Melbournites (and those without cars) rejoice, there are countless small-scale establishments right here in the CBD and inner-city suburbs. These hidden gems celebrate all things Melbourne, while of course crafting the highest quality drops. So save on fuel, keep it local and raise a glass to your next favourite watering hole.
Urban wineries are few and far between, but like most rarities, when you find one it’s pure magic. Brunswick East’s Noisy Ritual is no exception. In an unassuming building on Lygon Street you’ll find a haven for lovers of wine, good food and loud music (this winery sure lives up to its name). Using sustainable, low-impact practices and sourcing grapes from premium vineyards throughout Victoria, you can expect fresh and fruity drops from their cellar door, open Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights. Enjoy a glass or two with a delicious charcuterie board, while bangin’ tunes set the entire venue abuzz.
Those wanting to get their hands (and feet) dirty can learn how to stomp grapes with Noisy Ritual’s Winemaking 101 course, and true enthusiasts can create their very own vintage over the course of a year with a Winemaker Membership.
The northern suburb of Preston is fast becoming a mecca for craft beer enthusiasts, with notable outfits including Moon Dog World and Tallboy & Moose, with Future Mountain Brewery and Three Ravens just over the border in Reservoir and Thornbury respectively. The first winery to enter the mix is Jamsheed, a laidback urban winery based in Preston’s south. Hidden in a converted warehouse, the entire place is decked out with industrial-chic furnishings, vintage lamps, plush couches and stacks of wine barrels. On sunny days, take your drink outside to the converted carpark courtyard. Whether you prefer a full-bodied shiraz, an aromatic riesling or a fun, fizzy pet nat, Jamsheed is somewhere you can go to relax, enjoy a slice of woodfire pizza and learn about the winemaking process.
The once working-class streets of Collingwood are now brimming with creative studios, edgy bars and independent restaurants. Down a side alley off Wellington Street you’ll find Stomping Ground Brewing Co., the perfect place to gather with friends, sit in the leafy beer garden under rows of fairy lights and enjoy a pint or two with delicious pub grub. Bringing people together is at the core of everything Stomping Ground do, and with a giant 30-tap bar there’s a beer to suit every taste.
Just around the corner you’ll find Bodriggy, another gem in Melbourne’s inner north. Bodriggy is keeps ahead of the curve with hoppy IPAs and out-there limited edition brews alongside their permanent favourites range. This trendy converted brewery epitomises the grungy, stylish inner north with its polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls and bursts of greenery. Peek into the brewery to see the tanks doing their noble work, head upstairs to the ultra-cool Stingrays cocktail bar, or simply enjoy a pint of ‘froff’ in the brew pub.
Crossing the Yarra River, find yourself among South Melbourne’s leafy streets. It’s here you’ll find Westside Ale Works, a family-owned and operated craft brewery specialising in pale ales, IPAs and stouts, as well as house-made apple cider and house-distilled gin. Be sure to try the American-style pizzas — the dough is made using the brewery’s Roggenbier Rye Dunkelweizen or one of their 20 other beers on tap.
Botanical and herbaceous, gin has come a long way from its origins as a medicinal liquor. Now, it’s a celebrated spirit of choice, often in the form of the cult classic G&T. Only a hop and a skip from the famous South Melbourne Market is Patient Wolf Gin Co., a working distillery and bar dedicated in the pursuit of crafting premium Australian gin. Go behind the scenes to the distillery and learn about the lengthy process of gin distilling, or join a gin masterclass where you’ll enjoy a tasting.
Right in the heart of the CBD you’ll find a single-story cottage which houses Little Lon Distilling Co., a craft gin distillery and cocktail bar whose motto is ‘come for the gin, stay for the stories’. Hear tales of the once–notorious north-east corner of Little Lonsdale while sipping on a raspberry and rhubarb spritz or Ginger Mick’s gin mule, just a sample of the gin-based cocktails on offer. For an in-depth experience, take a gin masterclass and behold the 200-litre copper column still.
If it’s darker spirits you prefer, then never fear – Starward Whisky in Port Melbourne is for you. These guys love their home city, and this is evident in each golden drop of their Melbourne-made whisky. All ingredients are sourced locally and matured in red–wine barrels, producing its signature fruity flavour. Join a distillery tour, a whisky masterclass, or a single-malt experience – all experiences include a tasting.
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