4 local breweries to visit when you’re in Melbourne
Like America, Australia has traditionally been the butt of the rest of the world’s jokes when it comes to beer. The long-standing (and unfair) stereotype sees Aussie beer culture as a bunch of guys swilling lager from ‘stubbies’ - and the beer they’re drinking is probably Victoria Bitter, brewed in Melbourne since the mid-19th century.
Thankfully, beer drinkers have wised up. Just as we’ve learned that there’s more to the US scene than Bud and Coors, we’ve also learned Australia isn’t all about tins of VB and Castlemaine XXXX. The recent fashion for big, hoppy, thirst-quenching brews suited Australian tastes down to the ground, and it’s a sign of the times that Melbourne - once famous as the home of Victoria Bitter - now has some of Australia’s funkiest microbreweries and most exciting beers.
If you still think Australia can’t do beer, book yourself into one of Melbourne’s city centre hostels and drop into these four local breweries. You’ll soon change your mind…
Try: 55 American Pale Ale. “Five assertive hops meet a blend of barley, corn, wheat, oats and rye. Floral aromatics lead to a structured maltiness and a clean finish.”
Visit: The 3 Ravens building is little more than a concrete box on a Thornbury backstreet. Although it doesn’t operate a full bar like some micro-breweries, it does open its doors every Friday from 2-8pm, offering samples and the chance to buy some takeout.
Contact: 1 Theobald Street, Thornbury / 03 9495 1026
Try: Black IPA. “The predominant hop aroma is provided by late additions of hops in the kettle and dry hopping for seven days. A beer for the biggest of hop heads.”
Visit: Though the West Heidelberg location may not be idyllic, the Kooinda bar allows you to try many of this inventive brewery’s beers in one place - with giant jenga, pool and table football to boot. They’ll even let you order food from nearby takeaways. It’s open every Friday from 5pm. You can also pop in to buy takeout bottles from 12pm to 4pm Monday to Friday.
Contact: 28 Culverlands Street, Heidelberg West / 03 9440 5426
Try: ESB. “Considerable crystal malt character, as a backbone to carry the hefty bitterness. Flavours of ripe passionfruit.”
Visit: Award-wining Hargreaves Hill occupies a former bank building in the Melbourne satellite town of Yarra Glen. As well as tasters of the brewery’s own ale, you can try a range of world beers and fill up in the highly-regarded restaurant. Open 11.30am to late Monday to Saturday, with a Sunday lunch service from 11am.
Contact: 25 Bell Street, Yarra Glen / 03 9730 1905
Credit: Charles Haynes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/haynes/)
Caption: Mountain Goat opens its Richmond-area brewery on Wednesdays and Fridays
Try: Hightail Ale. “An English inspired amber ale with a rich malt body and floral hop aroma.”
Visit: The brewery is in a warehouse in cool, multicultural Richmond, and attracts an appropriately hipstery crowd. You’re literally drinking in the brewery, so you’ll get a good look at the equipment, and might see it in action on a Wednesday, when the owners run tours. There’s good pizza available too. Open from 5pm Wednesdays and Fridays.
Contact: 80 North Street, Richmond / 03 9428 1180