When visiting Freshwater’s new taproom and restaurant in Brookvale, a little suburb near Manly, I was expecting something darker, grungier, maybe even a little industrial. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered an airy, bright taproom that would feel right at home alongside the beach.

Their 120-capacity open plan floor space has a huge horseshoe bar with 14 taps of only their finest. And that’s what I was really here for – the beers.

I was hooked from my first taste of their Wedge Cerveza which is like a Corona… if it was brewed well. It’s actually amazing because you know how Corona is only bearable when you put a wedge of lime or lemon in it? Yeah, this beer tastes like it already has a wedge in it. It’s genius.

Every single beer I tried was delicious for different reasons. Their dark lager, Dusky Dark, was brilliant, even on a warm day. It just glides down your throat. But the real surprise for me was the Duke’s Czech Pilsner. Using traditional ingredients and a long lagering time pour meant this tasted very similar to Staropramen, a very popular Czech beer. That’s high praise as they are Czechia’s second largest beer producer for a reason. Also, if the Czechs, who consume the most beer per capita in the world, can’t get a beer right, who can?

But I have to mention the food, of course, because a lot of thought has been put into it. Most breweries offer burgers. That’s not a bad thing, I love burgers, but it isn’t exactly exciting or interesting, is it? Thankfully, Freshwater Brewing tried something a little different.

It’s the first brewery in Brookvale to have a state-of-the-art in-house kitchen offering a full restaurant menu. They described their food as “relaxed backyard meets beachside bliss” and that’s accurate. The menu includes BBQ prawn skewers which, despite living in Australia, I haven’t had for ages, and this certainly took me back, not to mention it was delicious. They have these Swallow rock pork sausage rolls that are just slightly better than a Four N’ Twenty (sarcasm). Next time I visit, I’m asking Michelin trained chef, Daniel Wilson, for some to stick in my freezer.

Also shout out to the Ploughman’s lunch. Simple yet delicious with crumbly fresh bread and delicious mortadella. And that honeycomb? To die for.

I am trying to find a bad thing to say about Freshwater Brewing to make me seem balanced, but I honestly can’t. I have a personal gripe that there’s no train line nearby, but that’s not Freshwater’s fault. Other than that, what do I need to say? If you like beer (or wine for that matter), good food, and a really bright and chill atmosphere then I cannot recommend this enough. Big props to founders Brett Phillips, Tom Bruce, Jonny Bucknall, Chloe Morgan-Webster, and Marv Slocombe for getting this amazing experience together.

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