Past the graffitied laneways and underground bars of Melbourne, there is a new type of watering hole which is fast emerging in Victoria.
While the cultural city is known for its art galleries, fine dining restaurants and kitsch bars, there are now a wealth of craft breweries popping up in suburbs like Abbotsford and Fitzroy.
Despite the consumption of beer falling in Australia, the number of craft beer drinkers has increased by 200 per cent in the last seven years. And in recent weeks, Melbourne brewery Stomping Ground has even opened up their own bar in Melbourne Airport.
A weekend in Melbourne is an ideal way to take a tour, discovering how far the craft brewery business has come over the last decade. Around the city and its surrounds, there are close to 30 beer makes, each with their own identity.
The Moon Dog brewery is based in Abbotsford. As one of the original craft makers that emerged in Australia, the team have now expanded into three different venues. Moon Dog World is located in Preston, a half hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD. Here, you’ll get to try a variety of different beers. And different is the operative word. Think pavlovas, tim tams and even hemp.
On a Saturday, Moon Dog World is brimming with families, hens and stags parties and friends grabbing a bite to eat. Aside from the usual fare of burgers, you’ll find sophisticated items on the menu like squid karage with kewpie mayo and barramundi with coconut and papaya.
Closer to the city, Stomping Ground has a delightful number of ales, lagers and stouts which are known to be flavorsome, but extremely drinkable if you’re settling in for a long session. What’s charming about this brewery, even for the non-converted is that every beer is rated green, orange or red on how easy it is to wash down.
Hop Nation in Footscray was started by two former wine makers, who decided to try their hand and beer brewing. As one of the most well-known brands in Australia, their raspberry sour is delightful. There are 15 beers on tap, including a selection of local wines as well as ciders. Be sure to get there early as it fills up quickly on a Saturday and Sunday.
Other breweries like Molly Rose have a clean and minimal approach to the brewery interiors, as well as their flavours. Here, you’ll find coffee flavoured stouts and for the non beer drinkers, there are four taps which pour out vinos like chardonnay and a bubbly prosecco. You’ll also find tasty toasties like beef bulgogi with kim chi, and a hearty ploughman’s lunch.
But this little guide just skims the surface of the burgeoning beer scene in Melbourne. Beer, it seems, just got a little bit grown up.
Take Me There
Fly: Qantas and Jetstar are still operating some flights from Sydney to Melbourne. Fares start from $50 from Sydney with Jetstar. Visit jetstar.com.
Stay: The best hotels are located in Melbourne’s CBD. The QT Hotel is located in the centre of the city and is near to all the tram stops to get you to the suburbs. Rooms are priced from $230 per night. Visit qthotels.com.
Tour: If you want to take out the hassle of getting around yourself, you can organise a brewery tour with companies like Melbourne Brewery Tours. They will take you to a range of different breweries but make sure you make any special requests. Visit melbournebrewerytours.com.au.
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