (Alcohol Content: 5.0% ABV • 30 IBU)
It’s a radiating straw colored brew that answers the legacy of the original Pilsner. Crisp, bitter, snappy with a backbone and is always a good safe choice.
LONGNECK BEST BITTER (Alcohol Content: 4.1% ABV • 22 IBU)
The deep amber elixir with its caramel malt, coppered toast and spicy rye. Using two species of Hop plants for stabilization there are whispers of conflict in each sip of citrus and spice that are quite alluring.
IRISH SPORT STOUT (Alcohol Content: 5.1% ABV • 51 IBU)
We enter the realms of fruity-dry, top fermenting ale with this basic black concoction. It’s thick, it’s dry with punch packing hues of coffee and chocolate. It’s their unique house blend and not for the light hearted.
This was recommended in a pairing with the Jack Daniels Single Barrel Rye also on offer during the event from their pop-up station. Surprisingly, one of the most memorable of the evening.
HOUSE CIDER – This golden wheat beer of cloudiness sits on the fruitier side if you’re after something light and easy.
SCORCHER IMPERIAL SUMMER ALE (Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV • 25 IBU)
It sits on the fruitier side with hints of passionfruit, lime, papaya and berries. It’s the strongest in terms of alcohol content in their repertoire and dangeorously smooth.
KING’S TIPPLE KOLSCH (Alcohol Content: 4.6% ABV • 16 IBU)
Light copper tones of pear and apple which is where I comfortably sit in terms of beer.
Photo – Supplied
It’s a southern style menu put together by Group Execuitive chef Graeme McLaughlin and chef Michael Acevedo. It takes the casual pub menu up a notch with a focus on sharing plates, smoked meat, with a strong focus on locally sourced seafood both in their salads, mains and platters.
Photo – Supplied
Unlike many around the harbour, All Hands provides a very different experience to many of its neighbours and definitely worth a visit. For a family catch up, birthday celebration, or an after work drink, it’s the perfect venue.
Joseph Lloyd, Contributor