Moon Dog Brewing, Melbourne, Victoria © Anthony Strong
Melbourne’s best craft breweries
Melbourne loves beer almost as much as it loves coffee, and there are plenty of places to taste boutique brews.
By Amy Fraser and Paul Chai
Craft brewing in Australia has grown in popularity and with it has come a huge range of places to enjoy a refreshing brew. In Melbourne, you can drink ale in a boisterous beer hall in a converted inner-city warehouse, indulge in unique barrel-aged brews or party the day away at a Bottomless ‘Beerunch’. Beer lovers, Melbourne has you covered.
Moon Dog Brewery
Where: 17 Duke Street, Abbotsford
Northeast of Melbourne’s city centre, in Abbotsford, is Moon Dog Brewery which has ephemera-stacked shelves, table tennis and a bunch of mismatched cosy couches to slump into. If you think the bar has a strong personality, wait until you try the beers; Moon Dog likes to push the envelope with its brews. Expect to be surprised with beers such as the Cold War Drip which is designed to taste of coffee and cigarettes and, with its smoky coffee flavour, is surprisingly delicious.
Stomping Ground Brewing Co.
Where: 100 Gipps St, Collingwood
This sprawling converted warehouse in the inner-city suburb of Collingwood does a good job of channelling the raucous fun of a German beer hall. The decor is industrial chic with exposed pipes and bare bulbs but with climbing vines to soften things up. Half the place is a beer garden with a retractable roof and there is a wooden cubby house in one corner for the kids. Two dozen taps pump out Stomping Ground’s brews that are listed by how “challenging” they are, such as the very rich Double Shot Coffee IPA. The pizzas are the pick of the bar food, try a “Not a New Yorker” topped with 'nduja (spreadable Italian cured pork) and hot honey.
Where: 136 Hall St, Spotswood
The two “birds” behind this brewery in Melbourne’s western suburbs are Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, friends who found a love of craft beer after an American road trip. Set in an old sheet-metal factory, The Nest is where the pair showcases much-loved brews such as Sunset Ale or Taco Beer, which has a hint of coriander (cilantro) and is brewed to go with Mexican food. The food there is perfect for beer drinking with snacks such as salt and vinegar pork crackling and black pepper beef jerky, small dishes of smoked chipotle potato gems and, if you've got a big appetite, Cuban pulled pork on ciabatta.
Mountain Goat Brewery
Where: 80 North St, Richmond
Rewind back to 1997 and you’ve got two mates who thought beer could taste a little better. So that’s what they created; inspired by their US and Canadian beer experiences, the delicious Mountain Goat was born. Richmond’s Crown Street soon became home to the pumping brewery, where owners Dave and Cam opened the doors to Melburnians once a month who would pour in to taste the city’s new local legend of a beverage. To this day Goat is known as a pioneer of the Australian craft beer scene, serving up beautifully refreshing liquid gold every week. From the fruity Summer Ale to the crisp Billy the Mid – there’s not a beer drinker Moutain Goat doesn’t cater for.
Where: 414 Smith St, Collingwood
Calling IPA lovers! If India Pale Ale excites you as much as it does Tommy Delmont, founder of Fixation, you’re in for a treat. Created after a decade of exploring the international IPA landscape, Tommy felt it was about time to introduce a fresh, exciting IPA to the streets of Melbourne. Walk into Fixations snug tasting room, the Incubator, every week for a new hoppy experience on tap. Wind down with your mates, making the most of the BYO (bring your own) food, or tuck into the plant-based pizza from the brewery’s neighbours.
Hop Nation Brewing Co.
Where: 6/107-109 Whitehall Street, Footscray
Located just 50 metres (164-feet) from Melbourne’s Maribyrnong River Bike Trail, Hop Nation makes for a great pit stop to recharge the batteries and enjoy a refreshing beverage in the shade. Known for their top-quality natural ingredients and environmentally friendly approach, you can enjoy Hop Nation’s colourful cans of goodness knowing you’re not leaving a big footprint behind. But that’s not the only thing that makes Hop Nation stand out from the rest. With a winemaking background, owners Sam and Dunc dabble in the barrel-aged brews too, resulting in beers with quite the character.
Colonial Brewing Co
Where: 89 Bertie St, Port Melbourne
Known as one of Western Australia’s first breweries since 2004, Colonial Brewing Co’s success reached Melbourne in 2015 in the form of a seven million litre capacity brewery. Colonial’s range is sweet and refreshing – ideal for any Aussie summer afternoon. But then there’s the Porter, combining dessert notes with coffee and of course the bitter malt; it’s a winter evening delight. Lock lips with it amid the brewery’s trendy, white-bricked walls and vibrant plants. For a real beer bonanza, book in for Colonial Brewing Co’s Bottomless ‘Beerunch’ featuring DJ beats, good vibes and of course, epic beverages.
Wolf of the Willows
Where: 39 De Havilland Road, Mordialloc
A new addition to Melbourne’s taproom scene is Wolf of the Willows. While the quirky ales aren’t new in town, this epic little spot to slurp away with mates is. In fact, that’s what this place is all about. Built with recycled materials by supportive pals, owners Scotty and Renae are all about bringing people together to create moments of happiness with their delicious hand-crafted, modern ales. Walk into the chilled-out brewery and enjoy just that.