Microbrewery Sydney - 4 Pines Brewing Company - Restaurant Reviews Northern Beaches
4 Pines Manly Review
29/43-45 East Esplanade Manly NSW 2095
T (02) 9976 2300
F (02) 9976 2400
Reviewer - Danny 'Taste-Bud' Gray
4 Pines Manly is a venue for all seasons, warm and inviting in winter and cool and airy in summer. With world class seasonal craft beers matched to an excellent menu, this Manly institution ranks as one of the Northern Beaches' best drinking and dining destinations.
If you're like the millions of tourists and commuters that traverse Sydney Harbour bound for the golden shores of Manly the first thing you're likely to see in the distance are the Norfolk Pines dotting the shoreline.
Concealed beyond the pines perched up above Manly Cove like a lofty king surveying his estate is 4 Pines Brewing Company. No, not more trees, a brewery and not just any brewery - this one has become a Manly institution. Embodying the laid back spirit and fun-loving attitude that makes Manly one of the greatest places you could ever want to live, 4 Pines is offering what so many venues these days cannot, beer that doesn't suck!
Australians are renowned beer drinkers, but that doesn't mean we have the slightest idea about that amber liquid we love so much. For too long our nation has been producing tasteless and preservative-laden beer that is a mockery of the purity laws developed in Germany in the 16th Century. The last few years however have seen a renaissance of sorts in the art of brewing and Australians are taking note and enjoying lovingly produced craft beer.
The story behind 4 Pines is simple. Four years ago two blokes are in Manly and realise there is no place to get a decent beer. Realising the potential for a craft beer dispensary, the venue and brewery that we now know as 4 Pines was created. Inspired by similar installations such as Little Creatures in WA, 4 Pines has built a unique and iconic brand that has become a most welcomed part of the Manly landscape. Named after the 4 Norfolk Pines that were cut down during WWII to make way for defence turrets, the stumps serve as a reminder to the sacrifice made by many to protect our great land.
4 Pines is a venue for all seasons, warm and inviting in winter and cool and airy in summer. Modest in size, it is dwarfed by the other gargantuan pubs in Manly. However, what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in character and most importantly flavour. The beverages on offer here are world class and the food is both varied and wonderful. The guys and gals at 4 Pines have really evolved the humble beer into an aromatic and complex libation, just like fine wine. Just as with smart wine pairings, the team has matched its fantastic beers to an excellent menu.
Sarah, our gracious host and veteran beer guru at 4 Pines, graciously explained the brewing process. Everything is brewed onsite, so if you think those steel vats and valves are just for show think again, you've entered a working brewery. The hops are sourced from Tasmania, New Zealand and Japan and everything is of the highest quality with a focus on sustainability. The leftover malt from the brew is used by a local farmer for cow feed. The brewing process utilizes only natural ingredients with no additives or preservatives. The end result being a better tasting, better for you beer that is less likely to give you a hangover!
Beer Tasting Rack
There are a number of different beers poured at 4 Pines so if you're more on the indecisive side I recommend the tasting rack which showcases the 5 main beers on tap. With our tasting racks sitting patiently in front of us we waited for the food, which was a dish matched to each of the 5 beers. I should also mention there is decent wine list on offer for those who can't abide the taste of beer, but for your own sake give it a go. Ask your bartender to recommend a beer to your taste.
The Hefeweizen, an aromatic and fruity brew made from wheat is a beer for people who don't like beer. The “Hef” comes matched with the Risotto Del Mare which is a seafood risotto featuring mussels and salmon with saffron infused rice. The consistency of the risotto is damn near perfect and the flavours are fresh and vibrant as is the colour. The Hefeweizen’s citrus tones are a perfect complement to the seafood.
Most Popular Beer at 4 Pines Brewing Company?
The most popular of the beers is the Kolsch, a standard ale which is easy to drink and light in colour. It's a very Australian brew and easy to quaff. The kitchen has matched the Kolsch with the Salt and Pepper Squid, which comes served with a sweet Asian dipping sauce and is a real treat. The coating is light and crisp and the meat is tender and soft. The squid and beer combination is great and a perfect way to watch the sun go down over the harbour.
