Now that warmer weather is upon us, craft beer is the best excuse to wet your beak while the sun’s out (or below the horizon, we’re not fussy). That's why we’ve rounded up the best craft beer breweries in metro Melbourne to save you a hot second on Google this Friday afternoon.
Disclaimer: this list is by no means comprehensive, we've just picked our faves. Without further ado, here are 15 of Melbourne’s best craft breweries.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Nestled in the thriving metropolis of up-and-coming Abbotsford is quaint hop hotspot, Moon Dog Craft Brewery. At any one time, they’ll have ten different beers on tap, loaded bases brewing in their pizza van and even weddings going down inside the venue. They pride themselves on brewing their beer with adventure and innovation and producing something ‘fun’ that just tastes bloody delicious. The biggest news to come out of the brewery recently is that they’ve just dropped a craft beer called the Cake Hole Black Forest Stout. Plus if you head over on a Thursday at 7 pm or Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm, they’ll take you on an exclusive guided tour of the brewery.
Colonial Brewing Co
The Port Melbourne Colonial Brewing Co has got all the telltale signs of a damn good place to spend your Friday night. They’ve got a rotating line of food trucks from Thursday through to Saturday, including appearances from Biggie Smalls Kebabs, Mammavan, Fancy Hanks and Roadrunner Fried Chicken. Plus they have a killer range of five core beers, including a draught, I.P.A. and a cider, and a seasonal range of dark pale, witbier and porter. And better, they serve them in tinnies.
Temple Brewing Company
Nestled in the heart of our very own Brunswick East is a local brewery, Temple Brewing Company. Here you can book a tour of the brewery, hold a function there, eat a bucket of fried chicken and sip on a quality craft beer. Their range of brews includes the Anytime Pale Ale, Bicycle Beer, New World Order, Powerstance, and Rye Hard I.P.A. The beers are only flowing (and the doors are only open) from Thursday - Sunday, so don’t be an idiot and book your midweek Christmas party there (book it on a Friday so you don’t have to go into work the next day).
Westside Ale Works
Westside Ale Works describe their beers as ‘not for the faint of heart’. The local brewhouse offers Melburnians a place to lay their hat and pick up a pint of premium ale. The brewers there draw their inspiration from the West Coast of the United States and only use the best ingredients they can lay their hands on to craft their beers. Their core range includes a pale ale, I.P.A., double I.P.A. and imperial beers, which are all available in 750ml takeaway bottles, and which can all be tasted at their on-location tasting room.
Thunder Road Brewery
Behind the doors of Thunder Road Brewery, master brewers develop unique craft beers for locals keen on a drink with character. And with the philosophy, ‘Beers Without Borders’, you can bet these frothies that take you to another place. Inside the Brunswick brewery are mammoth fermentation tanks, and when doors open for the weekend on Friday arvo, you get to sit right in the middle and watch the magic happen. With eight series of beer, you’ll be mighty impressed with the range available, spanning from year-round brews to the vintage beer series. Flavours won’t disappoint either—the boys pour everything from aromatic and yeasty to refreshing and heavily hopped.
The Crafty Squire
We’ve all knocked back a James Squire Orchard Crush at lunch with Mum, but you haven’t had the proper Squire Experience until you’ve sat down for dinner and a pint at The Crafty Squire on Russell Street. The brewhouse itself is, in fact, the only microbrewery in the CBD and serves up delish pub meals such as Golden Ale butter chicken, pork schnitzel and Pilsner beef stroganoff pie, plus a range of craft beers including celebrated originals, The Portland Pale Ale, The Highwayman thrice Hopped Red Ale, The Craic Traditional Irish Stout, and The Spectacular Robust Hop Heavy American Pale Ale. And they’re all equally delicious as their names are to pronounce.
Mountain Goat Beer
You’ve gotta get around the handcrafted Aussie ales at Richmond’s Mountain Goat Beer. Tucked away behind an unassuming roller door lies one of Melbourne’s best-hidden beer sanctuaries. Open Wednesdays to Sundays, this beer-brewing, pizza-making, Aussie-made and owned brewery doles out a rotating selection of barrel-aged beers, limited-release beers and experimental beers. They also have a hand pump on site serving dark beer, plus they’ve just released their certified organic Steam Ale. It’s win-win-win-win-win.
