It seems like each time I leave Sydney and come back, another brewery has opened it’s doors and you can bet your lucky beer mug that it did so in the hip and happening inner west region of the city. There are now so many craft breweries in the inner west, you can literally walk between the majority of them and a 5-10 minute taxi or train ride will get you to the rest. Almost all of these breweries are less than 6 years old and I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more vibrant, exciting and contemporary craft brewing scene anywhere else in the country. The inner-west craft beer trail has become legendary and I highly suggest you take the time to visit this mecca for Australian craft beer.
If you like your beer hopped up and sour, your music psychedelic and drinking beer fresh from the tanks, then this is the place for you. A great set up tucked away in the craft beer barrel of Marrickville, The Grifter is a must for any beer lover in the area. It’s got attitude but at the same time it’s an incredibly friendly brew bar. I come here regularly just to drink their ‘Big Sur’ IPA as fresh as it gets.
Location: 1/391-397 Enmore rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: 02 9550 5742
Opening Times: Mon-Thurs 4pm-9pm / Fri-Sat 12pm-10pm / Sun 12pm-8pm
A beautiful new addition to an already blossoming craft beer region, Wildflower’s focus is on wild ale fermented using native yeast and bacteria foraged from flora around the state. While the base of Wildflower’s beer is crafted in one of the many breweries within a stones throw of their barrel room, it is here that the beer is inoculated with this wild-caught yeast and bacteria, then fermented the old way in wooden barrels. Drop in Friday or Saturday to sip on a tart n tasty barrel fermented ale with a backdrop of wooden barrels being fussed over by Wildflower’s master blenders.
Location: 11-13 Brompton Street, Marrickville, NSW 2204
Opening Times: Open Friday and Saturday 1pm-8pm
One of the newest additions to the inner-west craft beer fraternity, Sauce Brewing Co jumped in headfirst with a rather enormous brewery that flows out into a fantastic beer garden. The Sauce range has been an instant hit with local hop-heads brewing a quality array of hoppy brews ranging from Double IPAs to Pale Ales, hoppy new world Pilsners, IPAs and session IPAs, though the occasional stout and saison tend to creep into the line-up from time to time as well. Well worth a visit.
Location: 1a Mitchell st, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: 02 8580 3555
Opening Times: Mon 12pm-8pm / Tues-Wed Closed / Thurs 4pm-10pm / Fri-Sun 12pm-10pm
Run by two old pals Chris and Andrew, Batch Brewing is a friendly little craft brewery located on Sydnenham road in Marrickville. I love this place because almost every time I go, there will be something pouring that I have never tried before and they really do push the boundaries of brewing about as far as they go. I have sampled everything here from pale ales to cherry sours, farmhouse saison, milk stouts, Biere du Guarde, IPAs, IIPAs and even one beer called the ‘Marrickville pork roll’ that was brewed with pork broth, chilli and coriander… which was surprisingly delicious.
Drop in to fill up your growler or to sip on a jam jar filled with a delicious Batch Brew (The West Coast IPA will knock your socks off!).
Location: 44 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville 2204
Phone: 02 9550 5432
Opening Times: 10am-8pm, 7 days
Willie The Boatman is your no-frills, top quality, intimate and friendly local craft brewery. Naming their range after local characters and legends (including ‘The Albo’ after local federal member Anthony Albanese). This popular brewery has a big focus on community. Drop in for a beer and a yarn with the brewers and if you’re feeling a bit rambunctious you can always head next door to the Axe-throwing range to let off a bit of steam.
Location: 202/75 Mary St, St Peters NSW 2044
Phone: +61 413 514 026
Opening Times: Mon-Wed closed / Thurs 4pm-7pm / Fri 3pm-7pm / Sat-Sun 12pm-7pm
There is a lot happening in Alexandria at the moment and The Rocks Brewing Company is right in there amongst it all. The long list of fine beers produced here in the brewery don’t have to travel far to find your schooner glass (about 4 metres). Pair these with one of the delicious ‘Rocks’ burgers, wings or brisket sandwiches from the kitchen and you will reach a level of satisfaction you thought never existed.
Location: Building 2, 160 Bourke Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: 02 9669 3600
Opening Times: Sun-Tues 9am-10pm / Wed-Thurs 9am-11pm / Fri-Sat 9am-12am
While they have concreted themselves in as the champion local brewery for Newtown folk, Young Henrys have made waves that carry their influence in the beer world far and wide. The brewery itself is tucked away in a street art-adorned back alley in the fun and alternative inner west suburb of Newtown. A great place to kick back and drink beer fresh from the tanks amongst the super relaxed, party-loving Young Henrys crew. Expect beards, tattoos, fresh beer and good times.
Location: 76 Wilford St, Newtown NSW 2042
Phone: 02 9519 0048
Opening Times: 12pm-7pm, 7days
Adorned with vintage motorbikes and a mural proclaiming their brewery motto “Carpe Bierum”, Wayward is an incredibly cool brew bar that caters for all levels of beer geekery. Expect to find anything from hoppy pale ales to light, tart raspberry Berliner Weisse, smooth Oatmeal IPA and India Pale Lagers.
Location: 1 Gehrig Lane, Camperdown NSW 2050
Opening Times: Mon 4pm-9pm / Tues-Wed closed / Thurs-Fri 2pm-10pm / Sat 12pm-10pm / Sunday 12pm – 8pm
The inner-west of Sydney is also ground zero for one of the countries most wide-spread beer brands, the Lion-owned Malt Shovel Brewery and their famous James Squire range. While their brew bar is only open to the public for special events, it’s worth taking a peek when you can to see their beautiful copper kettles steaming away as they brew their classic range of beer. You might even bump into the brewery’s founder Chuck Hahn while you are there.
Location: 99 Pyrmont bridge rd, Camperdown 2050
Phone: 02 8594 0200
Opening Times: For special events only so call ahead to find out.
Staves is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall craft brewery. Walking through a generic back street in urban Glebe you’ll see a little barrel sitting on the pavement amongst the delivery trucks with “beer” written on the side and a little arrow pointing in. Inside there is a little bar, two tables, a tiny courtyard and a micro brewery churning out the good stuff. With their motto of “Proper Beer”, staves owner and head brewer Steve Drissell brings his English flair to Sydney in this intimate little brewpub.
Location: 4-8 Grose St, Glebe NSW 2037
Phone: 02 9280 4555
Opening Times: Mon-Wed closed / Thurs-Fr 4pm-12am / Sat 12pm-12am / Sun 12pm-10pm
A little ride further west will take you to the extremely successful Akasha Brewery in Five Dock. Having burst forth onto the Aussie beer scene in 2015, Akasha’s hop-forward beers have been making a big impression on craft beer lovers around the country. Their cozy brew bar pours up to 12 beers and ciders in the shadows of the ever-expanding Akasha brewery. Here you can taste their flagship range as well as any seasonal and one-off batches their creative group of brewers might have conjured up recently.
Location: 10-12 Spencer St, Five Dock NSW 2046
Phone: 02 9715 7156
Opening Times: Fri 2pm-8pm / Sat 12pm-8pm / Sun 12pm-6pm / Mon-Thurs closed