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FOOD & DRINK

NSW Breweries Worthy of a Weekend Road Trip

Try freshly brewed dragon fruit beer on the coast, milkshake IPAs in Wollongong and malty lagers in Newcastle.
By Anastasia Prikhodko
May 01, 2019
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NSW Breweries Worthy of a Weekend Road Trip

Try freshly brewed dragon fruit beer on the coast, milkshake IPAs in Wollongong and malty lagers in Newcastle.
By Anastasia Prikhodko
May 01, 2019
  shares

NSW BREWERIES WORTHY OF A WEEKEND ROAD TRIP

Try freshly brewed dragon fruit beer on the coast, milkshake IPAs in Wollongong and malty lagers in Newcastle.

While Sydney has no shortage of breweries — the inner west alone is brimming with them — a road trip to an out-of-town brewery offers something else. They offer beer enthusiasts what cellar doors have been providing wine connoisseurs for decades: a personalised experience with a bit of education, too.

Located just one-to-three hour's drive from the city, these spots let you learn, taste and experience some smaller breweries producing some big-tasting beers. So, jump in the car and head on a road trip that'll land you with a fresh beer in hand. Here are the NSW breweries worth road tripping for.

  • 7

    One of the newcomers on the Central Coast scene, Bay Rd Brewery was founded after a few friends got together, drank some craft beers and decided to turn their passion into a reality. Located in the centre of Gosford, the brewery serves up beer “straight down the line” — meaning there are no preservatives. A few options on tap include the Banana Bay wheat, Motor Boat pale ale, Bay Rd lager, a dragon fruit-infused Summertime saison and the Tropical Rum porter. There’s also a food truck located in the parking lot, which rotates often, offering everything from satay chicken to oysters and burgers. Bay Rd has also launched its Brew Academy Class, where beer enthusiasts can learn about how its brews are made. It runs on the first Saturday of each month and tickets can be purchased here.

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  • 6

    Located in an industrial complex, Six String Brewery came from Owner and Head Brewer Chris Benson’s desire to open a brewery that “Coasties could call their own”. And call their own they did, with the brewery now a favourite spot for locals and visitors to enjoy a refreshingly cold beer paired with Donnie Eats burgers.

    The brewery’s most popular option is the Coastie lager, an easy drinking lager, along with the pale ale and the TPA (tropical pale ale). Six String also offers a Double Dark Red IPA, for those who like their beers a little heavier, and a Peter Clarke Sour November for those keen on a little funk.

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  • 5

    A two-and-a-half hour drive from Sydney is Murray’s Brewing Co, a small brewery that’s been making top-notch and interesting craft beers since 2006. The team serves up to ten different beers on tap at any one time, plus bottled specials. And, along with the beer, visitors can taste local wines, enjoy cheeseburger spring rolls, sticky pork ribs or haloumi burgers from the Brewery Restaurant, play a game of bocce and listen to live entertainment. Those keen to learn more about craft beer can take a tour, which run daily at 2.15pm. For beer novices, Murray recommends the Angry Man pale ale, Whale Ale wheat beer and refreshing East Coast lager, and those feeling riskier can give the Spartacus Imperial IPA, Wild Thing stout, Coco Hops coconut porter or Pucker Up sour ale a whirl. If you head in around October, you may by lucky enough to try the limited-edition, oft-requested Pumpkin Ale, made with 50-kilograms of roast pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

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  • 4

    The family owned Five Barrel Brewing has been serving thirsty South Coast folk since 2015. With its philosophy of “keeping it simple and doing it right”, the brewery has quickly become an important part of the local community. Five Barrel features a taproom with eight craft beers, all produced on site, which usually includes four core beers and four rotating seasonal and limited-release beers. On the lineup, you’ll find the likes of milk stouts, golden ales and hoppy ambers, as well as a super-refreshing brut rosé IPA, which is brewed with hibiscus flowers and floral hops. Pop into the taproom for a tasting, down a burger or two with a happy hour schooner ($5 from 5–6pm on Friday and Saturday) or enjoy an impromptu tour of the brewery. If you can’t make it into the brewery itself, but you’re keen to try its brews, head on over to the website to order yourself a 750ml bottle of barrel-aged cherry sour or a case of New England IPA. Some of the limited-edition brews — such as its milkshake IPA — sell out super quick, though, so you’ll need to get in fast.

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  • 3

    Located in a restored factory, FogHorn was born out of a desire to bring good beer, American-inspired food and eclectic music to Newcastle. Since then, the venue has thrived, and is now a buzzing restaurant, live music venue and brewery. What is said to be Newcastle’s first craft brewery, FogHorn Brewhouse features four 1800-litre-serving tanks and hosts regular entertaining and educational brewery tours for $5 at 2pm every Saturday and Sunday. It has a whopping 16 beers on tap, which currently includes the Severus (named after that professor), an American brown ale with a dark caramel malt flavour, the sessionable Boganaire IPA and the Rejuvenator — a rich and malty German-style lager. Its food menu is equally extensive, with large New York-style slices of pepperoni pizza, chilli cheese-loaded fried, buffalo hot wings (with blue cheese sauce, of course), philly cheesesteaks and banoffee pie.

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  • 2

    Wollongong’s independently owned and operated microbrewery, Illawarra Brewing Company, offers visitors, locals and beer enthusiasts a chance to get involved in the making (and drinking) of craft beer. The brewery is open for tours as well as tastings, which are done at the bar that overlooks the beer making machinery. The warehouse opens up on sunny days, and on Saturday there is usually a burger truck, too. Of course, you can also pick up a six-pack or get your growler filled to takeaway. Along with serving bold IPAs and barrel-aged sour beers, the brewery also has a range of core beers on offer, including its summer ale, rust amber ale, IPA and pilsner.

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  • 1
    Hope Estate

    Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley, Hope Brewhouse is all about four things: beer, wine, food and music. The 420-hectare property is home to a winery, restaurant and one of the state’s biggest outdoor stages. The venue has hosted the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, as well as events like Wine Machine, the Grapest 5k run and the upcoming Elton John gig. But it’s still worth coming here on any regular weekend. You’ll also find large tables and benches resembling a German beer hall and, outside, the patio serves up views of green hills, gum trees and vineyards — making it one of New South Wales’ most picturesque breweries. It’s the perfect place to work through Hope’s listing of interesting brews, like the ‘choc milk’ porter (infused with milk sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract), the super juicy New England-style IPA and the rice and sorghum gluten-free pilsner. The kitchen operates all day, too, with a menu of pizza, burgers, cheese plates and bar snacks available. Hope Estate’s 18 wines are of course also on offer. So you’ll have plenty to work your way through — we just suggest you get a designated driver.

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Top image: Bay Rd Brewing.

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