How these craft beer breweries are changing Brisbane
Brisbane’s craft beer scene is the fastest growing in the country right now. Last year no fewer than eight new breweries opened, adding to an already dynamic collection of award-winning operators.
Brewpubs are a great turnkey to discovering any town, but Brisbane’s scene extends well beyond the inner city. If you’re willing to roam as far as the outer suburbs of the Queensland capital, you’ll find expert operators not only brewing fabulous beers but having a profound effect on their local areas, pulling people away from the suburban clubs and RSLs and helping activate a renewed sense of community.
Here are the brewpubs you need to check out (after you’ve ticked these craft beer tap rooms off the list).
Green Beacon Brewing Co
You can’t discuss Brisbane’s craft beer scene without mentioning Green Beacon. Barely five years old, it’s become an inner northern institution, helping establish the area as a centre for the city’s craft beer scene.
The beers here are good – try a Windjammer IPA or, if you’re taking it a little easier, 3 Bolt pale ale – but the location is arguably even better. In an old industrial district close to the river, having a sit and sip in Beacon’s open warehouse on a summer afternoon is a special kind of bliss.
Where: 26 Helen Street, Teneriffe
Newstead Brewing Co
Green Beacon’s near neighbour Newstead Brewing Co is another early star of Brisbane’s craft beer movement. This is a more freewheeling place, the kind of joint where you kick off a Friday night (or a night at the football, if you’re visiting its larger, newer operation in Milton).
The beers are fabulous too, Newstead sharing space on its taps with a bunch of invitationals. The digs, in an old steel warehouse, are cosy and inviting, as is a classy pub grub menu of pizzas, burgers and tacos.
Where: 85 Doggett Street, Newstead
If half a decade ago Green Beacon and Newstead Brewing Co helped activate the Valley-end of Newstead, newcomer Range is now doing much the same for the northern reaches of the suburb. Owners Gerard Martin and Matt McIver have applied a bunch of lessons learnt from the UK craft brew scene to an unvarnished, buzzy operation on Byres Street.
The beers here tend towards lighter, more fragrant styles, with Martin and McIver (and brewer Mitch Pickford) constantly rotating their core range. Food is a simple selection of sourdough pizzas, designed to keep you hanging around for a couple more.
Where: 4 Byres Street, Newstead
Ballistic Beer Co
To truly understand Brisbane’s burgeoning craft beer scene you need to travel to its undulating suburbs. One of the best recent additions is Ballistic Beer Co, owner David Kitchen setting up a classy operation in an old warehouse in Salisbury, which in war years was a centre for munitions production.
Ballistic’s beers are very good – try a Dirty Word lager or a Grandfather oaked ale – but it’s the location that makes it. Sitting outside on the grass at Ballistic in summer, hanging with the locals, is a terrific way to spend an afternoon.
Tie in a visit to Sunnybank, just a suburb south – it’s Brisbane’s thriving centre for Asian cuisine.
Where: 53-55 McCarthy Road, Salisbury
All Inn Brewing Co
Take the train to Brisbane’s panel-beating heartland to find All Inn Brewing Co, a passion project from former mechanic Harley Goodacre. This is another refurbished suburban warehouse where community matters, Banyo locals piling in on the weekends for live music, rotating food trucks and, of course, plenty of beer. Goodacre brews a heap of them, a seven-strong core range backed by a large selection of seasonals.
The picks? The Writersblock stout and Mutiny red IPA are both hard to go past if they’re available, but a Bill Murray malt liquor is always on-tap if you’re up for something a little more out-of-the-box.
Where: 189 Elliott Road, Banyo
This is what happens when three environmental engineers start a brewery. Scott Shomer and Tony and Jayne Rutter established Helios Brewing in early 2018, turning a nondescript Yeroongpilly warehouse into solar-powered, sustainability-minded ode to beer.
There are six core brews (try The Goddess red ale, or a heady Zeus double IPA), a couple of invitationals, board games for the kids, and usually a food truck parked out the front for eats. Helios is just down the road from the Queensland Tennis Centre – tie in a visit if you’re in town for a tournament.
Where: 15 Palomar Road, Yeerongpilly
Aether has been such a hit in Milton, owners Jimmy Young and Dave Ward are now opening a dedicated brewing operation 20 minutes away in Northgate to keep up with demand. This tiny outfit is just a stone’s throw away from the almighty XXXX headquarters on Milton Road but deals in drops more exotic than the easy-drinking amber produced by Queensland’s iconic brewery.
An oatmeal porter is what put Aether on the map, and Ward and Young have since followed it up with similarly exotic (and strong) brews, such as an Event Horizon stout and a Hop, Skip & Jump IPA.
Where: 35 Railway Terrace, Milton
Slipstream Brewing Company
About as unvarnished as brewpubs get, Slipstream shares an ancient corrugated shed with a Yeroongpilly auto-mechanic. Here, the selection of beers is about quality over quantity, owners Deale and Elisa Stanley-Hunt and brewer Ian Watson producing a tight core range of rye pale ales, XPAs, IPAs and pilsners.
Forming something of a south-side two-hander with Helios Brewing, finish a walking crawl of the brewpubs with a visit to Moorooka, a centre for Brisbane’s thriving African community.
Where: 94 Wilkie Street, Yeerongpilly
Catchment Brewing Company
Exploring West End? You’d be hard-pressed to wander past Catchment, this classy brewpub’s Art Deco inspired-facade sticking out on an already vibrant Boundary Street. But there’s a lot of go behind the show, Catchment’s selection of beers tapping into the area’s history in brewing.
Guest brews are brought in regularly, and a seasonal grazing menu keeps you sticking around for one or two more. Try to get there before sundown, so you can nab a seat on one of the winsome upstairs balconies.
Where: 150 Boundary Street, West End