Bars & Pubs

14 Of The Best Breweries In Regional NSW Right Now

By Benedict Kennedy-Cox
10th Apr 2023

A collage of images from some of the best breweries in NSW.

If there are two things people from Sydney love, they are an ice-cold frothy and a scenic road trip. So what better way to combine the two than by hitting up the greatest breweries around NSW? From tiny timber beer havens in Bellingen, to microbreweries in old-school pubs with a view of the ocean, and a boot-scootin' brewpub in Australia's country music capital, there are plenty of schooeys to be had around the state.

Of course, you'll want to find a place to stay while you're touring around in search of cold ones—so we've thrown in some epic Airbnbs for good measure, too. Thirsty? Check out these epic breweries around NSW that are definitely worth the road trip. 

Humpback Brewery


With gorgeous ocean views from every angle, plus the occasional whale visible during migration season, Tathra Hotel has set a high standard in the Australian pub experience since it opened in 1888. Yet in 2017, they managed to outdo themselves by replacing the pokies with their own brew house, Humpback Brewery.

Although the Tathra Hotel looks like a typical pub from the outside, there's no TAB, no pokies, no VB, and most importantly, no one who seems to miss those first three things. The house-brewed beers, which can number up to 11 depending on the season, are all inspired by the area’s whales including a lip-smacking Black Whale Stout, Little Calf Session Ale, and Old Tom’s IPA, named for the iconic orca that was a friend to the area’s whalers nearly 100 years ago. Grab a tasting paddle of four for $18, a spot in the courtyard (sunscreen recommended), and a seriously juicy handmade burger from their restaurant menu, open for lunch 11.30am - 2pm and dinner from 5.30 - 8pm. You’ll be glad you did.

Travel time: 7-hour drive from Sydney with breaks
Where to stay: Book a heritage suite at the Tathra Hotel for an easy trip home or this super cute eco cottage

Longstocking Brewery


Keen on a decent road trip? Head all the way down the NSW coast until you’re nearly in Victoria and stop at Longstocking Brewery in beautiful Pambula. How can we guarantee the trip will be worth it? Longstocking brews an amazing range of beer and cider that you can sample on one massive ten-shot tasting paddle with a 20-tasting version available for groups of two. 

Longstocking favourites include a hoppy pale ale, quirky and complex Vienna Draught Lager, fruity XPA Zappa, and a curated selection of brews from other southern breweries such as Dangerous Ales and Capital. Aside from the brilliant beer, Longstocking produces its own cider in-house including an Apple & Rhubarb number that will even get beer snobs coming back for another pint. There’s also a great selection of local wine, cocktails, and North of Eden Gin. Pair your tipple with a seafood platter that shows off some of the famous South Coast oysters as well as some of the fabled Eden muscles. Order a plate of these and friendly brewery dog Cleo is sure to give you some attention for a bit.

Travel time: 7.5-hour drive from Sydney with breaks
Where to stay: This dreamy suite is surrounded by beach, bush, and river views, or this adorable cottage with room for six

Reckless Brewing Co


According to legend, Bathurst has the most pubs per capita out of any town in Australia. Yet somehow in September 2022, Reckless Brewing Co. became a pet watering hole for locals and race week voyagers alike. Inside the old heritage-listed flour mill, Grace Fowler, formerly at Akasha Brewing Co, opened Reckless Brewing Co with her husband Jarrod Moore and friend Alice Wilson. The result? A charming tap house full of community spirit, smiles, and good beer.

In just eight taps Reckless sums up what they do best; a core range featuring an XPA, Pale Ale, IPA, and Red IPA as well as the local favourite, BX Lager. This small and consistent core range stands up against a kaleidoscopic rotation of limited-release beers, which have included a strawberry daiquiri sour, a cumquat IPA and a gin and tonic sour made with Bathurst Grange Distillery Gin. Book a table in the family-friendly dining room or outdoor areas for some bevies and bites from their constantly changing menu inspired by global street foods. Visit a month later and you’ll likely find the menu has changed again. One thing that will remain the same is the friendly local vibe and the crisp BX Lager.  

