Concrete Playground's DIY Inner North Brewery Walking Tour
Five stops. Five breweries. All Melbourne-made beer.
It might seem like Melbourne's inner north has become overrun with breweries in recent years, but the beer-making traditions of Richmond, Abbotsford and Collingwood actually date back to the 1800s. But, it's safe to say, the beers have improved a lot, with innovative beer purveyors setting up shop in various ramshackle warehouses scattered over town.
Strap on your walking shoes and plunge into Melbourne's immense beer culture. Visiting these five brewhouses is a beer lover's adventure so good you won't be going back to the standard swill anytime soon.
FIRST, A FEW SIMPLE TIPS
Start early —It's easy to lose track of time in a house full of beer. To fit all of these in, you'll need to get to the first brewery early.
Go with a group — Sharing a beer with friends doesn't just spread the love for local craft brews but will also make the walking in-between go by far faster.
Take advantage of tasting paddles — The most bang-for-your-buck option, paddles allow you to taste the brewery's range without going overboard.
Schedule a brewery tour — There are few occasions in life when you get to see exactly where the product you're consuming is made. Take advantage of this moment.
Pace yourself — Don't be a hero, you have a whole day of drinking ahead of you. This isn't a pub crawl for rowdy uni kids all wearing the same t-shirt. The breweries are community hangouts where friends gather to chill and grab a beer, best to keep that in mind.
Eat, eat, eat — Drinking on an empty stomach leads to nothing but inevitable sadness; luckily, some of the breweries have food trucks parked outside or you can grab a bite to eat inside.
Now, let's get walking.
STARTING POINT: MOUNTAIN GOAT BREWERY & BAR
The original brewery.
The Mountain Goat Brewery is a fitting place to start this boozy walking tour as these guys have been around since 1997 — right back near the start of Australian craft beer. Emerging from Dave Bonighton and Cam Hines' backyard, it's now one of the industry's largest players and its dedication to the craft has stayed the same over the last 22 years. Featuring many old-favourite drops, the large-scale brick warehouse also has a novel selection on tap that you can only test out here. The North Street IPA is a fine choice with its fruity aroma and earthy hints, while the Fancy Pants Amber Ale makes for an easy-going drink — a good one to kick off the day's festivities.
80 North Street, Richmond. Open 5–10pm Wednesday, 5–11pm Friday, and 12–6pm Sunday.
SECOND STOP: MOON DOG CRAFT BREWERY (15 MIN WALK)
The casual brewery.
Moon Dog may have recently announced some brand spanking new digs to open in Preston later in 2019, but for now its home remains on Duke Street, Abbotsford. Sink into the thrift store couches and get comfortable because there are a lot of great drinks to sample. The brewery might take on a pretty lo-fi appearance, but don't mistake it for a small-time operation. Moon Dog is already pumping out millions of litres of beer each year with more soon to come. There are ten taps on offer, pouring classics like Old Mate and Love Tap plus some seriously flavourful single kegs. Meanwhile, there's always free popcorn and a van serving woodfired pizza out the front.
17 Duke Street, Abbotsford. Open 4–11pm Wednesday to Friday, 12–11pm Saturday, and 12–8pm Sunday.
THIRD STOP: STOMPING GROUND BREWING & BEER HALL (20 MIN WALK)
The next-big-thing brewery.
If Mountain Goat is responsible for helping launch craft brewing in Victoria, Stomping Ground is the crew pushing it forward. Having opened its massive Collingwood brewery and bar back in 2016, it's not uncommon to see the sprawling, 30-tap converted warehouse teeming every weekend. If the sun's shining, the beer garden is perfect with its semi-retractable roof, while there's a huge fireplace for those wintery Melbourne days. With so many beers on offer here, now is your chance to give a tasting paddle a try, with the Cicerone Selection ($26) featuring everything from tart goses to the smoky Hanging Rauch — a German-style smoked larger.
100 Gipps Street, Collingwood. Open 11.30am–late Sunday to Thursday and 11.30am–1am Friday and Saturday.
FOURTH STOP: THE MILL BREWERY (15 MIN WALK)
The relaxed brewery.
Leave behind the powerhouse that is Stomping Ground and get yourself to a more intimate space at The Mill Brewery. This formerly dilapidated mechanic's workshop is one of the local residents' favourite haunts thanks to its chilled out atmosphere. Founder Mirek Aldridge is still very much a part of the everyday activities here and is always keen for a chat. Find yourself a spot at the solid red gum tables and sip a Jack D-licious — a golden ale with a slightly floral flavour at a very reasonable 4.8 per cent ABV. If you can still find a way to focus, there's also table tennis to test your hand-eye coordination.
40 Sackville Street, Collingwood. Open 4–10pm Wednesday to Thursday, 4–11pm Friday, 1–11pm Saturday, and 1–9pm Sunday.
LAST STOP: FIXATION BREWING CO – THE INCUBATOR (5 MIN WALK)
The obsessed brewery.
If there's one thing that Fixation Brewing Co knows, it's IPA. That's because the entire brand is dedicated to making this specific type of beer as fresh and flavourful as possible. Fronted by experienced hop-head Tom Delmont, this place is Australia's only brewery bar that's dedicated to IPA so you can be sure that it delivers some serious quality. The namesake brew offers a hazy orange colour that comes loaded with fruity notes, while The Fix takes things up a notch with its punchy double IPA strength. Being the last stop on your potent brewery walking tour, let's hope you don't feel it too much tomorrow.
414 Smith Street, Collingwood. Open 4–10pm Wednesday to Thursday, 3–10pm Friday, 12–10pm Saturday, 1–7pm Sunday.
Want more inner north breweries? Pace these six out.
Top image: Stomping Ground
Published on April 25, 2019 by Hudson Brown