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Craft press beer venues in Melbourne

These Melbourne venues have the fine brews you're itching to try

Photograph: Supplied

Our southern neighbour is famously warm over summer so if you're planning a mini-break make sure you keep these venues in mind for when you need frosty refreshment.

Munich Brauhaus

Love all things German but can’t afford to go to Germany? Munich Brauhaus brings the food and beer to Melbourne. With a 900 seat traditional Bavarian bier hall, come enjoy some pork knuckle and a stein. Set menus available as well as à la carte. Various spaces for private events are also available.

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South Wharf

Beer DeLuxe: Hawthorn

Beer DeLuxe in Hawthorn occupies a Victorian undertaker's building complete with wrought-iron awnings, and offers a traditional pub experience as well as being a craft beer bar. It’s nice to see a younger demographic holding up the bar and exploring the huge tap beer list – hailing from all over the world, with tasting paddles for $16 and a focus on local craft and Euro brews. Monday $6 pints help to empty the lines for fresh beer, and you can taste it working in, say, a Belgian dark ale brought back from heavy grains and honeycomb with the sourness of living yeast, while Belle French Ale is bright and smashable, with a bright, green, bitter acidity and toasted graininess.   The keen staff haven’t been hired for a type, which is refreshing in an industry where your “look” can count for a lot. The common denominator here is impressive knowledge of beer and an obvious passion for what they do. Even on a busy night they’ll take the time to share it, calmly walking everyone through the extensive collection. On the food front, the quality of the bar menu isn’t hampered by its length. Try the fresh and filling gyoza, one of the better versions around, or one of the many burgers on offer. Industrial flourishes highlight the striking black and red interior, like thick iron pipes framing Plexiglas cabinets filled with weird and wonderful beer bottles, their labels like illustrations from a creepy fairy tale. Foxtel and the open deck upstairs mean you can enjoy your beer with a side

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Hawthorn

Moon Dog Brewery Bar

Nobody has a can-do attitude quite like the Moon Dog boys. In 2010, brothers Jake and Josh Uljans and their mate Karl van Buuren opened their Abbotsford micro-brewery with nothing but a fistful of coins. They were so broke, they retro-engineered their kettles and mash tun out of old dairy vats by watching videos on YouTube, and to save on rent, Josh and Karl moved into the warehouse. But times have changed for Melbourne’s flavour frontiersmen. You’ll find their sexually suggestive beers (Love Tap! Chocolate Salty Balls!) pouring from the taps of Melbourne’s best pubs, and now, from their own brewery bar. Where their indoor cricket pitch once lay you’ll now find clusters of velvet couches, leather banquettes and repurposed barrels, all lit by frilly lamps. Chances are you’ll find Van Buuren moseying around in his gumboots, having a post-brew chat and a pot. Everyone’s sitting and leaning and leaving jackets wherever there’s space and every once in a while, someone takes a crack at the chorus of a Prince track before being ushered out the roller door and home. The list, chalked up behind the bar, is Moon Dog-centric with the odd ‘fancy’ guest pour. Brace yourself for potent thrills. Beers run the gamut from the sprightly watermelon Bjorn to Boogie to their Cold Drip War coffee stout – espresso and a cigarette in liquid form. If you like a beer that goes down swinging, the Perverse Sexual Amalgam is a toasty black ale, fermented with wild yeasts and barrel-aged with cherry plu

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Abbotsford

The Local Taphouse

The Local has taught an entire generation of Melburnians to appreciate the finer brewed things in life. It’s decked out like the library of a worldly and beer-obsessed grandparent: walls lined with beer bottles and the tables inlaid with Perspex boxes of hops and malt, clueing you in to the depth of the obsession here. Far from being a cold and clinical space, the Taphouse has the warm, lived-in feel of your Grandpa’s living room. It’s the perfect place for a civilised conversation over lamp-lit pots of the weird and wacky, like a No Regrätze Grätzer from Danish brewery To Øl – a low(ish) alcohol, smoky-sour wheat beer as delicious as it is confounding. There’s plenty to drink if you’re not so game though, with easy-drinking Beechworth Pale Ale and Hargreaves ESB between the huge IPAs and lemon melon witbiers. On a Friday, the party’s on the rooftop, packed with beer drinkers of all types. The diversity in the crowd here is one of the big draws – it’s not just a place for beards and flannel (although they’re well represented). Tasting paddles and recommended beer pairings for the daily specials coming from the talent-packed kitchen give you even more reason to explore. Food is outstanding and perfect for drinking beer of any style with well executed dude food options like crispy Southern fried chicken next to fresh and modern dishes like hop-cured ocean trout. The snag roll is bloody good, too. And far from being a one-trick pony, the Taphouse has you covered for most any

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St Kilda

Forester's Beer and Music Hall

“I remember running towards the toilet, vomiting on someone, and then keeping on running right down the street.” Such are the sweet memories being bandied about by patrons of the nightclub that once stood in Forester’s place. Things have changed since the craft beer champions behind Clifton Hill’s Terminus Hotel took charge. They did an industrial scale Febreeze job on the joint, added 54 craft beer taps and a pizza oven, and buffed up the giant clam shell/stage ready to take on rockabilly performers a few times a week. It sounds like Melbourne’s answer to Sydney’s much-loved beery rock’n’roll bar Frankie’s Pizza. They stay open till 4am on the weekends, and those pizze keep on coming till 2. What’s not to love about deliciously refreshing sour beer available until dawn? To the bin with you, Big Brand beer! This is a big, ambitious project, reflected by the space. It’s an enormous open hall dotted with high tables and banquettes, overlooked by the glowing clam at one end and a mezzanine with a ping pong table at the other. Approach the bar and get yourself an education, mouth first. Ordering is basically a process of elimination. The crew know their IPAs, sours and dunkels even if you don’t, so you can easily just choose how light, dark or boozy you want to go and let them guide you with samples. It’s a brilliantly curated list. There’s enough on the weird and limited release front to score you major points on Untapped (the beer rating app that rewards adventurous drinker

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Collingwood

Sydney's best craft beer venues

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