It’s easy to slake a spring thirst in Melbourne with new, revamped and relaunched breweries and pubs opening doors, pulling taps and slinging snacks.
Bridge Road Brewers has just opened in the East Brunswick Village development. “It’s exciting for us but we hope it’s exciting for Brunswick East,” says owner Ben Kraus.
The 350-seat venue is the first Melbourne outpost for the Beechworth beer maker. “We’re aiming for fun and casual, something the community can use as a place to catch up.”
There are two bars, 30 taps and an appealing menu that treks all the way from spicy clam pizza to lamb merguez kebab and onward to smacked cucumber. Which beer to start with? “Our crew will be able to guide people but the Beechworth Pale Ale is a safe start, then you can dial it up or down from there,” says Kraus.
137-141 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East, 03 9967 5232, bridgeroadbrewers.com.au
After eight years, Footscray brewpub Hop Nation has renovated and reopened. “It was time to give the space a new look and feel, and really embrace the lovely old warehouse we’re in,” says owner Sam Hambour. “We’ve also installed a kitchen: until now, we’ve only had food trucks and pop-ups.”
Good Pizza will be firing the pies; Hambour reckons the vodka sauce deep-dish pan pizza is a great place to begin. There are 18 beers on tap but Hambour has recommendations here, too. “Start with the traditional Rattenhund,” he says “It’s a nice refreshing pilsener. Then we have our new Footscray Draft, which is an easy-drinking lager.”
Shop 6, 107-109 Whitehall Street, Footscray, hopnation.com.au
Queen Victoria Market’s staged renewal project has already delivered some welcome cheer, including Brick Lane Market, a city outpost for Dandenong’s super-indie brewery. The Melbourne-born marvel is a feel-good brand and that’s before you even get to the beer: the factory is B-Corp certified and no plastic packaging is used. The beers are deliberately approachable and inclusive, and there are no-alc options, too. The Sidewinder 0% has true beer taste and texture, and is now available in a passionfruit version.
456 Queen Street, Melbourne, bricklanebrewing.com
It’s a pub rather than a brewery but beer is a huge focus at the new Mt Alexander Hotel in Moonee Ponds. An experienced crew has taken over the space where The Mighty craft brew hangout used to pour, turning it into a three-level new-school local. A dog-friendly downstairs terrace gives way to a booth-lined dining room, where you might eat scallops with ’nduja butter or Scotch fillet with mash. Upstairs, there’s Bar Everage with a cocktail focus and rooftop courtyard. There are 28 beer taps, pouring local craft brew favourites such as Bodriggy, plus Carlton Draught for lovers of classics, and cans of chocolatey Coco Husk Stout all the way from Duncan’s Brewing Co in New Zealand.
690-694 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, 03 8383 1025, mountalexanderhotel.com.au
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