Thirsty Crow

Few microbreweries in Australia have enjoyed quite the start experienced by Thirsty Crow. Just three months after opening the doors of its brewery, bar and restaurant in Wagga Wagga, founder and head brewer Craig Wealands found himself called to the stage at the Australian International Beer Awards. One of the first handful of batches he'd put through his brewery, the Vanilla Milk Stout, had just picked up the trophy for Best Hybrid Beer – not bad considering it's the second largest beer awards of its kind on the planet.

That said, Craig was no wet-behind-the-ears brewer enjoying beginner's luck. He was a local boy returning home after honing his brewing skills at Sunshine Coast alongside Ian Watson (who has since brewed at Murray's and now heads up Fortitude Brewing in Brisbane) and Hunter Beer Co in the Hunter Valley. Even so, the Vanilla Milk Stout was his first stab at a milk stout, one to which he added vanilla from Madagascar, and has gone on to become something of a cult classic in Aussie craft beer circles.

It's one of a handful of beers that had a permanent home originally at Thirsty Crow's colourful Kincaid Street home before a move to a bigger venue. Among the others you'll find the trophy-winning gateway beer, Sporting Ale, and 26-Fifty, a hoppily aromatic summer ale. For the most part, however, the taps showcase a rotating selection of beers brewed by Craig, brought in from mate's breweries or sometimes brewed by Craig and his mates at various breweries. Depending on when you call in you might find an imperial stout brewed with coffee from a local roaster or beers with local orange peel, chilis and, well, whatever takes his fancy.

It's an eclectic approach that is carried into every aspect of Thirsty Crow. The venue is also home to artisanal wines, craft spirits, amazing coffee from independent roasters, Australian owned soft drinks and regional juices; there's even a kid’s corner. The beer garden is dog-friendly, with water bowls and a dog bed.

As for the food, the kitchen likes to have fun, particularly when it comes to the selection of "craft pizzas" often based on ideas concocted in Craig's kitchen at home. Look out for truffle oil, smoked kransky and tabouleh, a 2am Kebab option or tuck into a full lamb roast (on a pizza). If you're a fan of pineapple on pizza, however, be warned: Craig isn't. So, faced by repeated calls for a Hawaiian on the menu , hecreated the Hawaiian Lava, complete with message: "ULTRA HOT! Do not order this pizza. It is too hot for you!"

Thirsty Crow hosts regular and lively events, usually featuring a table tennis challenge, and in the first half of 2016 Craig kickstarted a sour beer program too. There might not be a huge amount of craft beer in Wagga, but with the Thirsty Crow to help you murder your thirst, you won't be left wanting.

Name
Thirsty Crow
Address

153 Fitzmaurice St
Wagga Wagga
NSW 2650

Phone
(02) 69217470
Website
Hours

Mon & Tue: 4pm to 10pm
Wed to Sun: 12pm to late

Tours

Saturday & Sunday at 2pm

On tap at Thirsty Crow

Thirsty Crow Regulars

Thirsty Crow Murder Pils

One of the brewery's semi-regular releases, this is a take on an unfiltered Bohemian pilsner. According to the brewery, there's "a strong focus on German hop varieties to give a firm spicy and floral aroma to balance the bready malt sweetness."… Read more
Style
Pilsner
ABV
4.3%

Thirsty Crow Robust Porter

Thirsty Crow brewer Craig Wealands is well known for his dark beers. His cult classic Vanilla Milk Stout won him a trophy within the first few weeks of the brewery opening and his Road To Ruin espresso imperial stout is a beer Crafty Pint NSW would happily have as the only one left on the planet. His Robust Porter is less well known but is another fine drop. A blend of specialty malts lend it layer of roast, chocolate and caramel flavours before a bitter, drying finish comes into play. If you get… Read more
Style
Porter
ABV
5.5%

Thirsty Crow Red Light Ale

If you're a regional brewery in Australia then it pays to have a midstrength on your lineup. If you can make it a flavoursome little bugger too then all the better. Thankfully for the beer lovers of Wagga, Thirsty Crow has one of the best low ABV beers you'll find in the form of Red Light. Multiple trophy-winning brewer Craig Wealands has managed to concoct a rusty copper-coloured treat that skimps on neither flavour or aroma, combining specialty malts with New World hops to create a beer that kicks… Read more
Style
Midstrength Red Ale
ABV
2.9%

Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout

The beer that was an instant hit for Thirsty Crow, collecting a trophy at the Australian International Beer Awards just weeks after the brewery opened. It was Craig Wealand's first stab at a milk stout, one to which he added vanilla from Madagascar until he got it juuuuust right. He's gone on to make imperial sweet stouts since, while the Vanilla Milk Stout has gone on to become a cult classic in the Aussie craft beer world, appearing in many aficionados' end of year "Best of" lists and… Read more
Style
Milk Stout
ABV
5.2%

Thirsty Crow Sporting Ale

Thirsty Crow's best-selling beer and one of the first two to make it into bottled form is also the brewery's most approachable. Based on the Kolsch style and using a Cologne yeast strain, it's a light golden ale with soft apple and peach aromas. It was designed with sessions or craft newcomers' palates in mind but may well be finding a few more taking an interest since it scooped a major trophy at the 2015 Australian International Beer Awards.… Read more
Style
Kolsch
ABV
4.5%
Awards

Best European Style Ale at 2015 Australian International Beer Awards

Thirsty Crow 26-Fifty Summer Ale

Taking its name from Wagga's postcode, this is a highly aromatic take on the summer ale style. Awash with tropical aromas from its New World hops – Galaxy and Amarillo – and esters from the yeast, it was first introduced for summer but proved popular enough to stick around all year.… Read more
Style
Summer Ale
ABV
4.5%
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