Travel time: 3-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This cottage in Mount Panorama overlooking the town or in this picturesque cottage a little out of town

Pioneer Brewing Co

Bowan Park

Driving out to remote Bowan Park in the NSW Central Tablelands is a tiring experience for your jaw; it just keeps dropping every time you make it over a hill. The expansive and glorious country is home to many a proud winemaker but at the farm-based Pioneer Brewing Co, there is no shortage of pride for the beer they produce. And with good reason.

A mini-odyssey to get to, Pioneer is one of only a handful of Aussie breweries that grow and harvest their own malting barley, rye, and wheat from their family farm. Once inside their large corrugated iron brewhouse, you’ll sample their 16-strong core range as well as an array of limited releases too numerous to count. Out here the brewers do exactly what they want and have a great time doing it. The only person having more fun is you as you sip your way through a range of wayward-winning pale, golden, and amber ales.

The best way to taste the Pioneer range is by booking a Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour that runs twice a day on the second Friday and Saturday of every month. $27 gets you a brewery tour and 10 samples of the Pioneer range with wine, cider, and soft drinks for non-beer drinkers. There are also take-home options for the designated drivers. Call ahead and ask about food before you arrive otherwise owner Pete might send his son out on a dirtbike to pick up some chips for you in town.

Travel time: 4-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This gorgeous loft on a nearby vineyard or this stunning studio on a hobby farm

Bellingen Brewing Co


Plant-filled bar with people drinkingIf you’ve never stopped into Bellingen while road tripping the NSW mid-north coast, you’re missing out on one of Australia’s cutest, most welcoming towns. And after a day of exploring the surrounding national parks, waterfalls, beaches and ancient rainforests, you'll no doubt want to nurse a coldie—which means hitting up Bellingen Brewing Co. Located by the Bellinger River, the brewery was put together with mindfulness for environmental impact, built sustainably from local timber and salvaged materials. It's also decked out with lush greenery which really adds to the laidback nature of the space.

Aside from the brews, it does a few cocktails and natural wines, plus there's the occasional gig going down on a weekend for maximum vibes. But there’s one thing that makes this brewery bar special—the pizzas. The large woodfire pizza oven is the first thing you’ll spot (and smell) as soon as you walk in. Don’t plan to drink here and go for dinner elsewhere—this is the spot for both. Just remember it's only open Thursday–Sunday, so plan accordingly. 

Travel time: 5.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This pool house with epic views or this sleek cottage in the heart of town

Mountain Culture Beer Co.


Hand holding beerA beeline from Sydney to the Blue Mountains will lead you straight to the heavenly estate of Mountain Culture Beer Co. in Katoomba. Back in the day, this brewery used to house The Echo, a local paper around these parts for many years. After that, it took some time as a “dancing saloon” (read what you want into that) and as a trusty Civic Video store (RIP). In 2017, this building was totally transformed into the Blue Mountains’ very first brewpub and since then, it’s been an absolute institution. If you love big beers, chances are you've had a couple of Mountain Culture brews. Now, it's time to sink one right at the source. 

If you don’t fall head over heels for the building’s inter-war free-classical architecture, the brewery’s core range will do the trick. There’s a "moon dust" stout, a double red IPA, a pale ale, lager, a tropical session ale, and NEIPA. Or, go for one of the wacky limited brews like an oat cream IPA or a smoked NEIPA. The food is simple, stomach-lining stuff—think fried pickles, burgers and chips—which will bode you well with these hoppy concoctions. Best of all, Mountain Culture is open seven days a week. 

Travel time: 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: this cosy couple's cottage or this luxe studio in Leura

Dangerous Ales


Bartender standing behind beer tapsCruise down to the South Coast and you'll come across the food- and wine-abundant town of Milton. There are bakeries, cafes, wine bars, a couple of charming pubs, and even a microbrewery in a pub. Dangerous Ales is housed within the revamped Milton Hotel and brews up some cracking sours, hazy pales, and easy session ales. It's a small family-owned operation—but god does it punch above its weight. Pull up a stool at the bar as Damo pulls you a new limited release to try, or park up out on the deck if the sun's out. Then, you can roll over to the pub bistro, which serves up exceptional pub grub. Just be sure to pick up some slick merch and a couple of four-packs before you leave—these tasty brews aren't all that easy to come by.  

