The ultimate Brisbane craft beer crawl
I get it; You love a day touring the local haunts of a new city but at the end of it, you’re ready to sit down with an ice-cold beer.
Whether it’s to reflect on the day, make new friends, or purely for the love of a good brew, I get you. I’m German and proving the cliché right, I love nothing more than a cool beer on a summer’s day.
I have good news for both of us. Brisbane’s beer scene has exploded with new craft beer bars and tap houses opening faster than you say “cheers”. And if you add them to your tour through Brisbane City, you’ll find sightseeing can get a whole lot more rewarding.
So raise your pint glasses, fellow beer lovers, and get ready to taste your way through Brisbane’s best drinking dens. Here’s how:
Saccharomyces Beer Café
Wander down South Brisbane’s Fish Lane and you’ll hear the chatter of friends humming through the open windows of a beer hall.
Enter the world of Saccharomyces Beer Café which is celebrating all things beer, wine and bread with a tribute to the brewer’s and baker’s yeast, saccharomyces (pronounced sac ∙ a ∙ ro ∙ my ∙ sees). Try saying that after a beer or two. Or simply call it SBC like the locals do.
Walk up to the big tap wall to find out what’s pouring and gather around one of the large communal tables. Did we mention that this is the best place for board games and beer outside of your living room? And there are pinball machines, too. Boom.
If you’re hungry, order the Bacon Me Crazy burger layered with a homemade beef and bacon mince patty, bacon rashers, swiss cheese and creamy bacon and chive sauce (need we say more?) or the Sacch Reuben with pastrami, sauerkraut and cheese. Pair this with a Weihenstefan double bock and you’re halfway to Germany. Or go all pub grub on the chilli nachos and sticky wings.
Hot tip: Come back the next morning and these guys will hook you up with some seriously good caffeine from the neighbourhood’s artisan coffee roaster to kick start your day.
Where: Fish Lane, South Brisbane.
When: Monday to Thursday 7:30am – 10pm; Fridays 7:30am – late; Saturday and Sundays 12pm – late.
The Scratch, Milton
If your favourite place to enjoy a cold beer is your best friend’s digs, then this one’s for you. The motto here is ‘no pretension, no dress code and no pub cover bands’. It’s all about enjoying good beer in good company.
Lurking in the shadows of the big XXXX Brewery, The Scratch is one of Brisbane’s original craft beer bars and remains a staple on the scene. So much so that some beers have been brewed especially for the venue.
Everything here is well thought out – from the artwork, memorabilia and witty slogans that adorn the walls to the selection of largely Australian craft beers like Boatrocker’s Adventus Belgian ale, Two Metre Tall’s Forester amber ale and a few from Newstead Brewing Co. and Green Beacon Co. But that’s only scratching the surface. Dig a little deeper and you’ll often find small batch brews from home grown
But that’s only scratching the surface. Dig a little deeper and you’ll often find small-batch brews from home grown talent, like the Brewtal Brothers, taking over the taps for a night or two.
So make yourself at home on the leather couch or pull up a chair out the front. And don’t forget to bring along a sambo or one of the super-sized pizzas from next door. That’s right, you can BYO food, and dog, too! #Winning.
Hot tip: Like a good drop? The Scratch is also serving up a killer line up of Australian, Central American and Caribbean spirits.
Where: 8/1 Park Road, Milton
When: Monday 4pm – 12am; Tuesday to Sunday 12pm – 12am.
NEWSTEAD & TENERIFFE
GREEN BEACON BREWING CO.
This is your local. Not by place but by principle.
The beers are brewed on site, the wine is sourced from the Granite Belt, the seafood caught locally and the breads are baked just around the corner. It’s fair to say most of the punters and even their dogs are locals, too.
You’ll see people wandering in to fill up their growlers while neighbours and friends gather around the big wooden tables to catch up over a beer or two (or three, let’s be honest). Perch yourself on one of the stools lining the wooden bar and choose from Green Beacon’s core range or check the big blackboard for their seasonal and special releases.
Try the Windjammer, a fruity and bold, yet beautifully balanced IPA or quench your thirst with the Cross Knot Kolsch, a refreshing golden ale with clean, crisp flavours.
If you’re feeling hungry, feast on the seafood platter with local Mooloolaba king prawns, Moreton Bay bug and oysters – for $20 it’s almost cheaper than your next beard trim. Or grab a bite to eat from the food truck pulled up in front of the roller door (you can check out the weekly line-up on Facebook).
Hot tip: Have a bro’s birthday coming up? These guys sell some epic merchandise, too. How about some beer soap or beard oil infused with the sweet aromas of Green Beacon’s Windjammer IPA?
Where: 26 Helen St, Teneriffe
When: Open 7 days a week from 12pm until late.
NEWSTEAD BREWING CO.
Only a hop(s), step and jump from Green Beacon Co., you’ll find Newstead Brewing Co.
Here, you can sip your way through Brisbane’s heritage – one beer at a time – with each of the ambers paying homage to a particular story in the city’s past. The dark and murky 21 Feet 7 Inches porter, for example, was named after the flood levels in Newstead during Brisbane’s infamous 1974 floods.
