One of Sydney’s best loved and oldest pubs has celebrated its 175th birthday, and legacy as a brewer of craft ales.
The Lord Nelson is said to be the oldest continuously licensed hotel in Sydney, built by pardoned convict made liquor baron William Wells as an extension of his residence, and named by him after the great British Naval Captain, Lord Horatio Nelson.
Last Thursday, 23 June, marked the Hotel’s 175th anniversary, and the 30th anniversary of its now famous brewing operation, making it the oldest brew-pub in Australia.
Invited guests were greeted with a tale of period reminders, beginning with cannons at the door, a town crier, and publican William Wells (lookalike) buying drinks at the bar.
Food on offer was British-inspired, such as cucumber sandwiches, fish & chips and pork pies, while the entertainment included actors portraying periods of the pub’s history, burlesque dancers, and a harpist.
In 1986, Blair Hayden secured the freehold to the historic pub, and set about restoring its Colonial-era glory with the aid of a photograph from 1852.
One change he made was the decision to install a microbrewery, inspired by the hotel itself to produce beer in the ‘natural’ style with no sugar added, for a full-flavoured brew in the tradition of British ales.
Hayden gave an emotional speech on the anniversary night, expressing a nod to decades of loyal patrons, staff and suppliers past and present, and the success of the business’ philosophy “We don’t believe in gaming machines, we believe in food, fine wines and natural ale”.
Upping the stakes and satisfaction, the Hotel elected to manage the evening using in-house staff, successfully planning, arranging and executing the event for a packed house of media and VIPs.
To honour the occasion and indicate the current course of the Sydney institution, the Lord Nelson Brewery is proud to release its latest seasonal brew: Dead Ahead Anniversary Ale.
“Because that’s the way our rudder is set.”
Praise the Lord!