Say cheers to the new breed of establishments turning water into wine (and beer and spirits, too!).
Creative spirits at The Craft & Co
Your first decision upon entering this huge warehouse space is where to start, since the restaurant and bar is also a brewery, distillery and coffee roaster. It also stocks a range of wine produced at its vineyard and cellar door, The Craft & Co Farm in Bangholme. It’s all based on collaboration between the distillers, brewers and winemakers, who decide what might suit the local market. There’s also a focus on sustainability. “Some of our breads and crackers are created with spent grain and wort derived from our brewery,” says Craft & Co’s Paul Baggio. Drop in for a Craft & Co Fizz (the in-house gin with soda, lemon, syrup and basil) or spend some time over a relaxed dinner.
390 Smith Street, Collingwood; (03) 9417 4755
Crush it at Noisy Ritual
The urban winery is a relatively new phenomenon, so it should come as no surprise that it first popped up in Melbourne’s inner north, the epicentre of hipster cool. Noisy Ritual has a group of members, who regularly convene to stomp grapes and bottle the rewards, but the converted bakery also opens as a bar and cellar door from Thursday to Sunday.
249 Lygon Street, Brunswick East; (03) 8394 2772
Pick a pint at Stomping Ground
In this expansive beer hall, a glass window displays stainless-steel tanks as they ferment the amber liquid that will soon fill many a pot and pint. Stomping Ground – so called because Collingwood was once the heart of Melbourne’s brewing scene – has 30 taps for your tasting pleasure. The Gipps St pale ale is a good place to start, but branch out to tap specials such as Piney Dancer (a pineapple IPA) or Bearbrass milk stout.
100 Gipps Street, Collingwood; (03) 9415 1944
Raise a glass at Temple Brewing Company
One of Temple Brewing Company’s most popular drops is Bicycle Beer, a lower-alcohol (4.2%) pale ale created for Brunswick locals who like to mix a pint with pedalling. You can find them sipping in the sunny beer garden out the front of Temple Brewing’s two-storey bunker. Inside, feel free to order a Powerstance pilsner or Rye Hard IPA while admiring the state-of-the-art kit.
122 Weston Street, Brunswick East; (03) 9380 8999
Whisky business at Starward Distillery
Within these four walls, barley becomes whisky and is served to an ever-growing number of small-batch spirit devotees. Starward moved its operation from a hangar at Essendon Airport to this warehouse in the bayside ’burbs that showcases the shiny equipment. Its specialty is whisky aged in red wine barrels, and you can taste distillery-only drams and house cocktails at the bar, open Friday to Sunday.
50 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne; (03) 9005 4420
All ale at Mountain Goat Beer
Top-notch pizzas, organic steam ale and a convivial atmosphere are all on offer when Mountain Goat, one of Melbourne’s original craft brewers, lifts its roller doors on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings. Of course, the brewery’s other drops, including some limited editions (Coconut Porter should be on tap all the time), are available, as are free brewery tours on Wednesday night.
80 North Street, Richmond; (03) 9428 1180
Women lead the way at Two Birds
Sisters are doing it for themselves and other beer-lovers at this local hotspot. Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen are the pair behind Two Birds Brewing, Australia’s first female-owned brewing company. They make extremely drinkable beers that are full of flavour, such as Sunset, an amber ale, and Taco, a hoppy ale that has notes of corn, coriander and lime zest. Relax at tasting room The Nest, from Thursday to Sunday.
136 Hall Street, Spotswood; (03) 9762 0000
Just out of town…
Tasting’s fine at TarraWarra Estate
Those who love a tipple of pinot noir or chardonnay should head east. TarraWarra’s cellar door, built into the hill, is connected to the barrel room and overlooks a block of pinot vines. Make a day of it with lunch at the restaurant, where the dishes are inspired by what’s growing in the kitchen garden, and a visit to the superb TarraWarra Museum of Art.
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen; (03) 5957 3510
Gin is in at Four Pillars
This homegrown gin is turning up in the best bars from New York to London, but you can go back to the source at Four Pillars’ distillery. For just $10 (refundable with the purchase of a full-sized bottle), enjoy a tasting of the fruits of distiller Cam Mackenzie’s labour, from the award-winning Rare Dry Gin to the cult favourite Bloody Shiraz Gin, while peering through the porthole windows at the copper stills.
2a Old Lilydale Road, Healesville; (03) 5962 2791
Find something to cellar at Shadowfax Wines
There’s something incredibly relaxing about sitting beneath an umbrella in the sunshine and swilling a glass of chilled rosé, knowing that the grapes it was made from were grown in nearby vineyards. Shadowfax grows mataro (mourvèdre), mondeuse, grenache, shiraz and carignan grapes, and handcrafts its different creations on site. The architecturally stunning cellar door is also home to a sophisticated restaurant, or you can order from the Picnic Rug menu to feast outside.
K Road, Werribee; (03) 9731 4420
Top image: Stomping Ground