You’d be hard-pressed to find a Sydney venue that doesn’t serve craft beer these days, which is excellent news for our tastebuds. While it’s always a pleasure to order a Stone & Wood over a VB, there’s something extra special about being able to sample the beers where they’re brewed. Here are the top places to do just that.
1. Nomad Brewing Co.
Combining time-honoured Italian techniques with some of Australia’s best native produce – including wattleseed, lemon myrtle, finger lime and pepperberries – has resulted in some truly spectacular brewskies. Pop along to Brookvale for the afternoon and discover them in the cosy confines of their tasting room, cheekily named ‘The Transit Lounge’.
2. Modus Operandi Brewing
Boasting a huge double-storey space, seven-serve tasting paddles and a constantly refreshed seasonal range of brews, Modus Operandi has put Mona Vale well and truly on the beer map.
3. Wayward Brewing Company
It might have been a bit of a gypsy initially, but since 2015 this innovative company has been firmly housed in Camperdown, with 24 beers on tap, most of them Wayward. The bar is fun, with hanging lights made from beer kegs and rooms that were once wine vats. As well as seasonal brews with quirky names, there’s a great core range with a big focus on flavour.
4. Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
Australia’s oldest pub brewery specialises in ales of the natural kind, proudly presenting beers with no added sugars or preservatives. Rumour has it this results in less severe hangovers. You’d best head down to The Rocks and test the theory.
5. Grifter Brewing Co.
Owned by three beer-loving blokes who spent years brewing the good stuff in their kitchens, Marrickville’s Grifter has been turning heads in the beer world for all the right reasons. Some of their more innovative concoctions include a watermelon pilsener that has a cult following, and a stout made with coconut milk.
6. Batch Brewing Co.
Batch is another Marrickville favourite, offering 10 rotating taps that pour everything from the clean and simple ‘Just Beer’ to the fruity/sour ‘Pash the Magic Dragon’ brewed with passionfruit and dragon fruit and great on hot days.
7. Willie the Boatman
The beers at this St Peters local come complete with glorious background stories the staff will be only too happy to regale you with as you sip your way through tastings in the breezy warehouse space. Enjoy the tropical flavours and aromas of Double Nectar of the Hops, and savour the coffee and chocolate notes of the Cappuccino Stout. There’s even an Albo Pale Ale, sporting a pic of a very young Anthony Albanese.
8. Young Henrys
It makes sense that one of Sydney’s most successful drops is housed is one of the city’s coolest venues. The converted warehouse in Newtown has it all, entertaining beer lovers with brewery tours, beer pumped straight from the barrel, one-off collaborations and a constant collection of food trucks ready to serve up all sorts of goods to hungry patrons.
9. Hawke's Brewing Co
Take one for the country at this Marrickville brewery serving tank-fresh Hawke’s beer, named for a certain former Prime Minister who liked a drink. Quirky and kitsch, you can go to the RJLH Pool Room, order a drink at the Ansett Bar, or dine at the Lucky Prawn Chinese-Australian bistro, all while enjoying Hawke’s Underdog Session Lager (everyone loves an underdog) or Hawke’s Keating ESB (naturally Extra Special Bitter).
Housed in a former warehouse in Marrickville, Wildflower isn’t like other breweries. For a start, it specialises in wild fermentation rather than using commercial yeast. The beers, including a golden ale and amber ale, are quite funky and some of the most interesting and complex in the country.
When the drinking is done and it's time to retire, you can take your pick of TFE Hotels' range of hotel brands in Sydney's CBD. Choose from the comfy Travelodge to the spacious Adinas or the upmarket A by Adina that's like your own apartment in the city. Beer lovers might want to head to Vibe Darling Harbour for a stay in the city. If you do, head up to the Above 319 rooftop bar and sample their namesake Above 319 Refreshing Ale.