During the day Cheeky Sparrow offers coffees and simple lunches but at night, it throws off its conservative cloak and becomes an intriguing, quirky, little Perth bar. The entrance is hidden from view down Wolf Lane, a nondescript alleyway off Murray Street. Only a few steps off a bustling main road of the CBD, the dim lighting and visible timber roof beams makes you feel as though you’ve entered another era.
The open, spacious area of the ground floor caters for large groups and crowds. Around 25 of us head upstairs, which is smaller and more intimate, and overlooks the bar below. We arrange ourselves comfortably around tiny tables and on cushioned benches, taking up all the available seating, and face the well-stocked bar. As part of Eat Drink Perth, Cheeky Sparrow paired some gourmet nibbles with five beers from America’s Anchor Brewing Co, which are available for sale in WA.
Anchor Brewing, America’s first and oldest craft brewery, was established in 1896 during the Californian gold rush days. The company survived an earthquake, prohibition and a devastating fire before rising from the ashes to become a successful brewery. Originally producing 800 barrels it now manufactures 150,000.
Our first beer is their most popular – Anchor Steam Beer. It is accompanied by bowls of curried popcorn and spiced Indian nuts. The sweet, ice-cold beer perfectly complements the pickies which are crunchy and very hot. Obviously aimed at making you thirsty and want to drink more!
The stronger, California Lager with the east-facing bear on the label, follows next with two large slices of a thin crusted cheesy, Pecorino Pizza. We are told beer should be smelled the same way as wine and we are encouraged to enjoy the aromatic floral and tropical bouquets. Unfortunately, I only smell yeast!
The third beer, a hoppy, Liberty Pale Ale is a nod to Paul Revere, an express horse rider who warned patriots that British troops were on their way in 1775 and ensured the “Sons of Liberty” noticed his prearranged signals. Fresh whole-cone hops were added in an effort to preserve the beer and add flavour while being transported on ships. This particular beer is matched with a moist, tasty Pulled Pork Slider.
The darker coloured, Indian Pale Ale was created in 2014 and is considered more tropical and bitter, and the elephant on the label symbolises prosperity. Our guide describes the taste as like, “having your mouth stomped on by hops.” No rice or corn is used in the manufacture of the beers, only natural ingredients. Two slices of tender, delicious Moroccan Lamb Pizza accompany this beer.
Our final Anchor beer for the evening is a very dark, broad, stout-like offering called, Porter. Though it is stressed to us that it is not the same as a stout. It is served with our dessert of salted hazelnut chocolate fudge. Slivers of dehydrated strawberries add to the decadence. The Porter has a very high alcohol content – around 7% – and is recommended as a perfect beer to enjoy in winter or as a last drink of the night. It has hints of chocolate and cocoa, hence its pairing with sweets.
Enjoy Anchor beers (amongst others) at the Cheeky Sparrow from 11am to late Tuesday to Thursday; 11am to 1am Friday and 3pm to 1am Saturdays.
Disclaimer: foodie cravings was invited as a guest of Cheeky Sparrow. See disclosure policy for more details.