Young Henrys restaurant resume is first class. They’ve canoodled with the who’s who of Sydney’s fine dining scene and these smooth operators grace the beer lists of Marque, Momofuku, ARIA, Chiswick, Bloodwood, Spencer Guthrie, Six Penny and Rockpool. Wow, you’re thinking. They must be good in bed. Sorry, at brewing.
Everyone wants a piece of Young Henrys, which can only mean their beer is good. Very good.
“The idea for Young Henrys started nearly six years ago over a bar. The business as it is now has been running for a bit over two and a half years and is a very different beast to what we first ever imagined” says Oscar McMahon, one of the core members of 20 or so individuals who make up the self-described “misfit family”.
Inside Young Henrys on Wilford Street in Newtown
Situated in the backstreets of Newtown, this boutique brewery is a community haven, connecting beer lovers throughout the inner west and elsewhere. The large warehouse space contains the brewery itself, a tasting bar and a sea of elevated communal tables for beer and banter. “The idea for Young Henrys from the very start was to create a brewing company that was connected to the people who enjoy it. The tasting bar is the embodiment of this ethos. It’s our way of including people in our world and sharing the love of beer” says Oscar.
A tour of the Young Henrys brewery
Young Henrys brew a core range that includes a Real Ale, Hop Ale, Natural Lager and Cloudy Cider as well as limited release beers that change according to new partnerships.
A creative collaboration recently unfolded with restaurateur Kylie Kwong, with whom Young Henrys share a similar ethos for “freshness, balance, localism and collaboration” states Oscar. “She is also very passionate about Australian native ingredients as are we”.
For the re-birth of Kylie’s Potts Point restaurant Billy Kwong, Young Henrys brewed a single-batch beer (Quandong Saison) to be offered on tap. Oscar explains “Quandong Saison is a beautiful beer that showcases Australian native Quandong fruit and Lemon Aspen in a slightly spicy yet easily drinkable Saison (a broadly defined pale ale). It is unusual, balanced, crisp, tart and refreshing with a smooth malty mouthfeel.”
Tasting notes of the Hop Ale from Young Henrys core range
Another recent project has evolved with Sam Taylor, founder of the Newtown Growler Depot and organiser of the Sydney Craft Beer and Cider Festival. The Depot, located within the Newtown Wine Shop on King Street, is home to Rosie – a custom-built machine that is capable of cleaning, sanitising and filling growler bottles (two litre glass bottles for beer). With Rosie, customers can have direct access to 12 fresh craft brews from Young Henrys, Batch Brewing, Shenanigans, Dennis, Grifter, Willie the Boatman and Little Creatures.
Sam explains “Brewers fill reusable kegs that go directly to a growler depot, the customer cleans and fills their re-useable growler with their beer of choice. They go home, enjoy it with friends (or by themselves), rinse out their bottle and keep it for next time. In this whole cycle there is no packaging waste, no beer sitting around on shelves or in wholesaler’s warehouses, which means there are more interesting beers available.” Moreover the project is very ‘green’; so the group are “practically saving the world with every delicious mouthful”.
Young Henrys has solidified its place amongst Sydney’s flourishing craft beer scene with its passion, collaborations and sense of community. As they continue to partner with Sydney’s culinary A-list and local artisans, the future for these highbrow harlots looks bright.