Before moving to Melbourne and settling there for the meagre 12 months that the Australian government graciously allowed for me, I was completely unaware of the city’s undying love affair with craft beer. Over the past few years the craft beer industry in Melbourne, and Victoria state as a whole, as absolutely blown up! Every unassuming suburb and town has it’s own microbrewery or boutique craft beer brewery dishing out some delectable delights of the alcoholic variety.
Melbourne city is therefore a melting pot of all things beer, from thick, hearty stouts to light, crisp summer ales, and everything from traditional IPAs to weirdly hipster blends of ingredients that should just not work in beer, but do!
Here is a list of my Top 5 pubs and breweries across Melbourne that I feel take beer to the next level:
- Moon Dog Brewery, Richmond
Beer connoisseurs of the highest order, the fine people of the Moon Dog Brewery in Melbourne’s Eastern suburb of Richmond have taken beer and put a big old stamp on it. Entering the brewery, the large open warehouse is ornately designed with vintage trinkets and furniture to instantly make you feel right at home. The beer is like something out of The Twits (the Roald Dahl book), with crowd favourites including a Pineapple Lime Ice Cream IPA, Ginger & Aromatically Spiced Ale, Dark Sour Berry Stouts, and so many more. For those visitors who aren’t that daring there is always the classic Pale Ales, IPAs and Lager on tap too. All these wildly scrumptious options topped off with all you can eat, free popcorn (which has been salted sufficiently to keep you thirsty for more and more beer – very clever!), should be enough reasons to keep coming back again and again.
- The Terminus Hotel, Clifton Hill
The Terminus is a relatively unassuming pub found at the intersection of two very busy main roads in the suburb of Clifton Hill. To enter the pub you are offered two sides – the restaurant or the bar. Don’t panic however, both offer excellent selections of locally sourced beer and you can always just move to the other side if you initial decision does not appeal! Every couple of months the Terminus will hold a day or an evening of all things beer, with previous events including The Victorian Pale Off and the Craft Beer Showdown. Their taps are changed regularly ensuring the latest in beautiful craft ales, coupled with some seriously good pub meals, making the Terminus a must visit for any beer enthusiast!
- James Squire: The Craft Squire, CBD
Although not necessarily at the top of my list when it comes to the beer itself, this pub has a spot close to my heart, as it was one of the first places I visited when I first arrived in Melbourne. One of the only microbreweries in Melbourne CBD, the Crafty Squire brews up a fantastic selection of James Squire beers. Freshly brewed and served in a clean-cut environment, you will struggle to find beer this fresh in other CBD establishments. With a selection of 10+ James Squire Beers and Ciders, there is something for everyone at this popular after-work drinks haunt, making it well worth a sneaky peak when at a lost end in the Melbourne City Centre.
- The Local Taphouse, St Kilda
You can’t mention beer in Melbourne without mentioning the Local Taphouse – St Kilda’s premier beer spot. Anywhere that plays host to monthly beer lover’s gatherings and tasting nights is somewhere that knows its beer and takes it very, very seriously (some would say a little too seriously – I mean after all it’s designed to get you drunk, not hold parliamentary meetings). Parading a selection of beers from across the world, with hops ranging from the UK, USA, New Zealand, across Australia, and more, and percentages that can hit into the double figures… be prepared for lots of beer and a probably taxi home!
- The Alehouse Project, Brunswick East
Beer geeks, step forward! The Alehouse project in the heart of hipsterville on Lygon St, in Brunswick East, is the place to be if you want to discuss the hop content and IBU rating of your beer instead of just drinking it. This is a place for people who want to talk the talk when it comes to beer, discuss each option carefully before making a decisions on where they will place their hard earned dollars. With constantly changing taps harbouring the finest in local microbrewery beers, as well as beers sourced from far and wide, only the best beers get to grace the pipes of the Project. Bring a fat wallet, because beers sourced from places like Portland and Denver are not cheap!
Almost made the list:
- The Great Northern Hotel – a great selection of American style pale ales, as well as some more local beers, such as Moo Brew shipped in from Tasmania.
- Beer Deluxe – Right in the heart of the CBD close to Flinders St Station, Beer Deluxe has a huge choice of wonderful Australian beers!
- Any TAB/Pokies – If you like beer please, for the love of God, avoid anywhere that is labelled TAB or Pokies. All you can expect is your standard Australian piss-water lager like XXXX Gold or Great Northern Brewing Co. Lager. No thanks!
And there we have it. A little run down on all things beer in Melbourne.