The Best Breweries In Melbourne
We love a good froth down in Melbourne and luckily, we have a fantastic range of some of the best breweries at our disposal. You may not know the difference between a Pale Ale and an Indian Pale Ale, or how hops and malt differ and affect the flavour of your chosen beer, but these local breweries are willing to share their wisdom. Several Melbourne breweries were chosen for Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour book and have received cult status with pubs and drinkers alike. Each has their signature tipple and offers brewery tours to up your beer cred. Of course, you can’t have beer without food! Think pizzas, tacos, brioche burgers and cheeseboards. If you’re driving with GoGet or taking your own car, remember to drink responsibly and perhaps take a six-pack or slab home with you to enjoy later. All of the beers below can be found in liquor supermarkets, but it’s so much nicer to go out and enjoy a pint straight from the source.
And to all of you travelling from interstate, make sure you don’t confuse your terms when ordering a beer! Names differ from state to state and is a lively topic of discussion among visitors. In Melbourne, we have pots, schooners and pints which go from smallest to largest respectively.
Here are our top picks for the best breweries in Melbourne:
One of the most popular choices for any Melburnian, Mountain Goat features on taps in pubs all over the city. Nestled in an industrial area in North Richmond, 5km from the CBD, the brewery is an open-plan space with the silos right next to you fermenting the next round of kegs. Their menu is delicious and it’s hard not to try all of their styles—why not get a tasting paddle? The Pale Ale and Summer Ale are both fruity and easy to drink whereas the Steam Ale is crisper with a cloudier finish. Their amber ale, Hightail Ale, has toffee notes which is balanced and not too heavy so you can drink it all afternoon—if you’re not driving of course! There is also Randall: an infuser of staff experiments to try, as well as cider for something different. Hungry? There are delicious pizzas and gluten free bases available if required, as well as a cheese board option. A great communal space with live music on Sundays to enjoy with friends, and also family friendly. A foosball table and games will keep kids entertained while the adults kick back with a pint.
Spread over three buildings in Abbotsford, and a five-minute drive from Mountain Goat, Moondog is an unassuming but popular brewery with classics that everyone has tried. Settle into the main bar space among old couches and bar stools, and a shrine celebrating Bill Murray. Tap favourites include Old Mate Pale Ale which is fresh and malty; Moondog Lager which is just so Australian; and the Mack Daddy Dark Ale pleases hops fans. Under no circumstance must you come here having eaten though. The random caravan out the front is where amazing woodfired pizza is made to enjoy with your drinks. Resist trying one, even just for the names: David Hassle Hock (a meatier version of Hawaiian), Return of the Mack (featuring mackerel, capers and mascarpone) and Leonardo Dicapricciosa (a fancy spin on the classic with pancetta and artichokes). Abbotsford and surrounding suburbs like Collingwood are trendy and have heaps of vintage stores and amazing food, so why not make a day out of it?
While this group originally started in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, Colonial Brewing Co. recently opened up in Port Melbourne’s industrial area and is earning a loyal crowd. Their beer is featured at some of the city’s coolest bars and they even sponsor the Essendon Bombers AFL team! There’s ample room to spread out here, with chairs on the front deck and lawn during the warmer months as well as tables inside amongst it all. The Draught Kölsch Ale gives you the best of both worlds and is hands down my favourite—a real sesh beer! The rest of the range doesn’t disappoint though. The patriotic IPA Australia comes in a gold and green can, their American-style Pale Ale is bang on, and the Bertie cider is well-loved. You’ll find yourself loving the type of beer you thought you didn’t here. The food menu is great here too, with American bar influences: burgers, wings and pizzas. Watch out for the specials, such as slow-cooked beef brisket tacos to wash down with some gorgeous ale while watching the footy on a big screen.
While you’re in the area, why not explore? Port Melbourne is one of the nicest areas of the city and stretches along Port Phillip Bay—a perfect place to watch the sun go down before driving home. Fish and chips at D’Lish Fish are unbeatable. Otherwise, choose from an array of restaurants and bars lining Bay St—if you can!
This brewery is located 12km out of Melbourne, right off the Westgate Bridge in Spotswood. The area is both indie and sleepy, which suits the brewery’s inconspicuous location. It is also the first female-owned brewery in the country, launching in 2011. ‘The Nest’ houses plenty of tables to feed a crowd, both in the front section and out the back with all of the silos. Their award-winning Pale Ale and Sunset Ale are strikingly different but equally delicious, and the Passion Ale turns a traditional Summer Ale on its head with passionfruit. Dare to try the Taco Ale, infused with corn, coriander leaf and lime! The food menu here is perfect for any beer lover but also doable merely for a lunch date. The chefs cook up everything from Korean fried chicken and pulled pork burgers, to homemade hummus, salads and boozy brownies!
Hop back in the car and venture down to Williamstown for a beautiful look back over the bay to Melbourne. Enjoy fish and chips on the pier perhaps or be tempted by several ice-cream parlours along the esplanade. In the other direction is Yarraville, a quaint village-type suburb with an old cinema and plenty of fantastic restaurants if you’re still hungry.
Hop in the car for a day, or weekend if you need a relaxing trip away, and head out of the city to the Bellarine Peninsula. Straight on the freeway, Geelong is 70km southwest of Melbourne and a great regional culinary area. Little Creatures is another Western Australian-born brewery that branched out to Victoria but has earned a cult following. The Pale Ale is their trademark, but they hit all the notes with XPA (Extra Pale Ale), IPA and Pilsner for everyone to find a favourite. After moving to Geelong, the beermakers here made Furphy which soon become an icon in the Victorian beer world. Try finding a pub that doesn’t have the blue and white tap! Furphy is a refreshing ale with 100% Victorian hops and malt. It’s crisp, clean and smooth all in one. The brewery tour is renowned here, and of course the stop isn’t complete without a round of lunch.
Make the most of your trip down the coast and drive around to find more hotspots of the Geelong region: wineries, art galleries, restaurants, or why not catch an AFL game at GMHBA Stadium? Check the AFL fixture to see if the Geelong Cats are playing at home and perhaps enjoy some more Furphy or Little Creatures while you’re there.
How does a Mornington Peninsula road trip sound? St Andrews Beach Brewery is at the southern-most end of the peninsula and is set up in former horse stables. Six classic beer styles are on offer, so why not get a tasting paddle and choose a favourite? All of the beers are names after horsing terms such as The Strapper, 6 Furlongs and Race Day. Sample the best of the Peninsula’s produce with an expansive food menu to tickle your fancy. Burgers and pizzas endure while fish and chips, local cheeses and oysters tempt. They’ve also infused their dark ale into braised lamb shanks, leaning into more of a gastro-brewery category that will please all.
Hop on Peninsula Link and be there within 90 minutes from the city. The region has plenty to discover while you’re down there including wineries, sculpture parks and Mornington Peninsula National Park where you can reach Point Nepean. There is no entry fee and the expanse of Port Phillip Bay meeting Bass Strait is breathtaking.
And if beer isn’t your thing, why not check out some of the best wineries in Melbourne instead!