Travel time: 3.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to Stay: This stunning two-person farm stay or this quaint cottage closer to town

The Welder's Dog


The Welder's Dog set up shop in Tamworth back in 2017 and it's been a darn good time ever since. Bringing good brews and live tunes under one roof, the brewpub is the second location of this NSW craft brewery, with the OG digs in Armidale and a newer one in Inverell. The Tamworth outpost, though, is a rowdy time—and if you tee up your visit with the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival then even better. The crew here are mostly known for championing local producers and being a community hub. Plus, the beers are bloody good. Whether you're a larger drinker, fancy a piney pale, or think the sound of a boozy pea flower lemonade does it for you, you're sure to find a bev (or few) that you like. 

Travel time: 5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This four-person villa-style stay or this cosy condo

Flamin’ Galah Brewing

Jervis Bay

Outdoor area with pink umbrellasWith a name like Flamin Galah, you know you’re in for a good time at this Jervis Bay brewery. Located close to the mouth of Currambene Creek on Scallop Street, Flamin Galah Brewing Co. was started by local legends Sam and Claire Hewson. 

At the moment, their core range is made up of seven different craft beers—a Flamin Galah Pale Ale, Pacific Ale, Hazy Pale Ale, Neipa, XPA, Red Ale, and their South Coaster IPA. That’s right, Flamin Galah doesn’t do lagers so abandon your conventions and get ready to get weird. Adventurous craft beer fiends will want to go straight for the seasonal Lattice Biscuit Stout—a creamy, sticky vanilla combo of deliciousness inspired by Claire’s grandmother’s age-old lattice biscuit recipe.

The brewery space is sprawling and Gramable, with dog and family-friendly outside seating as well as several tucked-away indoor crannies. There’s a permanent food truck by The Nest Jervis Bay that serves up tasty booze absorbers such as karaage bao buns and some seriously smashable fish tacos. Most towns are lucky to have just one brewery as good as this but we're happy to report that Huskisson is not like most towns (see below). 

Travel time: 3-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This jaw-dropping wilderness hut or this luxe AF four-person cottage

Jervis Bay Brewing Co


That’s right, just a conveniently crawlable stone's throw down the road from Flamin’ Galah you’ll find Jervis Bay Brewing Co. Since opening in 2019, Jervis Bay Brewing Co has been the talk of the town boasting a loyal following of locals who seem to pack out the courtyard every night of the week. That’s because JBBC put community at the centre of their brewery which is dog friendly, has a jungle gym for the kids, and even has a herb garden you’re free to peruse if you need anything for dinner that night.

The multi-award-winning core range of beers is named after local legends and natural phenomena with the Cow and Calf Pale Ale a year-round favourite. Crafty crooners will get a kick out of their limited releases that often feature European styles, especially during Oktoberfest where the brewers go all out. Local institution 5 Little Pigs heads up the food truck serving up fresh burgers, salads, and sides as well as oysters with finger limes because you’re on the South Coast damn it.

Eden Brewery


Man working in breweryEden Brewery is a beer haven and burger bar all in one that has to be a pitstop on your next road trip. This beauty is a great little place to stop off at when you’re driving around the Southern Highlands and is all about sharing a beer in a super relaxed atmosphere (no beer snobbery allowed). The beer tastings truly go off here. Catered for beer aficionados, wine lovers, and hey, even VB drinkers, there’s everything from private tastings to full-blown brewery tours and customised paddles. Eden Brewery’s core range is made up of a unique Belgian wheat beer, a kottbusser (best enjoyed with a schnitzel or pretzel), an XPA, and an IPA. When you do swing by though, you’ll want to make sure you definitely hit the gingerbread ale, preferably in a takeaway growler.

Friday nights are a big vibe here with local live music kicking off from 8 pm. You’ll also find a rotating line-up of food trucks parked up most weekends. These guys also donate 10 percent of their profits to Oxfam to help provide clean drinking water to those in need. On top of this, Eden Brewery operates entirely on 100 percent green renewable energy so you can swig back a cold one with peace of mind.

