Strawberry Hills Hotel

For two years now Hayden McLeod has been Bar Manager of the Strawberry Hills Hotel, but he wasn’t always destined for a life in hospitality. “I was going to uni in Parramatta, studying computer science. I was on the lookout for weekend work, and my grandmother introduced me to the manager of our local pub, and that’s where it all started.” Very quickly Hayden realised his love for people far outweighed his love of computers.

Originally he started working in smaller regional establishments, but these days Hayden relishes being in the thick of it, in the middle of Surry Hills. While he acknowledges it is different, there’s also one similarity that he still very much enjoys, and that’s the familiar faces that keep coming back. Realising it’s the personal touch that matters, whenever he sees a familiar face walking toward him at the bar, Hayden makes sure their drinks are ready before a word is even spoken.

The Strawberry Hills is a “Popular spot for people to meet up for some drinks before heading to the AFL or rugby.” Recently the main bar has been framed with alluring copper piping that delivers fresh Carlton Draught. Hayden explains the presence of this new chilled network, “Heating a beer up to kill the bacteria changes the flavour dramatically. The Carlton we get is brewery fresh, with no pasteurisation. It doesn’t have a dull after taste like pasteurised beers. It tastes a lot fresher, with an open, bright flavour.”

With crisp fresh beer trucked overnight, once a week, the oldest beer you’ll get from the Carlton Draught system is less than five days old. For a normal pasteurised beer, it could be three months or older.