Take the train as far south along the coast as you can and you'll hit Nowra. And there you'll find HopDog BeerWorks, one of Australia's youngest - and smallest - microbreweries. Opened in 2011 with a brewhouse measuring just 200 litres, its founder and brewer Tim Thomas wasted little time building a reputation for his beers among craft beer circles, appearing at bars in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne within months.
While the brewery may be new, Tim has been brewing for years, starting out at Sydney's Lord Nelson and later spending time at Five Islands (now Illawarra Brewing Company) before taking some time out. His beer sabbatical didn't last long, with the lure of the mash encouraging him to persuade his wife to let him start up HopDog in her hometown. Decision made, they'd found a site in an industrial unit just off the Princes Highway, installed the brewery and were brewing within 12 months.
A self-confessed hop junkie and lager hater, Tim has nonetheless mixed up highly hop forward beers with a wide variety of other styles, including spiced Belgian beers and barrel-aged fruit ales to name but too. Courtesy of a tiny bar at the front of the brewery, punters can take them home in growlers too, with Friday afternoon deals ($12 a fill!) bringing a steady stream of locals to the door.