The modern brewing industry in Australia was born in Western Australia, but when the craft beer scene we know today began to come to life, it was Victoria who took the lead.
Several breweries on both sides of the 20-year mark call the state home, including Mountain Goat (now part of CUB/Asahi), Holgate, Bridge Road, Red Hill, Red Duck and Hargreaves Hill, all of which helped solidify acceptance. of craft beer. The country’s two biggest beer events, Good Beer Week and GABS (the Great Australasian Beer Show), were conceived in Melbourne, putting the city on the world beer map.
To get a taste of the industry they helped build, this diverse background is a good starting point.
Bodriggy’s Brewery in an Abbotsford warehouse. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Bodriggy Brewing Company
They launched with a white IPA, a style most brewers would see as commercial suicide, and their brand features a seemingly acid-cooked character, yet the team behind Bodriggy has carved out an increasingly successful path. His froffs range from lagers for the masses to flavorful flights of fancy, and his Abbotsford home has a claim as the best urban brewery in the country. Its conversion of a former LP gas warehouse into a multi-faceted place to start a party, with Stingrays night bar upstairs, a disco ball and a delicious bar facing Johnston Street, is simply brilliant.
Beer to try: Speccy Juice – This is a hoppy medium potency, so you’ll be able to keep going late into the night.
Originally known as Mr Banks before becoming Banks Brewing in late 2021, the Seaford operation founded by Chris and Penny Farmer is a paid member of the country’s “hype brew club.” They became members thanks to a series of lauded high-alcohol-by-volume IPAs and pastry stouts, but the couple behind the beers is much more realistic than the reactions their beers elicit. Also, their main range of ‘regular’ beers is totally on point if you don’t fancy a caloric overload.
Beer to try: Hazies like Cake Eater attract attention, but ignore the noise and grab a four-pack of Foam pilsner instead.
Deeds Taproom in Glen Iris. Photo: Eddie Jim
Elaboration of facts
Few breweries have evolved more in their first 10 years than Deeds. Originally brewing beers on the safer end of the craft beer spectrum, earlier this decade Deeds had beer geeks clamoring for insanely hoppy IPAs, double-digit ABV wheat wines and barrel-aged imperial stouts. Then, after a long and drawn out battle, they finally opened their Glen Iris venue last year, a chic, ultra-hip spot that you should visit even if you don’t like beer.
Beer to try: Juice Train: One of the first local NEIPAs to get the style right.
Molly Rose Brewing Company
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not too difficult to get a good flavor and aroma in a beer. But getting the structure, finish, and texture right to ensure it dances on your palate is more challenging. Molly Rose founder Nic Sandery has that knack and applies it with aplomb to lagers, IPAs, mixed-fermentation, barrel-aged, fruity and wine hybrid beers. He loves to cook as much as he does brewing and is opening a second, more food-focused location, complete with a chef’s table next to the original Collingwood brewery. Molly and Rose were his grandmothers, by the way.
Beer to try: Kuro – A Japanese dark lager with sweet cherry wood smoked malt and kombu that is as delicious as it is implausible.
Making dollar bills
A small operation in Ballarat that recently got the go-ahead for a basement door after reaching out to VCAT. They specialize in blended and barrel-aged sour beers, but also throw out funky ciders and the occasional offbeat wine. When they chose Champion Australian Beer for a fruity golden sour with the hip hop-inspired name Gold Teeth at the 2021 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA), they received the biggest standing ovation I’ve seen in over a decade of Australian dinners. award ceremony
Beer to try: Learning to breathe: a pure expression of his art.
street vendor beer
Hawkers is not particularly new, nor does it follow a particularly original path. It doesn’t even have a suitable spot in its ever-expanding Reservoir brewery. But the brewery launched by Mazen Hajjar, founder of Beirut’s 961 Beer, and Melbourne chef/ restaurateur Joseph Abboud is dedicated to consistently making great beer. More hype-deserving than most hype breweries, but not bothering to go after them, they defeated Champion Large Australian Brewery at the 2022 Australian International Beer Awards.
Beer to try: West Coast IPA, or its higher double ABV sister, released occasionally.
Stomping Ground Brewery in Collingwood. Photo: David Hyde
Stomping Ground Brewing Co.
In the news after Good Drinks, the ASX-listed company that also owns the Gage Roads, Matso’s and Atomic beer brands, acquired the business, these places took the hospitality know-how the founders had honed into The Local Taphouse in St Kilda and translated to warehouses in Collingwood (pictured) and Moorabbin, as well as a partnership with Delaware North at Melbourne Airport. Under the direction of head brewer Ashur Hall, they have been touring the country’s beer awards with flying colors.
Beer to try: Gipps St Pale – I was tempted to go with something more quirky, but their flagship flag is a striking example of this type of beers.
Bonehead Brewing and Desktop Fermentary & Blendery
A ticket of two for the price of one here. Bonehead Brewing is a purveyor of modern craft beers presented with a sense of humor, while Sobremesa is the project founded by its head brewer Casey Grieve and his partner Hannah McErlane. The latter’s releases focus on delicate farmhouse styles with subtle depth, offering an elegant counterpoint to Bonehead’s bolder beers.
Beers to try: Bonehead Sweet Pea Melbourne Dark Lager; The desktop does not usually repeat the beers, so go for a lucky dip.
Westside Ale Works and Ida Brewery
Another double headline. Westside Ale Works was launched by Seattle-born Casey Wagner in south Melbourne as a home for US West Coast-inspired beers. Having outgrown its initial space, it moved a few yards down the street into a warehouse largest where 20 of the 30 taps pour their beers and those of Ida Pruul, a fascinating joint venture with Ben Sewell, of Estonian and Indigenous Australian descent. They produce cask-aged beers and wild beers with yeasts collected on camping trips around Victoria. The former also recently launched its first liqueurs.
Beers to try: Westside Red Roo IPA; Wild Mango Sour by Ida Proul.
Noodledoof Brewing and Distilling Co.
Dollar aside, we’re barely out of town. Noodledoof Brewing and Distilling Co. it’s bringing the kind of brewery vibes that would work in Brunswick to Koroit in western Victoria and it’s killing it.
Beers to try: Noodledoof Beer
WHAT’S MORE TRY
In Traralgon, good brewing land showcases some of the influences founder Jimmy Krekelberg picked up while brewing and traveling Europe, including a stint at the revered De Molen. And who would have thought you’d find trendy beers in Cowes? Ocean Reach Brewing in the main town of Phillip Island mixes family vibes with big limited releases, turning heads in Australia.
Beers to try: Good Land Neon Sour Cake; IPA Ocean Reach
James Smith is the founder of the cunning lookan online magazine that has been covering the Australian craft beer scene since 2010.