Colonial Brewing Co Port Melbourne

The Colonial Brewing story is one that can be neatly viewed in two parts – parts that are equally neatly centred on each coast of Australia. Part one began in the West, way back in 2004 when "craft beer" wasn't even a phrase used by those brewing it, while part two has at its heart this brewery and venue in Port Melbourne.

Starting at the beginning, it was in 2004 that Colonial Brewing opened its sleek brewpub in the heart of the Margaret River region. Many have since joined them in the region in which Bootleg first led the way, yet few come close to the Colonial brewpub's ambitious scope.

If you're someone who appreciates good beer, you'll likely have called in when touring the region. Yet, aside from tucking into their typically traditionally minded ales at the Margaret River base, you'd have struggled to find Colonial beers anywhere else unless you stumbled across one of a dozen or so venues in Melbourne, Perth or, most recently, Sydney with their beers on tap.

At least, that is, until we hit part two...

This part of the story began in earnest in 2016 after Colonial took over what had previously been Matilda Bay's brewery in Port Melbourne, walking into a ready made brewery that would allow them to instantly increase production capacity significantly while also having a base to get beer fresher to the East Coast.

The brewery had already installed a canning line at its Margaret River home and started sending Draught (formerly Kolsch) and Small Ale into the world; with this second facility up and running, Colonial tap heads began appearing with greater frequency across the East Coast too. Since taking over the eye-catching old warehouse, new tanks have been added alongside a much larger and faster canning line meaning, well, meaning more of everything beer wise.

They were able to launch their new core range, adding IPA and Pale Ale – both in tinnies with the 360 degree lid they first introduced with Small Ale – and cold pressed Apple Cider Bertie, named with a nod to the Bertie Beetle lollies once made under the same roof. Augmenting the lineup are regular one-offs – often festival or brewery exclusives or collabs with the likes of Padre Coffee and Starward Whisky, the annual Inquests (always 10 percent-plus and dark) and One Keg Wonders that allow the brewers to let their imaginations run wild.

The brewery in Port Melbourne comes in three parts: a space filled with old sofas sat underneath classic photos of AC/DC, 70s boozers and holidaymakers at the beach; one filled with benches and tables alongside a cinema screen of sorts; and the area around the bar looking into the working brewery.

Usually, the bar and kitchen are open from Thursday to Sunday although, with a capacity of 400 and plenty of space for entertainment, it regularly hosts events and functions too. For those that call in, the view of the beamed ceilings, rows of tanks and stacks of tinnies is rather different to the farmland surrounding Colonial's original home. But, as the brewery accelerates its plans to become one of Australia's major craft players, it's this venue that will be its engine room.

Indeed, it's an engine set to boast some serious firepower. Late in 2018, they embarked on a project that will see the installation of a custom-designed, four vessel, 50 hectolitre BrauKon brewery from Germany and a collection of 100 and 200 hectolitre fermentation tanks. With more capacity being added in WA too, the aim is to move to four and then six million litres per annum, continuing Colonial's evolution from Margs brewpub to one of the country's largest independent operators.

Some photos copyright Simon Shiff

Colonial Brewing Co Port Melbourne

89 Bertie Street
Port Melbourne
VIC 3207

(03) 8644 4044
Open Hours

Bottleshop only during COVID restrictions:
Mon to Sun: midday to 6pm

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Colonial Brewing Co Port Melbourne Regulars

Colonial Brewing Co South West Sour

Tapped February 12, 2018
Colonial’s seasonal release program gives the brewers a chance to play around with local and fresh ingredients plus whatever happens to be on trend. In South West Sour’s case, the Indian summer gave the Margaret River team a chance to cast a gaze over the refreshing Berliner weisse style. The intent was to create one that celebrates a style for season rather than being clinically true to style. In this sense the 4.6 percent ABV and Bertie Cider like can sit well within the Colonial range and… Read more
Hoppy Sour

Colonial Brewing Co Small Ale

Tapped April 7, 2015
In 2014, Colonial Brewing decided to pop beer inside a can in the shape of their Kolsch rebranded as the somewhat logic-bending Draught Ale. A fine drop it is too, one that deserves to find a home in Eskies across the country whenever the warm weather hits. They followed it up with a second canned beer. But this one comes with a twist. Or is that a spin? Or a 360 degree turn? You see, not content with merely popping their Small Ale (a 3.5 percent ABV citrus hopped mid-strength that takes its name… Read more

Colonial Brewing Co Pale Ale

Head back in time and the Pale Ale you'd have found pouring at Colonials' WA home was one that confounded trends within the state, whereby brewers favoured Little Creatures inspired American pale ales. Theirs was inspired by traditional German altbiers – earthier and more malt driven. These days, there's a new Pale Ale in town and it's one that's become part of the brewery's canned core range. The contemporary Pale Ale features a mix of Aussie and American hops, although in a combination that's… Read more
American Pale Ale