Pork Belly: Crispy, Crackling and Juicy
Another popular brew is the Pale Ale, hoppy and fruity with a depth of flavour rare in most beers. The Pale Ale lingers on the palette and is a real treat for the aficionados of fine ales. This beer comes paired with the Pork Belly - a quite stunning dish in its own right. Crispy, crackling and tender juicy pork, it's generously portioned and with the Asian dressing and steamed bok choy makes for a good main course option. The beer suits this dish well as the strong hoppy flavours of the Pale Ale cut through the rich taste of the pork. A great combo of meat and mead.
Mega Beef Burger Manly
The Best Burger in Manly?
The next course is a premium take on a classic pub combo: the Extra Special Bitter which comes served with the Mega Beef Burger. This burger in every way deserves the prefix 'Mega'.
It’s comprised of a double beef patty with double cheese, bacon, beetroot, lettuce, tomato with caramelised onion, relish and aioli.
This burger is a fine example of Australia's take on the humble hamburger and it's quite possibly the best you'll find in Manly. The beer, as you would expect, is quite bitter but also special, having earned a Gold and Silver medal in the Australian International Beer Awards.
The ESB isn't bottled so the only way you're going to get a taste is if you get down to 4 Pines and try it for yourself on tap!
Stout with Sticky Date Pudding
The final course is a tribute to our English heritage with a couple of old world recipes. There is a Stout with Sticky Date Pudding. Stout beer is definitely not the most popular variety in Australia, it's dark colour and slightly thicker viscosity can make it a little too foreign for the average beer drinker. If you can put aside your preconceptions of stout there's a whole world of aromas and flavours awaiting you with this 4 Pines brew, all coffee and chocolate on the nose with tonnes of dark, rich and smoky flavours, a perfect companion for dessert.
The Sticky Date Pudding is fantastic, beautifully moist and sweet it's nearly as good as my mums (that's the best compliment I can give believe me!). This combo will serve you well in winter. For summer I might recommend the cider, fresh and crisp and not as sickeningly sweet as others on the market. 4 Pines has nailed their apple cider with a beverage that is ridiculously drinkable.
It's clear that 4 Pines have got this brewing caper down to a fine art, Every beer is unique and excellent with a range to satisfy anyone from the connoisseur to the newbie. The food ain't too shabby either. The head chef has put together an extensive menu that compliments every beer being poured.
Beer in Space?
So what's next for 4 Pines? I'm glad you asked because it's something that you may not expect. Working closely with Saber Astronautics, 4 Pines has been developing beer for space. Yes, no longer are these poor astronauts doomed for a boring sober trip orbiting our great planet.
While the thought of inebriated astronauts travelling at 8 Kilometres per second at the controls of a multi-billion dollar spacecraft right over our heads is rather sobering in itself, you can't help but admire 4 Pines' pioneering bravado. Don't worry I'm sure NSW police will have an RBT up in the thermosphere soon enough.
What is involved in developing beer for space? Sarah did a great job bombarding me with scientific theories and principles and if I didn't have so much wonderful beer and food in front of me I may have retained more of it. Essentially conventional beer when in a zero-gravity environment doesn't fizz, meaning the liquids and gases don't separate which can lead to discomfort for the drinker. Another effect of space travel is a reduced sense of taste (sorry Mr Branson I think you just lost a customer!).
Beer in space must be low in carbonation and high in taste. You'll be happy to know that in February this year the beer was tested in a zero-gravity parabolic flight with pleasing results. So if you are ever lucky enough to experience a trip into space you may just have a 4 Pines brew in your hand as you gaze over the planet from the edge of the atmosphere.
Ok, science and research aside 4 Pines in Manly is doing some pretty special things back on terra firma with great beers in a warm and inviting venue. So get down to Manly and check it out. There is live music a few nights a week with daily specials offering some great value. There are seasonal brews popping up constantly which give you plenty of motivation to become a regular. With the brewing operation looking to expand into a warehouse in Brookvale there are exciting things ahead too including the potential for warehouse style beer parties!
You don't have to come to the brewery to try 4 Pines beer, the brand has burrowed its way deep into the Aussie drinking vernacular with the label becoming a frequent sight in bar fridges nationwide. However, if you want to see where it comes from and appreciate the love and dedication that goes into one of the finest beers being produced anywhere, come down to Manly and try it fresh from the brewery.
The Good – A unique and awesome venue. Great drinks and food. Good value for money.
The Bad – Can get crowded at times and seating gets snapped up quickly.
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