Bars & Pubs

Sit Back And Sink A Few Cold Ones At 13 Of The Best Breweries In Sydney

By Jessica Best
26th Aug 2020

The bar at Willie The Boatman brewery in Sydney.

Big news Sydney, your brewery-scene isn’t just confined to the streets of Marrickville (though there are a number of heavy hitters in the Inner West).

We’ve searched far and wide for the best beer meccas across our glorious city, each venue with its own mission and purpose, but all with a collective goal to quench your thirst. From the decorated and the sustainably-minded to the nomadic and locally-inspired, there’s a big line-up of Sydney breweries just waiting for you to step through their doors.

Here are 13 of the best breweries in Sydney.

4 Pines Brewery

Manly, Brookvale, Surry Hills

It’s a no brainer that 4 Pines is number one on this list. This Northern Beaches-born microbrewery churns out seven bottles of goodness and a classic summer tinnie, which looks like a number of ales, Kolsch, hefeweizen and a nitro stout that’ll knock your socks off.

On top of this, 4 Pines also throws down a pretty huge commitment to working towards reducing the impact it has on the environment. 4 Pines is always reducing its water usage, eliminating plastics where possible from its supply chain, sorting waste, combining electricity and natural gas to power these breweries and in 2018, a 100kW solar system was installed to power its Brookvale venue. 

Yulli’s Brews

Alexandria

After dropping their first batch of beer in 2014, James Harvey and Karl Cooney were pretty damn eager to go large and brew beer that could stand alone in your everyday pub and also ramp up any meal in a fine dining feast. And so, Yulli’s Brews came into being. This Alexandria brewery holds a four-vessel 2000L brewhouse designed for quick brew days to fill the seven 4000L fermentation tanks (just casually). 

As for the venue itself, it’s a bit of everything with a restaurant, pub, bar, tasting room and music vibes all rolled into one. The brewery also plays host to comedy nights and vegan markets. You can also play a tonne of board games like Connect Four on its loft-style second level.

As for what’s on tap every week—don’t expect to try the same thing twice. “We have a selection of Yulli's Brews beers and cider on tap including our latest releases and seasonal batches so there's always something new to try,” says co-director at Yulli’s Brews, James Harvey. “We also have our homemade sake and kombucha available and a range of delicious cocktails and wines.”

And in true Yulli’s fashion, you can expect the food game here to be just as strong. Try shish kebabs, gyros, nachos and southern fried cauliflower, which all just happen to be plant-based. “On weekends we also have vegan yum cha 11am to 3pm with vegan versions of gyozas, spring rolls, dumplings and more.” 

Batch Brewing Co.

Marrickville, Petersham

Batch Brewing Company (BBC) is staunchly traditional in the trendiest way. Handcrafting beer, batch by batch, the boys here brew with the TLC that this beer-loving nation needs. Marrickville is home to BBC’s original brewery and tasting room and you can wet your whistle at the bar, or take away anything from a couple of tinnies to a bomber (640ml), or treat yourself to a growler (1.9L). You can also school yourself on all things brewing by booking one of the weekly tours on Saturdays at 12.30pm, or Sundays at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Its Petersham location is hidden inside the epic Public House Petersham pub and this small-batch brewery is where the team (much like Wonka) produce experimental flavours, test, refine processes and work to create some stellar collaborative brews. As for what they’re brewing? Well, how much time do you have?

Basement Brewhouse

Bankstown

This hidden goodie is located inside Bankstown Sports. Basement Brewhouse makes more than13 of its own beers on-site with four 1000L microbrewery tanks and multiple small-batch offerings too, which are all exclusive to the brewery.

Sample the best of the lot with the social brewing experience, which includes a brewhouse paddle, checking out how Basement’s brew is made and chatting to brewers too. If you’re keen to amp things up a notch, a private tour will see you join one of the brewers to sample their core and limited release beers.

And while the beer is most definitely why you need to visit, Basement Brewhouse also rocks some sick feeds. Think a big range of burgers (with options for veggos too) and Reuben sandwiches with corned wagyu and silverside sauerkraut.

Modus Operandi Brewing Co.

Mona Vale

Modus Operandi Brewing Co. is like Sydney’s instant portal to the US craft brewery scene. The beer here is always brewed with fresh, live yeast flown in from the US and speciality malts and hops sourced from all over the world.

As for its core beer range, there’s a Modus XPA, which is basically Hawaii in a tinnie, a crisp cult classic Modus PA, the Silent Knight Porter sporting nine malts and blends of chocolate and caramel, the Former Tenant Red IPA (another cult classic), a Sonic Prayer IPA, which is the best example of a heavy-hitting American IPA and, finally, a Wippa Snippa Session Pale—big on flavour and light-bodied. And yep, all of these beers are available on tap.