Colonial Brewing Co Draught

Colonial's flagship started out with the name Kolsch as it took its inspiration from the German beers from the Cologne region. Long before many other craft breweries looked to add an approachable beery beer to their lineup, this was that sort of beer, the kind anyone from a mainstream lager drinker to a beer geek wanting something refreshing to quaff could agree upon. It went on to become the first Colonial beer to be canned too, transitioning from Kolsch to Draught as it did so. The beer inside… Read more

Colonial Brewing Co IPA

There are breweries out there well known for releasing a broad range of IPAs. Yet, over the years, Colonial Brewing Co has released a cavalcade of its own, many under the IPA on Tour banner. Yet they've tended to be draught only, snuck into a few venues without much fanfare. One variant has stuck around, however: an all Australian one that became part of their regular canned lineup when they fired up the canning line in Port Melbourne. All Australian means all Aussie hops atop an Australian malt… Read more
Australian IPA

Colonial Brewing Co Bertie Cider

Brewer's notes: Bertie. Weird name for a cider, right? But when you're walking in the footsteps of an Australian icon, you've got to embrace it. The home of our cold press cider is in Bertie Street Melbourne, in the very same building that once produced that staple of showbags across Australia, the Bertie Beetle chocolate treat. Those are some tiny shoes to fill. But our Bertie does it with ease. It's why we use only Victorian apples, which are hand-picked and cold-pressed to create a crisp, delicious… Read more
Apple Cider

Colonial Brewing Co Port Melbourne Specials

Colonial Brewing Market Sour Blood Orange & Saltbush

Tapped October 15, 2020
Colonial's Market Sour series is back for a second dance across the nation's palates. If you tried the first, you won't have forgotten it, given it packed the biggest cucumber aroma you'll have encountered in a beer. This time around, the weapons of choice are blood orange – added in puréed form – and native saltbush, although the specialty malts play as much of a role, helping create a beer that sits somewhere between rusty copper and amber – shall we just go with blood orange? It brings… Read more
Fruit Sour

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Colonial Brewing Co TaylorMade Lager

Tapped September 2, 2020
They’ve previously made beers with football teams and here have teed up another sporting collaboration, this time donning their plus fours and caps for a stroll along the fairway with TaylorMade. It's a good time for golf in most parts of Australia too, given it's one of the more social-distance-enabling sports out there. As to the beer itself, the respective booze and equipment producers have their eyes set on easy-drinking refreshment with a 3.5 percent ABV lager. Those eyes are also trained… Read more
Mid-Strength Lager

Colonial Brewing Co Hazy IPA

Tapped October 27, 2019
It seems fairly safe to say hazy IPAs / NEIPAs are here to stay. While other IPA variants such as Bruts have proven to be a flash in the pan, if anything brewers only seem to be getting started in terms of working out just where these beers a million miles away in appearance terms from what was once considered a "good" beer can be taken. In the case of Colonial's brewers, they really are just getting started, at least in terms of bring such a beer to market. But, as head brewer Ash Hazell… Read more
Hazy IPA

Colonial Brewing Co Inquest 2018

Tapped August 1, 2018
When is an imperial porter not an imperial porter? When it’s a Frankenporter, at least according to Colonial's cross-continental brewing team, which took the opportunity during Good Beer Week to get together – a catch-up that proved a little Mary Shelley-esque. Building on Inquest 2017’s success, Colonial’s 14 brewers workshopped the concept for a beer that was rich, dark, strong and above 10 percent ABV. The result? A blend of three versions of imperial porter that were then blended with… Read more
Imperial Porter

Bottle House

Wayward Brewery

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Colonial Brewing Co Robust Porter

Tapped May 9, 2018
Porter. Noun. A person employed to carry luggage and other loads, especially in a railway station, airport, hotel or market. This eponymous beer style evolved from the dockside strongmen’s favoured dark quencher in 1700s London, becoming, at one period during the following century, the most consumed beer style in the world. These days, with pale lagers holding that mantle by some considerable margin, this most malt focused of beers has become more of a respected classic, one pulled from the lesser… Read more

Available nationally throughout winter 2018

Colonial Brewing Co Inquest

Tapped July 22, 2017
Judged by their core range, you could assume Colonial Brewing Co, the operation that started out in Margaret River more than a decade ago and now brews out of Port Melbourne too, is a brewery interested only in delivering tight, approachable beers and cider. Yet take a look through the catalogue of one-offs – usually tagged Project beers – and, as well as finding rather a lot named Gary, you'll see they're not afraid to throw off the shackles: truffle beers, a long lineup of globe-trotting IPAs… Read more
Imperial Stout

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