In 2019, St Peters brewery Willie the Boatman underwent an expansion and refurbishment. The interiors, equipment and seating capacity were all improved. The centrepiece of the makeover is an 1850s oak bar from a former Philadelphia saloon in the US (keen-eyed visitors may also spot a real bullet hole in it from a previous life.)

The rustic furnishings complement the industrial vibes of the former Taubman’s paint factory, bridging the gap between beer garden and brewery. Nautical relics adorn the walls – a nod to Willie himself, the Scottish freed-convict who ferried people across the nearby Cooks River in his rowboat.

To drink, the Double Nectar of the Hops IPA has 8.8 per cent alcohol but tastes deceptively light. It joins mainstays such as the Lil Louis XPA and the Albo, the corn ale named after politican Anthony Albanese. Those who want takeaway can choose tinnies, longnecks, refillable growlers and cannibals – one-litre cans. For something more offbeat, try one of the Mojito and Pina Colada-inspired cocktail sours.

The added seating at the rear has roughly doubled the brewery’s capacity (and can also accommodate larger groups). Walking from the front bar to the tasting room, visitors get to see how everything is made. The spaces are connected via the brewing area, which has ropes to stop punters accidentally wandering off track. It’s a strong and sometimes pungent reminder that you’ve come to drink directly from the source.

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Updated: October 7th, 2021

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