Sauce Brewing Co.

Marrickville

We’re not going to lie, you could very well get your beer and tan on in Sauce Brewing’s completely open beer garden (which makes it an absolute 10 out of 10 location on any hot day). This microbrewery creates a solid range of craft beers, so whether you’re a hop-head, sour-freak or an ale-fan, you’ll be well looked after here. 

This independent craft brewery is all about creating flavoursome beers and the Marrickville outpost (there’s also a Cairns brewpub in the works) is the home of all its beer production. You’ll find this guy tucked away at the end of a small laneway and its sports a taproom and the aforementioned sun-drenched beer garden (open to the public from Fridays through to Sundays), which is the ideal place to be on a lazy afternoon with a tasting paddle or pint by your side.

As for what you should be drinking here, if we can't say “everything” (though that’s truly our answer), make sure you hit the Extra-Hop Sauce, an American West-coast IPA which is light-bodied and golden in colour with tropical aromas. Plus, the Piss-Weak Sauce has to be one of our favourite mid-strength IPAs of all time. Thursday is pizza night here and you can also lap up all the food truck eats every Friday through Sunday. And if you thought things couldn’t get any better, Sauce is also super dog-friendly.

Wildflower

Marrickville

Cult Marrickville brewery Wildflower is heaven on earth for any craft brew aficionado. Here, it’s all about the wild ale (hence the name—Wildflower), and the crew has a big focus on fermenting beer with a diverse culture of brewers yeast, wild yeast and bacteria (also known as “mixed fermentation”).

“We serve between eight and 10 of our mixed culture often barrel-aged Australian Wild ales,” says co-owner and brewer Topher Boehn. “These vary with the seasons but you will always be able to find our most recent Gold and Amber blends.”

Topher explains that one of the differentiating factors between Wildflower and other breweries in Sydney is the old-world process of mixed fermentation, with yeast and bacteria foraged from around New South Wales.

“In order to highlight the complexity of flavour these wild yeasts naturally create, we adopt an old-world process, most notably the blending of young and old barrel-aged beer. Our goal is to blend the tart, funky characteristics of our house culture into balance to deliver a beer with length, nuance and subtlety.”

The cellar door is open each Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 6pm for sampling beers, takeaway and merch (because why not, you know?) and on the first Saturday of each month, the brewery is open from 1pm to 2pm for a ticketed “tour and tasting” session which includes a run through Wildflower’s old-world methods and ethos, and three core beer tastings.

One Drop Brewing Co.

Botany

South Sydney’s first microbrewery has landed in the back streets of Botany and it’s everything you could have hoped for and more. The name One Drop Brewing Co. is inspired by the same founding ideas behind reggae music (with its signature “one drop” beat) and the concept of bringing people together in a creative space to connect over all the good stuff.

The microbrewery unravels itself in a mammoth warehouse space, with high ceilings, a central bar area, suspended lights, high tables, DJs on the weekends, all the lush plants and murals by the one and only and ever-talented Sydney-based artist Reubszz (if he sounds familiar, that’s because he’s been the mastermind behind large-scale works everywhere from Marrickville and Parramatta to Pearl Beach and Bathurst).

If you walk all the way to the back of the brewery, there’s a colourful beer garden that sees a high rotation of local food trucks churn out some big feeds, and a big ol’ fire pit you can warm up to in the cooler months. You’ll find the likes of Happy As Larry Pizza Truck, Chur Burger, El Taco Loco, Burgerhead and Fire Pop frequenting One Drop.

There are seven beers on tap here, including a Botany Bay lager brewed to bitter perfection. You’ll also find a Sour Razz made with housemade raspberry syrup (think snakebite and Berliner Weisse vibes), a silky Mango Milkshake IPA Nitro, a full-bodied and bold stout and a summer-inspired lager shandy with organic lemonade. On the tinnie front, you’ve got XPA, IIPA, a watermelon and rose sour, a double blueberry imperial sour and a lemon DIPA.

Willie The Boatman

St Peters

This laidback brewpub offers a whole range of beers ready for the taking and gourmet food truck bites like bacon-wrapped hotdogs to satisfy every belly. Aside from the opus magnum of craft beer, Willie The Boatman boasts some serious interior game. There are a whole lot of suspending green plants, long beer hall-style tables, wooden booths and a sweet lounge area too. In other words, it’s a great place to sit back and hang out for a while.

Though Willie micro-brews, there’s always more than enough locally-brewed beer to go round. Standout brews with tonnes of character include the Albo Corn Ale, Old Salty Melon Gose and the iconic Tempe Tim pale ale. Every Thursday, Willie’s also do $5 core range beers and Wednesday calls for $5 schooies across the board.

Nomad Brewing Co.

