With over 500 small breweries around the country, it’s easy to see that Australia loves its craft beer.
By Leah Dobihal
Whether you like to sip on something unique or keep to the classics, Australia has a brewery crafting your favourites. Australia’s craft beer scene is growing, so there’s always a brand new brew to try. In Sydney, you’ll find breezy breweries in the city’s hippest neighbourhoods, while Perth serves up laid back beer gardens with edgy brews. No matter where you are in Australia, these are the breweries not to be missed.
In Adelaide, you don’t have to go far to find a fresh beer. If you love craft beer with cutting-edge flavours, pop by Big Shed Brewing Co in the city’s northwest. Take a seat in the tap bar and order a tasting paddle to try the beers ranging from American Pale Ale to stout infused with honeycomb. Make it a lunch with Big Shed’s top-notch burger menu.
In South Australia’s wine regions, you’ll find breweries hidden among the vineyards and cellar doors. Prancing Pony Brewery in the Adelaide Hills, less than an hour outside of Adelaide, creates traditional beers with subtle twists. Head to their Brewshed to indulge in a paddle of beers along with the all-day food menu.
In McLaren Vale, about one hour south of Adelaide, you’ll discover not only sweeping fields of vines but also Goodieson Brewery. The terrace sits among the vineyards and looks out over a tree-lined creek, making it the perfect spot to sip an afternoon beer in the sun. The beers at Shifty Lizard are brewed in small batches and are meant to be shared with your mates.
When it comes to craft beer, Brisbane is a hotspot. Green Beacon, located in Brisbane’s riverside suburb of Teneriffe, believes in beer innovation. The brewery offers creative creations like oatmeal stout and blood orange IPA alongside a menu of locally-sourced seafood as well as weekly food trucks. When you’ve had your fill, head to All Inn Brewing Co, an eco-conscious craft brewery with a wide variety of flavours. Try the uniquely-named brews that pack a punch, like Legbreaker and Stronghold Assassin.
Head south toward the Gold Coast to discover breweries that are worth the drive. Start at Fortitude Brewing Co, one hour from Brisbane by car, for 15 taps all pouring craft beer brewed on site. Peckish visitors can order a pizza any day of the week, and on weekends, you can listen to local musicians as you sip and socialise. Near the beach in Burleigh Heads is Black Hops, while in Currumbin you'll find Balter, a venture from four Australian pro surfers (including Mick Fanning). While the logo is playful and you can compete in "tinnie hurling" competitions, the brew is serious and has won multiple national and international awards.
Less than half an hour south of the Gold Coast lies Burleigh Brewing Co, a brewery boasting an easy-going vibe and beach mentality. Stop into the taphouse to taste award-winning craft beer, or book an all-access tour to learn from the brewmaster as you sample their creations.
If you’re in Tropical North Queensland, don’t miss Hemingway’s Brewery. Visit the brewpub in both Port Douglas and Cairns, a 2.5-hour flight from Brisbane, for oceanfront beers with bold, bespoke flavours.
From brewpubs to microbreweries, Canberra is big on the craft beer scene. With a philosophy of bending the rules, BentSpoke Brewing Co is a favourite brewery for locals and visitors alike. Step inside the modern-styled pub to try everything from award-winning ales to gluten-free ginger beer.
Capital Brewing Co, located in the suburb of Fyshwick, takes Canberra’s crisp and clear water and turns it into delicious beer. Stop by the taproom for seasonal and taproom-only releases. You can also book a behind-the-scenes brewery tour complete with a beer on arrival and a tasting paddle to finish. Dogs are welcome, too; there’s even a special non-alcoholic dog beer to keep them quenched.
The Northern Territory is known for its wide open spaces and adventure opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sit down for a cold craft beer. In the heart of Darwin’s city centre, Six Tanks Brewery is at the forefront of the city’s craft beer scene. The taproom has 26 taps serving ice-cold creations as well as a professional kitchen cooking up dishes to complement your beer.
One Mile Brewery is known for its easy-drinking craft beer. What began as a home-brew hobby inside a shed has grown into a handcrafted beer brand serving up beers specifically designed for Darwin’s warm climate.
While you’re in Darwin, don’t miss Beaver Brewery, a family-owned microbrewery offering up handcrafted ales and lagers. With a rustic cellar door and casual atmosphere, you might want to stay awhile.
Tasmania offers some of the best wine and whisky in the country, and beer is quickly becoming a part of the mix. Tasmania’s capital of Hobart boasts brewers both big and small. Cascade Brewery Company was established in 1824, making it Australia’s oldest operating brewery. Today, Cascade’s brewhouse looks out over majestic Mount Wellington and three acres of heritage gardens. Stop by for a tasting of ales, lagers and stouts straight from the brewery. Less than 20 minutes outside of Hobart you’ll find the island’s largest craft brewery. Moo Brew was created by David Walsh, who also founded Hobart’s famous Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Visit the cellar door in either MONA or Bridgewater to try a range of pilsners, ales, stouts and lagers.
