The ultimate Gold Coast craft beer crawl
In days of old, a Gold Coast craft beer crawl would have been nothing more than settling in for a session at your favourite surf club with an icy cold XXXX in hand.
Fast forward and times have seriously changed; the craft beer revolution has hit the Gold Coast hard. Hop-loaded and brimming with flavour, there’s liquid gold to be found at the end of every Rainbow (Bay) in this glittering seaside city.
The litany of brewers, microbreweries and brew bars setting up their brew-tastic operations on the Gold Coast and beyond is growing faster than you can say “hop to it”!
From south to north, here’s the ultimate Gold Coast craft beer crawl for a frothing good time.
Mt Tamborine & Tamborine Village
Fortitude Brewing Co.
Start your day by heading for the hills to the flavour masters at Fortitude Brewing Co. Grab a pint from either of the brewery’s two product lines: Fortitude Brewing Co. or Noisy Minor Co.
If laidback session ales are your thing try the former; for loud, take-no-prisoners types sip your way through the latter. Or if you can’t decide, make it a paddle.
Throw in a cheese platter from neighbour Witches Chase Cheese Co., or a wood-fired pizza, into the mix, and you’re onto a winner.
Where: 165 Long Road, Eagle Heights
When: Monday to Thursday 11am-4pm; Friday 11am-6pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Bearded Dragon Hotel
Make your way down the mountain and hit up the Bearded Dragon Hotel to sample the traditional German-style beer brewed at the Gold Coast’s only farmhouse brewery, Beard & Brau.
The brewery, named for the owners’ two beloved schnauzers, set up digs in Queensland in 2008 (after husband and wife duo Chris and Tanya moved the business from Adelaide).
Using traditional French and Belgian brewing methods, Beard & Brau also have a strict sustainability program. From ingredients sourced from the local area and onsite water collection, to waste grain recycled for animal feed and chemical-free production, these farmhouse style beers are as feel-good as they are tasty.
Where: LOT 2 Tamborine Mountain Rd, Tamborine
When: Monday to Friday 10am-10pm; Saturday and Sunday 8am-11pm
Southern Gold Coast
Lester & Earl
Kick off the beachside leg of the craft beer crawl at Palm Beach’s Lester & Earl, where the taps are always ice cold and fully loaded.
Grab a stool at the bar, which channels a Wild West saloon convincingly, and play eenie-meenie-minie-moe with Queensland’s best brews that rotate through the 12 taps regularly.
Chow down on a plate of ‘cue (think fried chicken, slow-smoked brisket, ribs and burgers) or just watch the sunset from the verandah, froth top in hand.
Where: 1097 Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach
When: Tuesday to Thursday 4pm-9:30pm; Friday to Sunday 9am-9:30pm
Next, make your way to BALTER in Currumbin, where enjoyment of life is numero uno. Helmed by a crew of the Gold Coast’s most famous pro surfers and lifelong friends – Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge, Josh Kerr and Joel Parkinson plus master brewer, Scott Hargrave – BALTER has already established itself as one of the Gold Coast’s best.
Equal parts industrial brew room and cool laneway bar, the brewery’s cellar door is a place for a casual catch up with mates over a freshly pulled XPA.
Take a beer tasting just metres from where all the magic happens, request a brewery tour, or nosh on some street food from one of the food trucks that roll up every Friday.
Where: 14 Traders Way, Currumbin
When: Wednesday 12pm-7pm; Saturday and Sunday 1pm-8pm
Lost Palms Brewing Co.
If you rate the atheistic of a brewery as much as the beer, Lost Palms Brewing Co in Miami is right up your alley.
Sample everything from Kombucha blends, IPA brews to an array of creative concoctions.
But what sets these guys apart is their support of the local art community with frequent collabs on artist-designed cans and packaging.
Where: 11 Oak Avenue, Miami
When: Saturday 12pm-9pm, Sunday 12pm-7pm
Burleigh Brewing Co.
Take a slight detour from the coastline to head to the OG of Gold Coast microbreweries, Burleigh Brewing Company. Housed in purpose-built digs on Ern Harley Drive, the current Burleigh Brewing Co. brewery and taproom is an expansion to the ever-growing empire of husband and wife duo Brennan and Peta Fielding, who has led the charge for the craft scene on the coast since 2006.