Brookvale

Nomad Brewing Co. is an independent brewery that set up shop in an abandoned carpet warehouse on Sydney’s Northern Beaches way back in 2014. If the name doesn’t give it away, the team behind this brewery are entirely committed to beers of the world and they’ve travelled far and wide to bring the best of these styles, techniques and flavours back home.

There are 16 taps of constantly rotating craft beer featuring Nomad beers brewed and packaged on-site, plus an eclectic range of craft beers that showcase rare and hard to find cold ones from all around the world.
 
“Taps one to 10 feature NOMAD beers made at the brewery with taps 11 to 16 featuring some of the best independent craft beer from all over the world imported by our sister company Experienceit Beverages,” says owner Kerrie Abba. “We always have a variety of beers from sours, hoppy IPA’s and decadent dark beers to ensure that the tap list satisfies every beer drinker's taste.”
 
Nomad Brewing Co. has also partnered with the legends at Smokey Mary's to churn out amazing Texan BBQ from Thursday through to Sundays (and yes, your four-legged furry mates are also welcome).

The Grifter Brewing Co.

Marrickville

If you love craft beer like a kid in a candy shop, you’ve come to the right place. The Grifter is the brainchild of Matt King, Glenn Wignall and Trent Evans—a couple of mates who are all about making good and honest beer.

On the line-up here, you’ll find everything from the far-out and fruit-driven to classic styles and new-world spin—with every Grifter beer boasting the best-quality hops, malts and sheer drinkability.

The Grifter PA is a big classic and a golden pale ale with a light malt body and a zesty hop-forward finish. Coming in at a close second, and for anyone with a keen palate for the fruity stuff, is the ever-iconic Pink Galah Pink Lemonade Sour. This mix is inspired by a sour that’s secondary fermented with fresh raspberries and blending with 100 per cent Australian lemon juice.

The real fun though? The Grifter Brewing Co. lets you customise your own beer case so you can pick n’ mix from the likes of Grifter’s Acid Drop Hoppy Sour, C-Boogie Cucumber Kolsch, Grifter Pilsner, Horses Head American Red, Serpents Kiss and The Omen Oatmeal Stout.

Young Henrys Brewery

Newtown

Possibly one of Sydney’s most iconic homegrown heroes, you’ll find Young Henrys  HQ in the heart of Newtown. If you’re not yet familiar, Young Henrys specialises in craft beers and ales brewed on-site. Complete with a cellar door-style tasting service in the middle of the brewery, and a multitude of award-winning brews, Young Henrys is a place where beer lovers can unite.

The story starts all the way back in 2012 when the team behind Young Henrys found a home in a warehouse in the backstreets of Newtown. And though Young Henry’s impact surpasses more than just beer these days, it’s still independent. The Newtown brewery has upgraded to a high-efficiency brewing system and kegs, cans and bottles are sent out to watering holes across Australia, including its own tasting bar. The core-range oozes well-balanced and easy-drinking beers and no matter what collab these guys are able to come up with (be it a lager for The Foo Fighters or a session hemp IPA that uses a world-first water-soluble hemp oil with Byron brand Afends), Young Henrys transcendent Newtowner—a pale ale and homage to the place it first called home, is an ever-giving classic.

We’re also super-impressed by Young Henrys "Algae Project"—a sustainable beer meets science mashup created in partnership with climate change scientists at UTS. Check it out here.

Wayward Brewing Co.

Camperdown

For some seriously off-the-beaten-track beers, you’re going to want to hit up Camperdown’s Wayward Brewing Co. The big stuff here is inspired by classic Euro-styles with a twist and the result? A beer and a place you’ll want to hit on the regular.

There’s a big focus on flavour at Wayward, a kind you won’t find elsewhere, making this brewery an absolute destination visit. Ingredients are sourced from all over the world and there’s not a whole lot of rush in the brewing process which means the beers here take a little longer to make. The team operates a modern 20hL, four-vessel brewhouse (mash tun, lauter run, brew kettle and whirlpool), plus a combination of 40hL and 20hL fermentation vessels. Beer is sold in draught by the keg, mostly to Sydney’s local pub and restaurant scene and there’s also an in-house bottling line running twice a week out to boutique bottle shops.

There’s a whole lot happening here so buckle your seatbelts—think 24 taps that are constantly changing, a rotating food truck line-up (some frequent wheels looking like Chef’s Kitchen and The Satay Brothers), weekly live music and even a hop-on hop-off bus that’ll take you on a beer safari of Mariickville’s big breweries.

Sticking to Marrickville? Here's how to do the ultimate Inner West brewery crawl

Image credit: Willie The Boatman,4 Pines Brewing Co., Yulli's Brews, Batch Brewing Co., Modus Operandi, Sauce Brewing, Wildflower Brewing Co., Willie The Boatman, The Grifter Brewing Co., Young Henry's 

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