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Molly Rose Brewery

  • Bars
  • Collingwood
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Assorted drinks and plates of food.
    Photograph: Sarah Anderson
  2. A glass of beer on a bar countertop at Molly Rose Brewery.
    Photograph: Sarah Anderson
  3. Molly Rose Brewery bar.
    Photograph: Sarah Anderson
  4. Chef preparing a dish behind the bar.
    Photograph: Sarah Anderson
  5. Molly Rose Brewery drinking area.
    Photograph: Anna Santamaria
  6. Molly Rose Brewery's lit-up beer garden at dusk.
    Photograph: Sarah Anderson

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Molly Rose is on taps at many a pub, but the brewery itself is well worth a visit with unfettered access to its rarer beers and keen staff who know their stuff

When Molly Rose first opened its doors in 2019 in a Collingwood backstreet, northside craft beer lovers rejoiced. Though it’s not difficult to find the local brewer’s creations in your everyday bottle shop, there’s something to be said for drinking at the spot where all the beer alchemy takes place – from the fermentation process to that final frothy pour.  

Earlier this year in March, the brewery enticed locals further with an ambitious expansion, involving a takeover of the building next door, the add-on of a leafy beer garden and the hiring of creative new Thai-born chef, Ittichai Ngamtrairai. Upon arrival on a weeknight, we discover Molly Rose to be a cross between an understated neighbourhood drinking hole and a somewhat elevated gastropub. A subtle thread of efficiency ties the service together like well-oiled machinery, with staff always on their feet and checking in on tables as they go. 

The venue itself is hard to define, a hodgepodge of drinking and dining areas, each with a different sense of purpose. If you’re all about a beer-matched meal, make a booking for the Chef’s Table experience to see Ngamtrairai and his hardworking band of chefs up close. It’s moody and as fancy as brewery dining experiences get. For beer nerds who prefer to swill their preferred drops among the silver vats, there’s a seat by the separate bar in the space next door. 

Finding the weather uncharacteristically warm, we choose to nab a table in the beer garden. It’s family friendly, with a toddler doodling away on paper by her parents, and smaller groups of friends and couples dotted about. The music playing is a mix of hip hop and Dolly Parton, crowd-pleasers just like many of Molly Rose’s beers. 

Our waiter’s the kind of guy you could talk beer with for days. He asks our preferences and tailors his suggestion accordingly: for me, something called a Double Squished, and for my partner, a Skylight IPA. A non-vintage skin-contact ale, my beer is fruity, funky and almost akin to a natural wine. There’s an explanation for that. It’s spent 12 months ageing on moscato before getting a tannic dose of skins from syrah – a bold first drink to start the journey. 

In comparison, the IPA is clean and crisp with a dry finish. We savour the tropical citrusy notes and try to remember if we’ve had it before. As mentioned, Molly Rose beers are everywhere these days and for good reason. The team knows how to make a fantastic froff. But a sesh at the brewery isn’t complete without a snack, especially now that Ngamitrairai’s on board. We’ve experienced the Chef’s Table experience in the past and know it’s A-grade, so dinner is very much the go here.

“I don’t reckon that menu’s been updated,” a waiter helpfully murmurs as we look at the online menu accessible via QR code. And we’re glad he’s been paying attention because the paper menu he hands us instead has a lot more options. We begin with a spring roll, which we discover is a far cry from the freezer variety sold from fish and chip shops and school canteens. This one’s been given the chef’s Midas touch, the fried pastry filled with sweet potato noodle, black fungus, miso hoisin and served with a dollop of tamarind mayo. It’s spicy and characterful, an excellent accompaniment to the beer.

Next is a stuffed chicken wing, something you won’t often encounter at most restaurants, let alone at a brewery. Again, Molly Rose hits it out of the park. The juicy hot sauce-glazed bite is an explosion of baccala (salted cod), garlic chives and kewpie mayo. Yes, we’re having mayo again but we’re not mad about it. Not when everything else is this interesting. The tart pickled vegetables we’ve ordered on the side cut through the creaminess. The mains are a bowl of drunken fried rice (think prawns, beans, cabbage, green peppercorn and Thai basil) and a mushroomy bowl of egg noodles. The latter is the standout, smoky and buttery like the most comforting bowl of cream-laden carbonara you can find in Carlton’s Little Italy, and rich enough to line our bellies for the next beer.

We’ve decided to try the Bock, a science-inspired beer that comes in two forms: Polished and Adorned. The brewery did a split test on a batch of malty black wort with different yeasts. Tasting them side by side offers a rare insight into the particularities of beer-making. Though the beer is made from the same foundational ingredients, the slight variations shine across flavour, aroma, mouthfeel, foam, colour and even carbonation. It’s fun to discuss with our ever-attentive waiter why we prefer what we do, and how the power of yeast has the ability to fully transform a brew. 

We conclude our fun share-style feast with a hazy lemon ale, the aptly named ‘When Life Gives You Lemons’, a clean and crisp biscuity beer with a refreshing acidic lift. 

Molly Rose is a well-known beer producer, one of the most daring in Melbourne right now, but what they’ve got going on in Collingwood right now is exciting all on its own. The vibe may be a little sleepy on weeknights, but we reckon it’s just a matter of time before locals catch wind of all the changes that have only taken place mere months ago.

And if you’re a beer nerd who lives north of the river, a chat with the experts here is an unmissable experience.

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Lauren Dinse
Written by
Lauren Dinse


279 Wellington St
Opening hours:
Wed-Thu 4pm-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm
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