Try one of the many now-famous brews (think 28 Pale Ale, Figjam IPA or My Wife’s Bitter plus a rotation of one-off brews) from the 24-tap line-up and grab a seat in the taphouse open three days per week.
Takeaway cartons and growler refills, plus walk-through tours of the production facility are all available during opening hours too. Check out Sunday’s live music and food truck roster, or book in for an intimate, access all areas tour with the head brewer, Backstage with the Brewmaster.
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
When: Wednesday and Thursday 3pm-6pm; Friday 3pm-8:30pm; Sundays in Summer (September to March) 2pm-8pm; Sundays in Winter (April to August) 12pm–6pm
Black Hops Brewery
Giving the people what they want – and paid for – is Black Hops’ reason for being. The crowdfunded social media darling of a brewery flung its doors open in April 2016 to rapturous applause and many thirsty mouths.
The brewery’s tasting room, open six days a week, is home to eight taps serving up Black Hops’ core range of beers plus exclusive tipples only available onsite. Tours are available on request so just ask your friendly barkeep.
Where: 15 Gardenia Grove, Burleigh Heads
When: Wednesday to Friday 12pm – 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm – 6pm
If all the tippling has left you with a titan-sized hunger, then head to Pigs & Pints (1823 Gold Coast Highway; 0424 652 768) for something porky – and more beer, of course – or try Ze Pickle (1/37 Connor Street; 07 5659 1091) where your belly rumbles will meet their match in the form of towering burgers plus a tidy round-up of craft brews, wine and cocktails.
Mermaid Beach & Nobby Beach
Next on the menu is Bine Bar and Dining for American eats and a serious paddlin’ from the eight craft beer taps and over 100 bottled beers; or try hopped-up hipster The Cambus Wallace, where you can sail the seas of fine whiskey and a selection of brews that makes the most dedicated beer lover weak at the knees. Keep an eye out for Bine’s regular brewer’s lunches and tap takeovers, too.
For a classic pub grub meal and a sip on a brew from a tidy but well-curated rotating tap selection, The Glenelg Public House at Mermaid Beach is the place to wash down your eye fillet (Glenelg is worth visiting for their steaks alone).
Bine Bar and Dining
Where: 1/28 Chairlift Avenue, Mermaid Beach
When: Monday – Thursday 12 – 10pm, Friday 3pm-12am; Saturday 12pm-12am; Sunday 12pm-late
The Cambus Wallace
Where: 4/2237 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach
When: Tuesday to Thursday 5pm-12am; Friday to Sunday 4pm-12am
The Glenelg Public House
Where: Cnr Glenelg Ave, 2460 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
When: Monday – Thursday 5pm-11pm; Friday to Sunday 12pm-11pm
Surfers & Southport
Despite its reputation, the neon-lit nightclub strip isn’t all shots and cheap beer; there are plenty of craft beer haunts if you know where to look. Surfers Sandbar’s taps are are a who’s who of the Gold Coast’s (plus Brisbane and Australia’s) best breweries. Pull up a chair at one of the beach-side tables for an afternoon of views and brews.
Then, make your way to House of Brews to tackle the mammoth 32 taps that make up their draught beer selection. The family-friendly tap house also serves up a mean American-style barbecue to wrap your smackers around.
End your evening at the aptly named Not Tonight in Southport and commiserate the culmination of your craft beer crawl with a choice of one (or two) of more than 55 bottled beers and a plate from the tapas menu. There’s always next weekend to do it all again.
Where: 52 The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise
When: Monday to Saturday 6am-10pm; Sunday 7:15am-12am
House of Brews
Where: 17 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise
When: Monday to Friday 12pm-1am; Saturday and Sunday 6am-12am
*Can’t decide on a designated driver? Check out Hop On Brewery Tours, whose tours run from Brisbane and Gold Coast taking in Gold Coast and Hinterland areas. Try the Coldie on the Goldie or Taste of Tamborine (both full and half days) to visit BALTER, Black Hops, Beard & Brau and Fortitude Brewing.
Have we missed any? Where’s your favourite craft beer bar or brewery on the Gold Coast?
This post was originally published in 2016 and updated on 4 April 2018.