Best Breweries in Sydney

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Independent breweries are opening at a rapid clip all around Australia, but Sydney’s inner west – Marrickville in particular – has well and truly established itself as the beer capital of New South Wales. Add in a booming northern beaches scene concentrated in Brookvale, and it’s clear just how good we have it in this city.

Of course, beer is poured at every pub, but there's something special about drinking it right where it was made. Apart from the fact that breweries serve it fresher, you'll often get the chance to try new and limited releases other venues don’t offer. And gone are the days of a food truck in every car park – bistro fare, restaurant-quality woodfired pizza and Australian-Chinese cuisine are all possibilities now. .

Related pages:
Best Distilleries in Sydney
Best Wine Bars in Sydney

  • Until Wildflower came along, Tasmania’s Two Metre Tall was the only Australian brewery making a decent go of wild-fermented beers (i.e. those made sans lab-grown yeasts and tank sterilisation). Texan expat Topher Boehm roams around NSW collecting wild yeasts and bacteria to ferment different batches of beer, which are then blended to achieve the desired flavour profile. This isn’t a gimmick: Boehm’s beers are some of the most complex, balanced and drinkable we’ve yet encountered.

  • The trio behind The Grifter knows its local constituency well. This big, relaxed warehouse site (formerly an industrial dry-cleaners) has a laid-back pub feel, along with a pool table and a range of sessionable beers anyone can enjoy. If it’s not the classic Grifter pale ale, it has to be the summery Serpent’s Kiss, a crisp and classic pilsner infused with cold-pressed watermelon juice. Seasonal styles range from a creamy oatmeal stout to a pink lemonade-inspired sour.

  • This historic sandstone pub opened in 1841, but it didn’t start brewing beer till the current owners took charge in 1986. That puts it at ground zero of the craft beer movement – not that you’d really call this a crafty sort of place. The range leans toward classic English beers rather than no-rules, new-world creations. There’s a very good chance you’ve seen Lord Nelson’s Three Sheets pale ale around town, and there’s no better place to try it than at the source.

  • This south-east Sydney brewery’s name and ethos is, surprisingly, inspired by a core tenet of reggae music: the signature “one drop” beat. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or not is beside the point. If you’re partial to experimental styles (think triple-hazy IPAs, imperial sours, and left-field collaborations), pull up a table inside the spacious taproom, or nab a spot in the cosy beer garden out back. This one's for you.

  • The celebrated Katoomba brewery’s western Sydney production site doubles as brewpub, pouring up to 20 different styles including the brand’s ever-popular hazy beers. Throw in some woodfired pizza, and you’ve got an excellent alternative to the beloved Blue Mountains venue.

  • The brand’s nostalgic HQ is a celebration of ’80s-era Australiana in industrial Marrickville. Come for the beer, prawn toast and deep-fried Viennetta at the Chinese bistro, the Lucky Prawn. Stay for a free knock-around in the pool room, which doubles as a loving tribute to late co-founder and former PM, Bob Hawke.

  • Philter was founded in a Marrickville backyard in 2017, and following two years of nomad-brewing and forever-home searching, it returned to the neighbourhood. And there's no better place to enjoy Philter's award-winning XPA, or something more experimental, if you're game. You can also sip a fruited beer slushie at Marrickville Springs, Philter's pastel-hued rooftop bar upstairs.

  • Newtown residents are fiercely loyal to this rock-and-roll-loving brewery, which has been serving the people from its low-key warehouse digs since 2012. It’s gone from strength to strength, adding a gin distillery to the equation and brewing collaborative beers with big-name bands including Dune Rats and Foo Fighters. If you’ve never tried a Newtowner pale ale, we’d be surprised. It’s Sydney in a schooner.

  • “Beer with personality” is the tagline at this offshoot of the Surry Hills restaurant of the same name. And it’s true. Where else can you get a Mandarin IPA, Japanese rice lager or blueberry steam ale? The food here is no afterthought – it’s influenced by the backgrounds of the Yulli’s crew (Vietnamese, Korean and Greek) with sprinkles of native ingredients such as bunya nut and lemon myrtle.

  • One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk into Slow Lane’s warehouse digs is a wall lined with oak wine barrels. That’s because this south Sydney brewery is doing things the old-fashioned way, eschewing modern brewing methods in favour of slow-fermentation and barrel-aging methods to produce complex, flavourful beers inspired by old-world Europe.

  • Combining stylish design and an experimental approach to brewing, this tiny operation by a husband-and-wife team is doing it like nowhere else in Marrickville. Track down their breezy taproom for 10 limited release beers, with options changing monthly.

  • Wayward is one of the inner west’s original craft breweries, and still one of the best. Hidden down a low-key alley, it’s a moody little bunker pouring an ever-changing list of beers and seltzers from 24 taps. If you’re after something accessible, the core range has you covered. Something left-field? Try a mango sour ale or something from the barrel-aging program. Most of the range is gluten-reduced.

  • Before husband and wife Grant and Jaz Wearin got brewing, they spent six months road tripping around the United States in the name of research. Their MO back home isn’t radical, but involves a level of quality control other breweries don’t always adhere to. Hence, the brewery’s session IPA, lager and Aussie pale ale are consistently excellent.

