Review: Explore the city’s craft beer scene on a Melbourne brewery tour
Melbourne's craft brewing scene is flourishing, and this tour will take you on an evening quest in search of the city's perfect craft beer. The tour includes visits to three boutique brewhouses and a gourmet burger supper.
This small group Melbourne brewery tour will introduce you to some of the best inner-city breweries and craft beer venues. You’ll get to try chocolate, vanilla, coffee, toffee and bacon flavoured beer, refreshing summer ales, crisp sessionable lagers, fruit-infused barrel aged ales, and experimental single batch brews. The evening ends with a gourmet burger supper. Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
I honestly thought that I couldn’t love beer any more than I already did.
However, after joining Aussie Brewery Tours on their new-look boutique Melbourne brewery tour, I now understand and appreciate the thought processes and labour involved in the creation of every magical drop.
Craft beer has become a hot topic for dinner conversation of late, with boutique breweries popping up all over Melbourne — each with its own subtle ingredients and curious methods for creating something truly unique. These Melbourne brewery tours provide an amazing introduction to this world of micro brewing, and are a step beyond your typical pub crawl — allowing you to sample as many beers as you like while actually learning something along the way.
Federation Square is the start and end point for this Melbourne brewery tour. It’s a central location for both visitors and residents of Melbourne that makes getting home on public transport a breeze if you overdo it on the taste testing. There’s a very short safety spiel from our tour guide Scott to kick things off (which could easily be summarised as ‘drink as much as you want, just don’t be an idiot’) and we’re off at 5:50pm on the dot.
Scott is a fantastic guide. He knows as much about the city of Melbourne as he does about beer, which is an awful lot. Regardless of the traffic, the drives between breweries seem to fly by as he takes you through the history of beer in Australia and how it has influenced everything from politics to the Collingwood Football Club.
The first leg of the tour takes us over the Westgate Bridge to Two Birds Brewing in Spotswood, aptly named after the two founders Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen. Their approach to beer making is simple: produce products that are flavoursome and interesting to drink, but always remain balanced and clean. And that’s exactly what they deliver.
After a quick run-through of their brewing process, delivered with much enthusiasm by Jayne’s husband Louis, we are treated to generous samples of six different brews including their four signature batches: Golden Ale, Sunset Ale, Bantam IPA and my personal favourite for the night — Taco Beer.
We’re also lucky enough to get a small nip of their current experimental recipes, the Hop Harvest and something called Rhubarb Saison, which was conceptualised as part of an Iron Chef-style challenge during Good Beer Week. Each batch is flavoured with over 100 kilograms of crushed rhubarb and the sweet taste is surprisingly good.
Apart from taking the edge off Melbourne’s winter weather, our first round of drinks also helps the group bond over discussion of what they do and don’t like. The best thing about a tour like this is that everyone on the bus is equally enthusiastic about their beer, and it doesn’t take long for us all to feel comfortable and start sharing some laughs.
The next stop on this Melbourne brewery tour is the Temple Brewing Company at the top of Lygon Street in Brunswick East. On arrival we each receive a large tasting board of six of their finest brews. Starting with the famous Bicycle Beer, we slowly work our way through an IPA, stout, rye beer, pilsner and finally the Hazy Dayz hefeweizen.
If that isn’t enough, we’re also treated to some limited batches, including a thick New World Order stout, a Belgian-style wheat beer with lemon verbena and pink peppercorn, and a special Old Ivanhoe Centenary Golden Ale, which was crafted exclusively for the Ivanhoe Grammar alumni.
Our third and final stop is the Moon Dog Craft Brewery in Abbotsford (right next door to the massive Carlton & United Brewing facility), and it’s an absolute highlight of this tour. Tucked away in a small industrial alley, Moon Dog is a beer-lovers’ paradise — complete with footy on a large screen, recycled kegs used for decoration, and comfy second-hand couches.
A gourmet burger supper is included in the cost of the tour, which is the perfect fuel for drinking more beer. We’re given a choice of chicken, beef or vego.
The group is also presented with ten full jugs of glorious amber nectar, each containing one of the weird and wonderful flavours Moon Dog has become famous for. The current batches on tap include a 12% Bulgarian-American India Brown, something called Spotted Dick that tasted like caramel ice-cream, an Imperial Redskin Stout (named after the candy that gives it flavour) and Black Lung V, which honestly tastes like liquid cigarettes (in a good way).
You don’t have to be a connoisseur of the coldie to enjoy this Melbourne brewery tour. You just need to appreciate good beer. Whether you live in Melbourne or you’re just visiting, there’s no better way to explore the city by night and seek out some of our hidden brewing gems.
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and much of North America. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.