Once a bus depot, Newstead Brewing Co. has transformed into a working brewery on one side and restaurant and bar on the other. If you’re here for a lazy crafternoon, grab a seat in the front bay window or at one of the tables scattered between kegs, barrels and bags of barley. Upstairs boasts a bar and restaurant with tables neatly placed to overlook the shiny row of fermentation tanks.
Wet your whistle with six of Newstead Brewing’s own beers, a cider and five guest beers from Australia and around the world on tap. Not sure where to start? It’s worth chatting to the passionate crew who are well versed on what’s pouring and will help pair you up with the right amber. Not a beer drinker? Not a problem. The wine list is extensive. And the food menu, too, for that matter. Fill up on bar snacks and share plates like the beer battered jalapeno poppers or the wings with blue cheese dipping sauce. For something more substantial opt for the BBQ Texan pizza topped with melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket and a crunchy crust.
Fill up on bar snacks and share plates, like the beer-battered jalapeno poppers or the wings with blue cheese dipping sauce. For something more substantial opt for the BBQ Texan pizza topped with melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket and a crunchy crust.
Hot tip: Newstead Brewing Co. dishes up a mean $10 chef’s lunch special from 12-3pm every Monday to Thursday.
Where: 85 Doggett Street, Newstead
When: Open 7 days a week from 10am until midnight. Live music on Sundays.
THE CATCHMENT BREWING CO.
At first you might think you’ve entered just another watering hole off busy Boundary Street but as you walk up to the bar you’ll be surprised to find two small fermentation tanks shining a new light on the liquid gold that’s on offer. Pouring from the taps are The Catchment’s in-house concoctions – a full-strength golden ale and a flavoursome pale ale – as well as other Australian craft beers on rotation.
The beer is good, the atmosphere great, but the food menu is the real surprise here. Next to your favourite bar snacks and grazing boards, the team serves up vegetarian share plates, a worldly take on ribs and fresh local seafood that will make you forget you’re at a West End drinking den. The drunken
The drunken yabbies cooked in almond saffron butter and the Malaga lamb dusted with coconut sugar and peppered with chilli toasted cashews are worth sticking around for.
Hot tip: For the best seat in the house, head upstairs and park yourself on one of the two balconies overlooking the hustle and bustle of Boundary Street. This is the ultimate spot to quench your thirst while watching the sun set over West End.
Where: 150 Boundary Street, West End
When: Monday 4pm until late; Tuesday to Sunday 11am until late.
BRISBANE BREWING CO.
Just a little further up the road, wrought-iron gates adorned with hop bines and cones lead into a hidden laneway strung with fairy lights and filled with a hipster crowd sipping on some of Brisbane’s freshest craft beer. Welcome to the wonderland that is Brisbane Brewing Co.
Here, the craft beer flows straight from the tanks in the cold-room through to the taps and into your pint glass. The bar fridges are stocked with over 70 craft beers from around the world and a self-serve keg station means you can fill up your growler for later. All while you watch Head Brewer Sim master the next batch of brews.
And the hoppy goodness doesn’t end here. You can order grazing boards from the on-site deli or opt for something from the extensive food menu. It reads like a brew master’s guide to the kitchen – from beer scones with maple bacon jam, to beer-braised beef brisket and even dessert. Order the chocolate and black beer mousse and you’ll live happily ever after.
Hot tip: Enrol in Brisbane Brewing Co.’s Brewniversity™ masterclass to learn more about the brewing process while sampling some of the beers and good food.
Where: 124 Boundary Street, West End
When: Monday to Thursday from 4pm – late; Friday to Sunday from 11am – late.
ARCHIVE BEER BOUTIQUE
Continue your crawl up Boundary Street and you’ll end up at Archive Beer Boutique.
If Brisbane Brewing Co. is the wonderland, this is a beer lover’s nirvana. Enter and you’ll find an archive (see what they did here?) of over 400 of the best, rarest and purest Australian and imported craft beers pouring from 22 rotating taps, or served in a bottle. And the staff know their tipple and are only too happy to give you a taste. Even the food menu comes paired with a recommendation of the best brew for each of the meals.
As Brisbane’s longest standing craft beer bar, these guys know how to make you feel welcome. The space is decked out like your hipster grandpa’s living room. Sink into the old, comfy couches surrounded by book shelves, gaze at the walls clad with pages from old comic books or play a game of pool under a chandelier made of Pixar lamps.
And because it’s impossible to taste your way through the list in just one day, there’s an ever-changing line-up of entertainment – from trivia nights and pool comps to live music gigs – worth returning for, and a bottle shop next door. Just in case.
Hot tip: Visit on a Wednesday and pile your plate with drool-worthy spit roast cooked right under your nose on Archive’s deck. The best part? It’s 2-for-1.
Where: 100 Boundary St, West End
When: Open 7 days a week from 11am – late.
If you’re keen to venture out a little further, then check these craft beer breweries in Brisbane.