Craft beers bring fresh flavours to Parramatta

IT sounds like a dream job, but Dave Padden puts in long hours brewing beer at his North Parramatta brewery.

"I've never worked harder in my entire life," he said.

Drinking his Riverside Brewing Company beers is probably more fun.

Craft brewers are popping up all over the place and the sector now accounts for about 3 per cent of a $4.7 billion Australian beer market.

Paul Kuipers has served Padden's beers at his restaurant Courtney's Brassiere in Parramatta for a while now.

Kuipers' menu only uses seasonal foods, grown as locally as possible, and he said his beer selection complemented the food.

Beer complementing food?

It's a relatively new phenomenon in Australia.

But "beer professor" at Parramatta's Bavarian Bier Cafe Dom Dighton says it's the way things were meant to be. "We think our beers have awesome flavours and aromas," he said.

"We don't chill them down below zero like you get in the mainstream pubs because that only masks those flavours and aromas."

But while the mainstream beer market is under pressure from craft and imported premium brands, licensees around Parramatta say they still dominate.

At the family owned and operated Rose and Crown Hotel, manager Dan Turner says those mainstream beers remained the bread and butter staples.

"We sort of stick to the basics here, your VB, Reschs, Tooheys New and Carlton Draft," he said.

"They sort of tick along with the locals."

But even pubs where the locals know what they want can't ignore the popularity of craft brews.

Turner, whose father Peter owns and runs the hotel, said the the Rose and Crown was about to stock a selection of Balmain Brewing Company drops.

It's a similar story at The Albion, where Dom Whitton says the most popular drops of beer are the old brand names which people are familiar with.

But with a selection on hand, Whitton says there is now an option of choosing what beer you drink according to what you want to eat.

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