The round-up: blow the froth off a few at the Gold Coast’s top craft-beer breweries
Once upon a time, the only acceptable answer when asked if you would like a beer was ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you answered yes, you could bet your bottom dollar you were about to be handed a XXXX, after all, it was Queensland’s beer. While we’re all for a cheeky mango tin from time to time, these days things are not quite as straight forward – and the very same question is met with a plethora of follow-up questions such as what kind of beer would you like? A session beer? Something heavier? Fruitier? Hoppier? When it comes to craft brews, we truly are spoilt for choice with plenty of top-tier bars and boozers dotted along the coastline – but there’s something inherently special about sipping it from the source. If you’re keen to embark on a pilgrimage for locally made craft beer, this list of the best Gold Coast breweries will set you on the right course.
Burleigh Brewing Co., Burleigh Heads
If you’re talking craft beer on the Gold Coast, one of our most loved and pioneer breweries is Burleigh Brewing. Pull up a stool at the taphouse on Ern Harley Drive and begin your boozy quest with its famous 28 Pale Ale, which was named after the rare 28-day swell that pounded the coast in 1975 or the cheekily named My Wife’s Bitter, which is actually a dedication of love from owners Brennan to Peta. Alongside all of the Burleigh Brewing Co. favourites you know and love, the Brewhouse Bar also offers some 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 (guided by the venue’s own brewmaster, Brennan) while enjoying a cold one with the crew that created them. The Backstage with the Brewmaster tours are typically held once a month.
Black Hops Brewery, Burleigh Heads
After sinking a couple of pints at the pub, 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) bevs, the gents actually followed through and the maiden batch of eggnog stout was created the very next weekend. When the pilot brew turned out better than expected, 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 their shiny new Black Hops headquarters in Burleigh Heads. The core range has grown significantly over the years and there’s always something fun on rotation at the tasting room. The taproom is open Wednesday to Sunday and for the serious beer lovers, there’s a behind-the-scenes brewery tour.
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. In these weird COVID times, the taproom is open Friday through to Sunday. Bookings are not required but preferred, you can do that here.
Black Hops II, Biggera Waters
Spurred by their southern success and a record-breaking equity crowdfunding campaign which raised more than $400,000 in just six days, 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 12:00–7:00 pm Wednesday to Saturday and 12:00–6:00 pm Sundays. Peckish? The food trucks roll in on Friday afternoon, Saturday afternoon through to evening and Sunday throughout the day.
Red Earth Brewery, Cudgen
Set against the shade of avocado trees amid the rolling hills of Cudgen (inland from Kingscliff) lies Northern Rivers’ newest beer haven, Red Earth Brewery. The recycled doors to the new farmhouse-style community brewery swung open late in 2019, unveiling its debut selection of four beers to a batch of thirsty locals. The selection of suds has expanded since opening and there is often a rotating selection of food trucks on hand to quell your cravings. Red Earth’s taproom is currently open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am 8:00 pm and thanks to the border bubble currently in place, Queenslanders are able to get there and back. Take a peek at Red Earth’s Instagram for a glimpse of the goods.
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. Can’t get through them all in a day? Fret not friend, you can grab a growler to-go. Oh and did we mention it was attached to a cheese-making factory? Two of our favourite things under one roof!
Stone & Wood, Byron Bay and Brisbane
Okay so thanks to the border closures as a result of COVID-19, in-person trips to Stone & Wood’s Byron Bay brewery may need to be put on ice until things settle down but it would be remiss of us not to include them in this list for obvious reasons. Stone & Wood is undoubtedly one of the leading names of Australia’s new wave of boutique booze. Fitted with 31 brewing tanks, a canteen serving up delicious bites from a menu curated by the team at 100 Mile Table, a tasting room and plenty of communal seating areas, the colossal purpose-built brewery is truly a sight to behold. In true Stone & Wood style, the family-friendly Byron Bay brewery is dedicated to beer education, with tours operating three times a day. Visitors are invited stroll in to sip and taste the core range of beers, a rotating series of experimental pilot-batch beers, as well as limited-edition brewery-only creations. Got a hankering that simply cannot wait? Good news, Stone & Wood’s Fortitude Valley brewery and taproom is open for a spot of day drinking and beer appreciation. The brewery houses a small brewing operation, consisting of an eight-hectolitre brewhouse, five fermenters and three serving tanks. This gear is used to produce and pour a range of small-batch beers exclusively for the Brisbane venue through the tap room’s 24 taps, as well as Stone & Wood’s core range and some rare drops for its pilot brewery. The building also houses areas for beer training (or ‘beerification’), masterclasses, a private function area for 100 people, merch displays and an on-site canteen.
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 – it’s a beer lovers happy place. There’s an on-site tasting room and plenty of places to park your keister to enjoy a beverage or two. There is also a rotating roster of food trucks rolling in to serve the weekend crowds.
Still keen for more? We love to see it! Pickled Pig Brewery is an eco-friendly craft beer manufacturer located in Tweed Heads, a must-try if you’ve been seeking pure, gluten, chemical and preservative-free beer in a range of flavours. Aardvark and Arrow is a Gold Coast-based microbrewery that is known for producing chemical and preservative-free beer.
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