So you know where to find a quality brew in the city, but what about when you head out of town? Catching up with friends, escaping the big smoke and exploring a new town are some of the reasons we travel, and all of those things can be done over a good-quality beer. Here’s where to find the best craft beer when you head out of Sydney for a daytrip, weekend or longer getaway.
The Grain Store
64–66 Scott Street, Newcastle East
The Grain Store is housed in a former grain and keg warehouse in Newcastle’s east end. It’s been refurbished but proudly showcases its former life, keeping the elevator shaft that was used to transport grain as a feature. The bar has 21 taps, with beer from brewers such as 4 Pines, Pirate Life and Bridge Road in a keg line-up that remains all-Australian. If you need to eat after all those hops, you can order from a menu including roasted pork knuckle and a selection of serious burgers.
(02) 4023 2707
Katoomba Brewing Company
15–47 Katoomba Street, Katoomba
Whether for sightseeing, hiking or strolling the strip at Leura, the Blue Mountains provide a great chance to rug up and escape the hustle of the city. The recent opening of Katoomba Brewing Company, housed in a former powerhouse in the grounds of the historic Carrington Hotel, has added craft beer to the area’s many attractions. Find the brewery’s first few beers on tap at the nearby Old City Bank Bar, a charming pub with a roaring fireplace, which also stocks beers such as James Squire.
(02) 4782 1111
His Boy Elroy
1 Globe Lane, Wollongong
Drives don’t get more scenic than Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Exit the M1 for Stanwell Park and you'll be on your way to Sea Cliff Bridge and the cliff-top route through Scarborough and Coledale. Keep motoring to Wollongong and you’ll find His Boy Elroy, a cosy bar with beer from the likes of Young Henrys, Riverside and Illawarra Brewing Company. Locals regard the bar’s hamburgers as the best in the region – try the southern fried chicken burger.
(02) 4244 8221
BentSpoke Brewing Co.
38 Mort St, Braddon, ACT
While Canberra might be stone-cold at this time of year, the city’s craft beer scene is heating up. BentSpoke Brewing Co. opened in 2014 in Braddon. The two-level brewpub offers around 20 house-made beers, from the out-there, such as a Belgian quadruple IPA, through to more sessionable lagers and pilsners. The food has some beer elements too: the hot wings are coated in malted brewer’s grain while the pastrami in the sandwich has been cured with beer.
(02) 6257 5220
Warners at the Bay
320 Hillsborough Rd, Warners Bay
The Lake Macquarie area makes an ideal spot for a weekend away, even in the cooler months. And after a long day sailing, paddleboarding or surfing, you’re going to be thirsty. This sprawling tavern offers craft beer (such as Akasha, James Squire and Feral Brewing), cheerful pub grub and live music. If you’ve rented a house for the weekend, the pub’s bottle shop is one of the best in the country, stocking more than 1000 different beers.
(02) 4956 6066
This article is part of Broadsheet’s Craft Beer Quarterly, produced in partnership with James Squire.