Review: Targeting Great Beer at Archer

By Tony Van Der Linden

It was only late February but already feels like an age ago, Nick, Snow and I paid the new Archer brewery at Newmarket a visit. An easy train ride from the city after work, the brewery is located on Newmarket Rd, just a short walk from Newmarket station, in a building resembling an old aircraft hangar. The building has what looks like a good-sized brewing space on the right hand side of the space a central located bar and two levels of seating, with a view down onto the brewing area from upstairs. It’s been about 4 years since Archer left their last home in the bunker under the now-defunct International Hotel in Spring Hill, so it’s great to see them with a fantastic new setup.

We visited late on a Friday afternoon and there was a good crowd building then which steadily increased through the evening. It looked like a lot of locals were making use of this new feature in the neighbourhood which was excellent to see. When I arrived, I made a beeline for the Rice Lager which I thought was very good, and I have a bit of a thing about them at the moment. From there we all tried the Pale Ale which is really a standard for any craft brewery, but can be so hard to stand out with. On the other hand, your Pale Ale is likely going to be one of the session beers for regulars and new converts to “craft”. So why make it too unusual? Just a good APA you can have a few of, and it was certainly that.

Next I tried the Saison which was just under 6% from memory and hit all the right aroma and flavour notes while being very, very drinkable. I’ve been getting in Saisons and Grisettes much more in the last few years and thoroughly enjoyed this one. After that there was only one place to go and that was the IPA. I have fond memories of drinking cans of Archer IPA at the Triffid when going to see bands there so I hope it returns. One of my favourite local IPAs – fruity hops and good solid bitterness.

On this night we grabbed some wings and chips (thanks Snow!) courtesy of the food truck set up in the carpark next door. There is however a kitchen space in the venue that was due to open up soon when we visited, so may already be functioning by now. I finished with another Saison, it was good enough to go back for seconds. Archer have hit a bit of bullseye here, can recommend. Now if only it was on the Southside 😉


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