Burleigh Brewing, Burleigh Heads
As one of the pioneer craft breweries on the Gold Coast, it seems only fitting to start your boozy quest at Burleigh Brewing. Pull up a stool at the taphouse on Ern Harley Drive and make your way through its core selection, or if you’re in the mood for something a little more experimental, the Taphouse Exclusive selection is an excellent place to start. This is where you’ll find all of the boutique and one-off creations straight from the mad scientist’s laboratory. If you’re keen to get a peek at where the magic happens, the Backstage with the Brewmaster is a small-group experience that gives ticket holders a glimpse into the brewing process while enjoying a cold one with the crew that created them.
Black Hops Brewery, Burleigh Heads
After sinking a couple of pints, mates Eddie Oldfield, Dan Norris and Michael (Govs) McGovern flirted with the wild idea of creating an eggnog stout. Unlike the vast majority of ideas conceived over a few (too many) bevvies, the gents actually followed through and the maiden batch of eggnog stout was created the very next weekend. The pilot brew turned out better than expected and the trio joined forces and decided to see where it would take them. Fast forward a couple of years, a successful crowd-funding campaign and a few hundred beers later, the mates opened the doors to Black Hops Brewery in Burleigh Heads. The core range has grown significantly over the years and there’s always something fun on rotation at the tasting room. Black Hops has become a stalwart on the scene and is a must-visit on your pilgrimage.
AWOL, Burleigh Heads
Since you’ll be in the area anyway, it would be remiss not to head around the corner to visit AWOL – the Gold Coast’s first dedicated barrel-aged beer taproom. The latest project from the Black Hops crew, AWOL is dedicated to making barrel-aged beer, which, for the uninitiated, is a return to an ancient brewing technique whereby fermented beers are transferred to oak barrels that have previously housed wine or spirits. The barrel is then left for a period of time – it could be three months, it could be three years – who knows? But that’s part of the fun! No two barrels will ever taste the same because the beer absorbs the flavours, living cultures and aromas of the oak, adding a delicious new dimension to your brew. AWOL is currently open Friday 2:00–7:00 pm and weekends from 2:00–6:00 pm, the crew also run monthly pre-paid tours which you can book here.
Lost Palms Brewing Co., Miami
What’s big, bubbly and millennial pink? It’s Lost Palms, baby! The bold (and beautiful) boutique brewery is here to inject sessionable beers, a fun vibe and a helluva lot of pink into the region’s craft-brewing circle. There’s a tap house at the front of the brewery with bench seating and an indoor-outdoor bar area, providing the perfect setting for whiling away an afternoon with a beer in hand. To ensure patrons are well nourished, the kitchen churns out some excellent beer-drinking food including burgers, wings and fries and if you time it right, there may even be a food truck on hand. The taproom is open Thursday through to Sunday. Bookings are not required but preferred, you can do that here.
Precinct Brewing Co. Miami
If you’re yet to check out Precinct, skyrocket this one to the top of your must-try list. The brewpub is the latest venture from hospitality legend Scott Imlach (who you may remember from venues such as Hideaway Kitchen & Bar, Bine Bar & Dining, Mr Hilzola’s, Nightjar and Nightcap) alongside Michael Craighead, Simone Tunbridge, Tom Welch and head brewer Jeremy James. As soon as you step foot through the doors you’ll be greeted by a sleek industrial fit-out with greenery cascading down from the exposed rafters, festoon lighting, polished concrete floors and some seriously impressive brewing equipment to eyeball. Long tables (complete with refurbished old church pews) line the middle of the space providing the perfect setting for those who feel like confessing their sins after a few tins.
BOBs Beer, Surfers Paradise
With a name like BOB, which is an acronym for Best Of Beers, you know these guys mean business. Perched on the corner of Elkhorn Avenue in Surfers Paradise, the restaurant and micro-brewery opened in February 2021 and has earned a loyal following of sippers. The brewery operations are overseen by Ryan Fullerton, who previously brewed for Red Duck Brewery in Alfredton, and offers four core beers alongside a number of seasonal and limited releases that pay homage to the Gold Coast. Those who fancy a bite with their beer are in luck because BOBs is not your regular pub grub. The menu offers a worldly selection of sophisticated bites to accompany your brew.
Black Hops II, Biggera Waters
Spurred by their southern success, the Black Hops gents decided to give northern beer lovers a little taste of the goods and opened Black Hops II in March 2019. The state-of-the-art full-scale production facility and taproom is mammoth in comparison to its Burleigh HQ and features a 150-sqm taproom where locals can drop in for a beer and grab takeaways. The neighbouring production facility is also available to explore via pre-booked brewery tours. You’ll find the taproom at 671 Pine Ridge Road, Biggera Waters, open for sipping from Wednesday to Sundays. Peckish? The food trucks roll in every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Fortitude Brewing Co, Mount Tamborine
As one of the Gold Coast’s original craft beer pioneers, Fortitude Brewing Co in the Gold Coast hinterland knows a thing or two about really good beer. The operation has earned acclaim thanks to its golden ales and IPA’s under its raucous Noisy Minor moniker and every weekend attracts beer lovers from all over for a spot of (responsible) day drinking. Fortitude’s Brewery boasts 15 taps, featuring an eclectic collection of beers that are all brewed on-site. Oh, and did we mention it was attached to a cheese-making factory? Two of our favourite things under one roof!
Balter Brewing Company, Currumbin
Nestled in the backstreets of Currumbin, Balter is the beer brand started by mates Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Stirling Howland, Sean Ronan, Josh Kerr, Bede Durbidge and Ant MacDonald. In 2019, the company was acquired by Carlton & United Breweries however the spirit of the beer remains the same. By definition, balter means ‘to dance artlessly without particular skill or grace, but usually with enjoyment’, which is pretty much what happens when you step foot into the 750-sqm industrial warehouse. There’s an on-site tasting room and plenty of places to park your keister to enjoy a bevvie and a bite from the rotating roster of food trucks.
Aardvark & Arrow Brewery, Varsity Lakes
If you’re really keen to go grassroots with your craft beer journey, make a pit-stop at Aardvark and Arrow in Varsity Lakes. The small-batch microbrewery produces chemical- and preservative-free beer and cider that you can taste in-person at its Friday arvo tastings, which are held between 4:00–7:00 pm. Bookings are essential and you can do so here. At-home brewers can also pick up some tips, tricks and techniques as the friendly team are only too happy to help.
Straddie Brewing Co., Stradbroke Island
Okay, so this one is a little presumptuous of us because it’s not actually open yet but keep your peepers peeled for Straddie Brewing Co.’s three-storey brewhouse and taproom, which is expected to open spring 2022. The brewery will be situated in the beautiful township of Dunwich (Gumpi), the gateway to North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah). Those who are keen to get acquainted with Straddie Brewing Co.’s island-crafted beer can get a taste at Supercellars at Treetops Tavern. Suffice to say, we’re excited.
South of the border
Thanks to the current COVID-related border closures, in-person trips south are temporarily on hold. When they do open, however, you can bet we’ll be champing at the bit to visit Earth Beer Company in Cudgen (formerly Red Earth Brewery), Pickled Pig Brewery in Tweed Heads, Wandana Brewing Co. in Mullumbimby and, of course, Stone & Wood Brewing Co in Byron Bay.