Travel time: 1.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This cute-as guesthouse for four or this tranquil cottage in historic Berrima

Bay Road Brewing


packed out brewery room with suspended plants When you’re making your way up north from Sydney, you can’t go past Bay Rd Brewing. Located in Gosford, this microbrewery and taproom was quite literally put together by a couple of old mates back in 2018. Sporting big coastal vibes, Bay Rd is famed for churning out more experimental types of beer, meaning the team here likes to play a little with your usual expectations of what beer could be.

One of the best parts of Bay Rd is that it’s completely dog friendly and the space stretches out into a big light-filled warehouse featuring ocean-inspired street art on the walls and tropical indoor plants. The core range includes a pale ale, an IPA, XPA, and a tropical rum porter that’s known to sell out quite early (so you’ll want to be quick off the mark with this one and get in stat). However, the big stand out has to be the “My Name Is Red” double sour. This guy is a hit of candy raspberry that goes down so well on a hot day, and you’ll most likely leave with more than a few.

Travel time: 1.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This laidback holiday house or this six-person apartment right on the water

Six String Brewing Co.


Hand pouring beer can into schooner glassIf you’re heading up to the Central Coast, a hydration stop at  Six String Brewing Company is a rite of passage. Launched back in 2012 by Chris Benson (an avid homebrewer) and his mate Adam Klasterka, this dynamic duo has always put a big focus on pulling out full-flavoured, or “amplified” ales.

Boasting mega line-ups of live music and beer, this all-in-one brewery features a taproom with 12 loaded beers. This is obviously the place to be if you’re keen to hear more about Six String Brewing Co. The hands-on-deck will take you through the entire brewing process and you’ll get to touch, smell and taste the ingredients and sample the brewery's beers. You’ll also get to check out the 4800L fermenters (filled with a triple brew).

The core range here is pretty packed to the rafters with a “true blue” Aussie bitter, a chilled-out XPA, two IPAs, a coastie lager, two pale ales, and a pretty groovy on tour mid-strength perfect for hangs at the beach, festivals, or a road trip even further up the coast. To soak these bad boys up, you’ll want to steer your bellies towards the BlackBear BBQ inside Six String Brewery. The menu consists of locally sourced produce, smoked over Ironbark for up to 15 hours and that means you’ll be able to order up everything from tender burgers to juicy buffalo wings.

Travel time: 1.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to Stay: This quiet semi-rural cabin or this unique yurt stay

Murray’s Craft Brewing Co.

Bobs Farm

It’s been dubbed the “beer and BBQ capital of Port Stephens”—so look alive. Located a little further up towards Nelson Bay is Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. and, believe us, it’s worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive. The Murray’s team has been going strong creating off-beat, naturally crafted beers since 2006 (and have a heap of accolades in the process). While the craft beer here will certainly change your life, the brewery grounds are a real showstopper. Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. shares its digs with Port Stephens Winery, the region’s oldest vineyard, so you’ll be in for some pretty picturesque scenes. The taps max out at a juicy 10 beers plus there are bottled specials to go around too. Every day, you’ll also find a brewery tour that kicks off at 2.15pm. 

The core range here is pretty standard but there’s also an epic “Coco Hops” which translates into a coconut porter. Made with roasted coffee, four other specialty malts, and lashings of coconut, this one is worth the road trip alone. Every day, the team in the kitchen fires up the in-house smoker and wood-fired oven to knock out everything from ribs, steaks, and burgers, to tapas-style share plates, pizzas (which have Murray’s XPA hand-mixed into the crust for the ultimate crunch), and desserts.

Travel time: 2.5-hour drive from Sydney
Where to stay: This super-luxe house with a pool and ocean views or this cute tiny home

Staying in Sydney? Check out the best breweries in Sydney.

Image credit: Reckless Brewing Co | Longstocking Brewery | Bay Rd Brewing, Humpback Brewery, Longstocking Brewery, Reckless Brewing Co, Pioneer Brewing Co, Bellingen Brewing Co, Mountain Culture Brewing Co., Flamin' Galah Brewing Co, Jervis Bay Brewing Co, Eden Brewery,  Destination NSW, Six String Brewing Co

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