Not only is Canberra home to some top-notch bars but they also ferment the good stuff right here in the region – from cool-climate shiraz to Australia’s only locally produced bourbon and craft beers worth travelling for. Enjoy them all at Canberra’s finest.
If anyone ever complains about Canberra’s nightlife, just nod quietly and then laugh all the way up the stairs to Bar Rochford, where you will be enjoying a glass of the grippy, slightly volcanic Rami wine from COS in Sicily. This is undoubtedly the best little wine bar in the ACT and once you’re here, you’ll never ever want to leave.
Damn straight you’re going to find Canberra’s buzzy, double-storey craft brewery in the heart of Braddon. It’s a popular spot for an after-work beverage, or even a cheeky late afternoon meeting so long as everyone is amenable to their straight-shooting Australian pale, called the Barley Griffin (natch).
The drive along the shore of Lake George is one of Canberra’s most scenic routes – the hills rising up on one side and the land dipping away from you on the other out over the water to the distant wind turbines on the far hills. And perched along this beautiful stretch of the Federal Highway is also one of the region’s top wineries. Lerida Estate should be at the top of the list for any wine tour of the Canberra region, and not just because they have a café on site that opens daily.
This busy highway stretch is a surprising spot for a vineyard, but the compact Mount Majura makes the most of their hillside block, specialising in cool climate chardonnay, shiraz and tempranillo, with a few surprise varieties, like the French mondeuse, the Spanish graciano and the Portuguese Touriga.
Out on the Barton Highway towards Yass is the little winery hub of Murrumbateman, where you’ll find the cool climate shirazes that this wine region is famous for. Red drinkers will find their spiritual home at Clonakilla Vineyard, which is the place to try their rare and small batch releases before you drop all your hard earned on a case of the really good stuff.
Tasmanian whiskies, gins made with native botanicals and spirits aged in wine barrels might be all the rage on the craft spirit market in Australia, but in a quiet, industrial pocket of Canberra, Anthony Baldwin decided to go his own way and make his favourite drink: bourbon.