  • Leonardo di Vincenzo, the founder of notable Italian brewery Birra del Borgo, is one half of this distinctive operation. He and fellow expat Brooks Caretta frequently make use of native ingredients in their beers. Their Freshie Salt N’ Pepper, for example, was one of Australia’s first examples of Gose, a slightly salty German style. It’s made with native pepperberries and water from Freshwater Beach.

  • Parts of the beer community were dismayed when the world’s largest brewing company, AB InBev, acquired 4 Pines at the end of 2017. But nothing much has changed since then. The team continues to produce a superb core range (we like the slightly malty pale ale) and genuinely interesting seasonals and one-offs. As the name implies, the brand’s HQ is better established than most, with a true pub feel.

  • This Kirrawee hotspot is one of Sydney’s most handsome breweries. Head in for an award-winning range of crowd-pleasing beers, plus bar snacks, community events and live music.

  • This glowing northern beaches brewery was originally meant to open in the rugged NSW bushland it’s named after. Though it ended up in the northern beaches, the owners have imbued some laid-back country energy to the place, plus a range of easy-drinking styles you won’t find in a Brookvale bottle shop. Come for those, and a pub-style menu of burgers and rice bowls.

  • Atomic is the east coast debut from WA brewery giant, Gage Roads. Set within a vast mid-century warehouse, it’s pouring drink-now styles that occasionally veer into experimental territory. What really sets this place apart is a fiery open kitchen serving punchy Asian-inspired fare that goes great with an ice-cold beer.

  • Sauce has made a name for itself since opening up this cavernous brewery and beer garden in mid-2017. Its easy drinking pale, Hop Sauce, is popular with just about everyone. Meanwhile, beer geeks recognise Bubble and Squeak as one of Australia’s best entries in the New England IPA category.

  • The prime minister is a big fan of Willie The Boatman. And the owners are big fans of him – Pat McInerney and Nick Newey dubbed their pale after their most famous customer; a man who’d been drinking at this homey inner west tap room long before he was leading the country. Willie is just 10 minutes' walk from Sydenham station, which is handy if you're planning on staying a while and getting across the range.

  • The name Batch isn't arbitrary. The brewery’s two big sellers are an American pale ale and a sour number made with passionfruit and dragonfruit, but the range changes endlessly. And there’s no telling what the crew will do next. Past highlights include a raspberry and pistachio wheat ale, and a beer inspired by the pork rolls at a Sydney-famous banh mi shop nearby. For more experimental styles, head to Small Batch in Petersham, or Batch’s tiny brewbar in Darling Square.

  • Akasha takes takes a hoppy American approach to beer brewing. It’s where you’ll find a range of fruit and pine driven IPAs, big hazy numbers, and a solid rotation of seasonal styles for good measure. Hit the energetic warehouse taproom and start with a Canada Bay XPA – it’s nothing short of exemplary, and goes down dangerously well with a burger or pizza from the weekly food truck.

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  • Set in an industrial park, this rustic little taproom is full of vintage touches and community spirit. Small-batch beers are a specialty here, and the kolsch and Red Rye IPA are both crowd favourites. If you’re settling in with a tasting flight, grab some pizza or a grazing board and make for the outdoor tables when it’s sunny.

  • As the name suggests, this place combines a French bistro and a brewery to create something unlike anything else in Sydney. On the brewery side, it’s turning out traditional French beer styles such as saison and bier de garde. And in the restaurant, it’s all about house-made charcuterie, terrines and modern takes on French bistro classics.

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  • This family-focused brewery in Brookvale’s industrial area is a shrine to lager, but you’ll also find plenty of hop-heavy brews and fun seasonal styles. If you’re chasing a feed, you’re well catered for here – Italian neighbour Sale Pepe supply a range of woodfired pizzas and house-made pastas.

  • Belgian blondes, Czech pilsners and rare European spirits: this small, family-run brewery is one of the few places in Sydney you can try them fresh from the source. Curb the effects with pizzas and grazing boards in the bright, spacious tap room.

  • English expat Steve Drissell designed his timber-heavy bar to look a bit like those from his homeland, but his output is a lot wider – from sours and saisons and Belgian-style blond ales.

  • A family-run brewery dedicated to easy-drinking local beer. Pop into the laid-back taproom in Brookvale’s industrial heart for sessionable lagers, inventive modern ales and native Aussie spirits distilled on-site. Also, a cult-favourite burger from Dad & Dave’s bustling little food truck out front.

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  • Visit this low-key warehouse for a who’s who of indie craft beer, 50-plus natural wines and plenty of whisky. To eat, it’s drinking food’s greatest hits: kimchi dumplings, buffalo chicken wings and pizza.

  • A brewery and bar in a former Newtown furniture store from one of Australia's pioneering craft brewers. Sit in the sunny beer garden and sip on cult brews such as the Organic Steam Ale and Pale Ale, plus a selection of exclusive beers you can only find here.

  • At this low-key brewery by a father-son team, you'll never drink the same beer twice. Find new-world riffs on classic styles pouring in a cosy taproom lined with tanks and planted with greenery.

  • It's “relaxed backyard meets beachside bliss” vibes at this pastel-splashed taproom. Sip your way through easy-drinking brews, then dig into a fish finger sandwich or a ploughman’s board. For the non-beer-drinkers there’s an interesting wine list and spritzes on tap.

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  • The north shore’s first brewpub is a handsome spot to sink a few. It's pouring 12 beers by a German master brewer, including the hoppy Glades Pale and a standout lager poured straight from the tank.