Past the graffitied laneways and underground bars of Melbourne, there is a new type of watering hole 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 such as Abbotsford and Fitzroy.
Despite beer consumption falling in Australia, the number of craft-beer drinkers has increased 200 per cent in the past seven years. And in recent weeks, Melbourne brewery Stomping Ground has even opened up its own bar in Melbourne Airport.
A weekend in Melbourne is an ideal way to take a tour and discover how far the craft brewery movement has come over the last decade. Around the city and its surrounds, there are close to 30 beer-makers, each with their own identity.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery, based in Abbotsford, is one of Australia’s original craft brewers and has now expanded into three different venues.
At its Preston outpost, Moon Dog World, you can try a range of different beers – and different is the operative word. Think pavlova, hemp and even Tim Tams (try the Timothy Tamothy Slamothy Chocolate Biscuit Milk Stout).
On a Saturday, Moon Dog World is brimming with families, hen and stag parties and friends grabbing a bite to eat.
You’ll find burgers on the menu alongside sophisticated items such as squid kara-age with Kewpie mayo and crispy-skinned 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 extremely drinkable if you’re settling in for a long session.
What’s charming about this brewery, especially 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 winemakers and is now one of the most well-known brands in Australia.
The raspberry sour is delightful but there are 15 beers on tap and a selection of local wines and ciders. Be sure to get there early – it fills up quickly on weekends.
Molly Rose has a clean, minimal approach to its brewery, as well as its flavours.
Here, you’ll find coffee-flavoured stouts and for the non-beer drinkers and drivers, there are four taps pouring vino, including a chardonnay and a bubbly prosecco.
You’ll also find tasty toasties (try the beef bulgogi with kim chi) and ploughman’s lunches.
This skims the surface of the burgeoning brewery scene in Melbourne. Beer, it seems, just got a little bit grown up.
Take me there
Fly: Qantas, Jetstar, Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia all operate daily flights from Sydney, Canberra, Launceston and Hobart to Melbourne. Jetstar fares from Sydney start from $100. Visit jetstar.com
Stay: QT Hotel is in the centre of the city and is well located for getting the tram to the suburbs. Rooms are priced from $230 per night. Visit qthotels.com
Tour: Take the hassle of getting around yourself on an organised tour with Melbourne Brewery Tours. You’ll visit several breweries but be sure to make any special requests in advance. Visit melbournebrewerytours.com.au
Explore more: beercrawl.com.au