In Launceston, a 2.5-hour drive north of Hobart, discover another heritage brewer. James Boag Brewery was founded in 1881 and has been using Tasmania’s pure water to make beer ever since. The brewery bar is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy Launceston’s history - and of course, a cold beer. For boutique beer, visit Little Rivers Brewing Co just outside of Launceston. Offering both easy-drinking classics and seasonal releases, Little Rivers has something for everyone. Pop by the cellar door done differently - where you can bring your own food while you try the latest releases.
Not only does Tasmania boast a high number of breweries, but it even has a beer trail for serious brew-lovers. The Tasmanian Beer Trail takes you between Hobart and Launceston to try each brewer’s unique take on such a universal drink.
From custom coffee to artists’ markets, Victoria is known for having style - and its beer is no exception. Walk through the backstreets of Abbotsford just outside Melbourne’s city centre to find Moon Dog Craft Brewery. Known for its eccentric flavours, you’re sure to find something you haven’t tasted before. Try the Peach N’ Plum Sour Ale to get your taste buds tingling, or go classy with the Cognac Barrel Aged Double IPA. Other highlights in Melbourne include 3 Ravens, Stomping Ground Brewing Co and the female-owned Two Birds Brewing, which offers the unusual Taco Beer brewed with coriander leaf and lime peel.
Victoria’s regional town of Bright, located 3.5 hours from Melbourne in the Alpine National Park, is known for its fresh mountain water that produces delicious beer. Bright Brewery uses the water to create their range of full-flavoured craft beers. Relax on the Hop Terrace with a beer from one of the brewery’s 24 taps, or order a tasting tray and start exploring.
The Mornington Peninsula might be known for its wine, but it also boasts some of the best breweries in the state. Mornington Peninsula Brewery creates beer for every season, from Sorachi Ale for the summer to Mornington Porter for the winter. Step inside the Brewery Bar for a taste of local beer as you watch the makers, or enjoy the fresh air in the rustic beer garden.
With its laid back culture and warm weather, Perth is the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer. Nowhereman Brewing Co creates two distinct ranges to ensure everyone can enjoy a brew. The year-round range contains classic lagers and ales, while the limited release range experiments with rule-breaking flavours. Pop into the open-plan, rustic space to try a beer from both collections.
Little Creatures, located in the beachside suburb of Fremantle, is one of Western Australia’s most famous breweries. Stop by for a pale ale and a pizza, or check out Little Creatures’ other venues, including a waterfront restaurant and live music and performance art space.
Take a road trip from Perth to Esperance to find a town not only full of blue skies and white sand beaches, but also beer. At Lucky Bay Brewing, you’ll find a humble micro-brewery that makes everyone feel like a local. Using local grains, Lucky Bay Brewing creates craft beer ranging from pale ales to a nearly black porter.
Matso’s Brewery dubs themselves ‘Australia’s most remote brewery since 1997,’ but take a sip of their super unique beer and you’ll realise why this brewery is one of the country’s most iconic. Located in Broome, a beautiful beachtown in the north of Western Australia, Matso’s dreams up some of the most creative brews in the country. Spice things up with their chilli beer, or cool off with a beer infused with lychee or mango. While you’re there, explore the white sand beaches and tropical paradises that make Broome so special.
Sydney has cemented itself as a craft beer capital in Australia, particularly within its inner west suburbs of Marrickville and Newtown. In Marrickville, you’ll find Wildflower, Batch Brewing and The Grifter Brewing Co and Sauce, while Newtown houses one of the city’s most popular breweries. Young Henry’s brewery, set within the eclectic suburb of Newtown, is known for its top-quality beers and rock and roll attitude. While the brewery started with the idea to craft beer that locals would love, Young Henry’s now draws a crowd from far and wide. Head to the converted warehouse to try easy-drinking lagers and ales, or fill a large glass growler to take with you.
Sydney is home to plenty of craft beer, but breweries in New South Wales aren’t confined to its capital city. About an hour and a half north of Sydney on the Central Coast, you’ll find a brewery that believes great beer and great music are the perfect combination. Six String Brewing creates craft beer that pushes the boundaries, with seasonal releases that are always a surprise. Visit the tasting room to try the full range, or contact the Six String to ask about Brewday, where you can learn the craft of brewing delicious beer.
The beachy town of Byron Bay in the north of New South Wales boasts one of the state’s most recognised craft beers. Stone & Wood is all about the Byron way of life - a morning surf, a hike through the hinterland and a beer shared with friends. Drop by for a brewery tour, or simply sit back with a beer in hand.