Hop Nation Brewing Co
Hop Nation is the kind of country you want to get around. This Footscray-based, independently owned and operated brewery is run by a gaggle of friends and former winemakers. They only opened up their taproom in July of 2016 but they’ve already established themselves as strong players in the West Side craft beer scene. With eight limited release and local brews rotating through the taps, plus a small selection of wine and cider, there’s a little something for everyone at Hop Nation.
Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall
For the ultimate brewing culture experience, you need to drag yourself over to Stomping Ground Brewing Co. Inside their Collingwood-based brewery and beer hall you can get involved in a free tour every Saturday and Sunday at noon, feast on a range of share plates, mains, pizzas and desserts, and of course, sip on their world-class bears, including the Pacific Hop IPA, Sticky Fingers Porter, Upside Down English Brown Ale and the Four Seasons Kolsch. There are no less than 23 beers on their drinks menu right now, so remember to give yourself enough time to get through them all...
Tallboy & Moose
You may have just stumbled upon your new local watering hole. Tallboy & Moose features a table tennis table and a plush kiddie corner, but it also has heaps of adult areas including eight craft beers on tap, takeaway growler fills and a selection of local food options that mean you never have to leave.
Two Birds Brewing
The Nest at Two Birds Brewing is set up inside an old sheet metal factory and features eight taps pouring the good stuff. Your favourite Two Birds brews are here, both the Golden Ale and Sunset Ale are on tap, but you can also select more experimental beers like their famed Taco Ale. Food ranges from snacks to 'bigs', you'll find Buckwheat Pretzels and Pork Crackling on the snacks side of things, or go for something big like the Chicken Schnitzel, Corned Beef Philly Cheesesteak, or Smoked Pork Hot Dog.
2 Brothers Brewery
2 Brothers are brewing a lot of things that you've no doubt taken advantage of on a warm Melbourne afternoon. From their well-known Pay Day pale ale to their surprisingly delicious Rice Lager, there's no shortage of options on your visit. Heading into their Beer Hall you can pick yourself something delicious like the Pulled Pork Sliders, Soft Shell Chicken Tacos, or one of their pizza options.
The Cheeky Pint
Owned and operated by Footscray local Mitch Peacock, The Cheeky Pint serves five core products brewed in-house, including The Cheeky Victorian Lager, Perfect Change Pale Ale, 5 Eyes IPA, Mr Albert Stout, Fiva Cider and an English style Ale. Seasonal releases are also available on tap, as well as collaborations with other local breweries. And don't even get us started on the food. Some of the menu highlights include manchego, leek and porcini croquettes which are perfectly suited to the house lager, and chicken liver pate served with housemade pan brioche and peach chutney. Hell yes.
3 Ravens Brewery & Bar
3 Ravens Brewery in Thornbury produces some of the most delicious craft beer in Melbourne with a focus on rich flavours and small-batch beers. Hidden a few hundred metres from the Darebin Creek Trail, the beer lovers' hot-spot is now also home to a bar where fans can sip on the latest brews at a large communal table and bar area. With a warehouse speakeasy vibe and the brewery itself tucked behind the bar area, you can be guaranteed an extra-fresh pint, as well as picking up something to go.
Dr Morse owners Jon Costelloe, Anthony Daniel and Pete Walsh are cementing their reputation as Abbotsford's coolest restaurateurs—who would've thought they could top Dr Morse? The sheer volume and variety of alcohol at Bodriggy Brewing far surpasses anything else I know of in Abbotsford (and possibly in a lot of the surrounding suburbs, but don’t quote me on that): there are 64 taps in this joint. Sixty-four. And they’re not even all beer. There are Noisy Ritual wines. There are delicious cocktails. There’s everything, really.
Now that you've done the brewery tour, why not sample all of Melbourne's best bars?
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis