The craft beer scene has exploded on the Gold Coast with innovative breweries continually popping up across the city.
Local business people and even world surfing champions are recognising the burgeoning craft beer market as a smart investment and they are reaping the rewards.
While this trend towards home-grown breweries is sweeping the world, the Gold Coast is establishing a reputation as a leader in the sector, with local breweries and brewers picking up national and international awards.
Here is your guide to craft breweries in and around the Gold Coast…
14 Traders Lane, Currumbin
World champion surfers Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson, along with pro surfers Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr, are riding a wave of success after opening their own brewery.
Balter Brewing’s first beer launched in March 2016 – Balter’s XPA, an Extra Pale Ale with a fruity palate that aims to punch your taste buds into the pleasure zone, joined by several other styles over the following months.
First the beer, then the venue. The group’s upmarket industrial warehouse and tasting room with its wraparound bar and bespoke Frank and Mimi artwork took the Gold Coast by storm through social media.
The reality was even better: a vast industrial shed full of shining tanks as far as the eye can see surrounded by hand-faced brick walls and the expansive 12-tap tasting area lit by a huge luminous mural.
Co-founder Stirling Howland says the aim is to make the best beer possible.
“It’s a given that a good beer should be enjoyable, but it should also expand a person’s world view on what a beer can be,” he says.
15 Gardenia Grove, Burleigh Heads
It all started with an idea for an egg nog stout between three beer-loving mates and it resulted in the creation of Black Hops Brewing.
The trio who founded the business, Dan Norris, Michael McGovern and Eddie Oldfield, documented their progress from that first home brew to the establishment of their Burleigh Heads brewery exhaustively through blogs, podcasts and social media.
Now they have put it all together into a book, Operation Brewery, which is available online and in print and is an invaluable source of information for anyone with dreams of starting a brewery, and entrepreneurs in general.
Opening the doors of the brewery in April 2016, tours and a tasting bar operate six days per week: Monday to Friday from 10am – 6pm and Saturday from 12noon – 4pm.
2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads
Burleigh Brewing began as a love story, when in 2002 Peta Fielding persuaded her American-born master-brewer husband Brennan to leave Hawaii and return to her homeland, with the vision of founding their own brewery in Burleigh Heads.
Brennan has made beer in the US, Hawaii, Japan and Australia, consistently winning business and beer awards year after year, including wins at the World Beer Cup and the World Beer Championships.
Burleigh Brewing is an ‘old but new’ brewery. While they use traditional methods of brewing (one of their beers, the Dunkelbier, is made from a 600-year old German Monastery Yeast, and brewed in strict accordance with the ‘German Purity Law’ of 1516), they’re in new territory using cutting edge science and equipment.
Passionate about their beer, Burleigh Brewing takes great pride in using local ingredients and packaging products, employing 35 locals and supporting local charities.
Burleigh Brewing is now the largest Australian-owned brewery in Queensland, recently moving to an expansive new premise which opened in March 2016.
Tamborine Village, Mt Tamborine
Holding sustainability as a fundamental principle, Tanya Harlow and Chris Herring moved their already established brewery from South Australia to a site on the Albert River in the Scenic Rim’s Tamborine Village.
Using the philosophy ‘from the land returning to the land’ their Tamborine Farmhouse Brewery is fully solar powered and they capture their own water and return waste products to the land as feed or fertiliser.
- Beard and Brau (named after the big beards and eyebrows of their beloved schnauzers) brews six beers using no chemical or additives are:
- Black Snout (English milk stout),
- Bon Chiens (French farmhouse ale made using a champagne hybrid yeast),
- Double Red farmhouse ale,
- Golden Paw American Ale,
- Red Tail (a higher alcohol amber ale), and
- Indian Mastiff Ale.
Bottled beers are carbonated in the traditional method, ‘fermented on lees’ (bottled conditioned) and not pasteurised or filtered, leading to a mild cloudiness with a full flavour.
165 Long Road, Eagle Heights
Fortitude Brewing Company, and its alter ego the Noisy Minor, has found its home beside Witches Chase Cheese at the end of Tamborine Mountain’s Gallery Walk.
It was founded in late 2012 by Ged Connors, Jim O’Çonnor and Ian Watson and today boasts an expansive venue which serves as both brewery and tasting room with ten rotating taps showing off the thirteen Fortitude and Noisy Minor beers.
With the expressive yeast profile of Belgian style beer being Ian Watson’s personal favourite, Fortitude’s Head Brewer set out to raise the standard on Australian lager.
The resulting beer, Fortitude Brewing’s Pale Lager, is made from natural ingredients, 100 per cent malt, no sugar, and truckloads of fresh Australian and New Zealand hops, giving it a gingery lemon edge.
Fortitude’s Pale Lager is a Queensland favourite for its simple, easy drinking yet flavoursome style.
18 Industry Drive, Tweed Heads
Now well established with twelve products in the range (Belgian, German and Dutch style beers as well as ginger beer and ciders), Pickled Pig Brewery has doubled its turnover annually since opening.
The business now wholesales to some of the Gold Coast’s best restaurants with personalised beer and labelling to specification.
For a more hands on experience, there’s another side to the business which is quite surprising; personal customers and even a Brewing Club, where you can make your own beer under commercial conditions.
898 Reckumpilla Street (Cnr Anders Rd), Mount Alford
Scenic Rim Brewery & Cafe is a small family owned, Australian brewery from southeast Queensland’s Scenic Rim region. As the name suggests, the Scenic Rim is known for its natural assets. With fresh air, clear water and natural ingredients, Mike and Wendy Webster couldn’t think of a better place to brew beer.
“Our beers are an all-round sensory experience; after all, we have five senses and only one thirst,” the Websters say.
“Our products represent the various larrikins we’ve come to know, with Digga and Fat Man the first of many. Watch this space and remember, you’re always a local with one of our brews in hand.”
Scenic Rim beers are available on rotation from Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Resort, Thirsty Camel North Tamborine, and Canungra Hotel.
BARS THAT STOCK LOCAL CRAFT BEER
At the junction of roads between the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Mt Tamborine, The Bearded Dragon Hotel and restaurant is set on 110 acres of farm and bush land, with Country Lodge accommodation and an à la carte restaurant.
The Bearded Dragon is Beard and Brau’s home pub, carrying four of their range of six craft beers on tap: Golden Paw American Ale, Red Tail, Mrs B’s Springtime Ale and Beard on Beard. Tasting paddles of four beers are available for $20.
Bearded Dragon also sells stubbies of Black Snout, Double Red, Bon Chiens and the 8 per cent Indian Mastiff Ale.
Bine is a smart place to gather with friends to try a new beer, hence the name ‘Bine’; the climbing plant stems on which hops grow.
With eight rotating taps and more than 80 bottled beers in stock, Bine offers one of the best choices of craft beer on the Gold Coast, not one of them a ‘big label’ brand.
A lifetime of research has impacted the choice of brews, a range spanning countries and styles, yet the focus is squarely on Australian boutique beer. Their eight taps feature our finest on rotation, including Pickled Pig, Black Hops, Beer & Brau, Burleigh Brewing and Balter Brewing.
Besides their fresh, contemporary and locally-sourced menu, Club Burleigh has a range of premium beers on tap including local Burleigh Brewing’s Big Head, 28 Pale Ale and, surprisingly, Black Giraffe, which you can also consume in a Dirty Giraffe cocktail (Black Giraffe, vanilla Absolut vodka, Tia Maria and berry coulis).
The American-inspired eatery and taphouse House of Brews boasts the largest number of beers on tap on the Gold Coast.
In an attempt to get to the bottom of what made the best boutique tap establishments and what would work in our market here in Surfers Paradise, the founders travelled the US, sampled the goods in bars across the country and came back to home territory to make the place their own.
“Over the last eighteen months or so, we are seeing fantastic product coming from microbreweries here on the Gold Coast.
“We decided the time was right for the Coast to have a quality venue devoted to supporting outstanding local breweries,” co-founder Damien Kanaghines says.
Their impressive ‘32 shades of amber’ and custom-designed keg room house local brews from Black Hops, Fortitude, Beard & Brau and Burleigh Brewing poured from rotating taps.
Situated in the heart of Surfers Paradise facing the beach, Surfers Sandbar is a family-run venue known for its value for money bistro-type meals, friendly service and relaxed atmosphere. Well known for its support of local beer, Surfers Sandbar was one of the first venues to show off Balter Brewing’s first brew, the XPA.
Housed in the historic Swan House building from the 1970s, Swannie’s Restaurant & Lounge Bar opened in Southport Mall in August, 2016.
Complete with Chesterfield lounges, this casual café by day morphs into a sundown bar in late afternoon and a sophisticated tapas lounge by night, complete with live music.
The daytime menu, created by Head Chef Acme Godog (ex-Versace and Moo Moo), contains classic café and gastro-pub fare, with a world tapas selection kicking in from late afternoon. Though it holds no local beers on tap, there’s both Fortitude and Burleigh Brewing beer by the can.
The concept of a Pour Your Own (PYO) craft beer bar is a novel addition to the Gold Coast’s craft beer scene. Drink debit cards charge per millimeter, allowing patrons to pour themselves a taste of different beers without committing to a full schooner. The card will also cup off patrons’ supply after a full jug of beer.
Taps is committed to selling a great range of craft beer, including some from local breweries.
Steve Barber, Director of Taps, says they chose the beer through extensive field testing and researching.
“We sample lots of different local beers with the TAPS crew and choose the ones we like,” he says.
“Basically, the beer finds us. We have 10 beers on rotation – at the moment that includes local beers Fortitude Brewery and Byron’s Stone and Wood as well as several Brisbane beers. We rotate our beers every week to a fortnight.”
Located in the heart of Surfers on the first floor of the Mark building, TAPS overlooks the streets below.
First and foremost a sophisticated urban eatery, The Glenelg, like a giant man cave, is a perfect dark and dusky retreat to meet friends to have a few drinks.
With four rotating beers on tap, there are many more bottled craft beer choices, including local Black Hops, Pickled Pig, Fortitude, Burleigh Brewing, Balter Brewing and Beard and Brau.