Urban Alley Brewery

Early in 2016, a beer called Once Bitter Urban Ale first appeared in bars across Melbourne under the Collins Street Brewing banner. It was the first release from a brewing company created by Ze'ev Meltzer, who'd decided it was time to start leaving the corporate life behind and switch focus.

The journey from there to the launch of his brewery venue more than two years later was, like many in the beer world, a rather long and windy one. The original plan was to find a site in Collins Street itself, in the heart of the Melbourne’s CBD. But, when that proved impossible, focus was instead trained on a part of the city where there was a dearth of local brewing: District Docklands, home of the Melbourne Star.

The area had previously been known as Harbour Town and, when it became District Docklands in 2017, the intention was to give people more reasons to visit. And, in this day and age, what better way to entice visitors than offering them the chance to enjoy a locally brewed beer? Thus, the Collins Street Brewing team – by this stage also going by a new name, Urban Alley Brewery – took over the old Harbour Town Hotel, opening the doors to the public for the first time in the second half of 2018.

The venue, located beneath the Melbourne Star, is an expansive one comfortably capable of hosting more than 500 people. Despite its size, the fact it’s a working brewery is impossible to miss given the stainless steel is visible from almost any seat inside the bar.

Often, it’s a space that swells with Melbourne’s tourists, although with plenty of offices in the area and an increasing number calling Docklands home, you’re just as likely to find someone heading in for a knock-off drink or a sneaky beer on the way home. On weekends in particular it’s become a popular spot for families, with parents keen to end a day’s shopping in the adjacent malls with a freshly tapped beer and modern pub fare.

By the time the brewpub opened, the business had also grown too, with Ze'ev taking on new business partners and the Urban Alley beers starting to spread into Melbourne's many bottleshops and bars. In the second half of 2019, Ze'ev left the business but the brewery has continued its focus on bringing local beer to the people of Docklands and getting Urban Alley into hands further afield too.

Like many breweries large and small, old and new, Urban Alley isn’t just looking to produce beer for the local market, but is aiming to do so sustainably. Its green credentials are bolstered by the ability to treat water onsite and to turn waste into natural gas to assist in the brewing process. They were the first brewing company in Australia to use E6PR six-pack holder rings made of recycled material that can be composted once you’ve finished your beer too.

If you pick up a six-pack, you'll be able to choose from a core range made up of four approachable beers: their Urban Ale, American pale, Helles style lager and English brown. Or you can look at the brewery’s limited release seasonals, the Alley series, where head brewer Shaya Rubinstein has a little more space in which to experiment and where you’ll often find saisons, fruit-infused and heavily-hopped beers too.

As Australia’s local beer scene continues to spread its wings and encroach ever more into the mainstream, breweries are moving beyond industrial warehouses and regional towns and into all manner of unlikely locations. Locations such as Urban Alley: brewing underneath a giant ferris wheel in the heart of a tourist-friendly retail district.

Will Ziebell

Name
Urban Alley Brewery
Address

G09/12 Star Circus
Docklands
VIC 3008

Phone
(03) 8080 9800
Open Hours

Midday to late

Tours

Weekdays only

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Free Tasting Paddle at Urban Alley

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Urban Alley Brewery Regulars

Urban Alley Urban Ale

Urban Ale is a beer that sits in that broad category that can probably best be thought of as an English summer ale or a golden ale. It’s light and refreshing, with a pale golden and light-flavoured malt body and a slight citrus hop character. In other words, if you’ve got a friend with a lifetime commitment to a single brand of Australian domestic lager who you’re keen to introduce to today's broader beer world, this might well be the place to start. Will Ziebell… Read more
Style
Golden Ale
ABV
4.5%

Urban Alley Lager

For Urban Alley's core range lager, the brewers have restricted themselves to a single hop and single malt – pilsner malt and German Hersbrucker hops. In other words, it's one where the style's traditional roots rather than New World twists are to the fore. It's a combination that imparts some floral and spice aromas stop a lightly sweet malt backbone. Will Ziebell… Read more
Style
Munich Helles
ABV
4.7%

Urban Alley Dark

Inspired by the beers of England’s north – the Newcastle region in particular – Urban Dark is Urban Alley’s take on the classic brown ales popularised there. Pouring a dark brown, it’s a beer with biscuity malts and a slight nuttiness combined with some coffee and chocolate. By making use of the one of the cornerstone hops of English brewing, East Kent Goldings, and combining it with one of the original American varieties, Willamette, you'll pick up a light floral side to an otherwise… Read more
Style
Dark Ale
ABV
5.4%

Urban Alley APA

Is there a style found in more craft breweries' lineup than their take on an American pale ale? Unlikely, given Sierra Nevada Pale's impact on the beer scene in the States and then in those countries, like Australia, that followed in its wake. It makes plenty of sense too, given the style that helped drive the American craft beer revolution can be so broadly appealing and also allows brewers a reasonably blank canvas upon which to create their own. For Urban Alley, they've created one with a light… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
ABV
5.5%

Urban Alley Brewery Specials

Urban Alley Blush

Tapped September 26th, 2019
When the crew at Urban Alley opened the doors to their Docklands brewery doors a year ago, one of the limited release beers they sent into the world was Blush. The wheat ale came packed with raspberry goodness and, though only a small number of kegs were brewed at the time, the brewery say it’s been one of their best-received beers to date. So, when the brewery venue's first birthday came around, they decided to re-release the beer, this time canning it and sending it a little wider. Pouring with… Read more
Style
Raspberry Wheat Ale
ABV
5.3%
Bitterness
21 IBU

Urban Alley The RRIPA

Tapped May 14th, 2019
With their sweet yet often reasonably light malt body and a decent whack of flavour sourced from the hops department, red IPAs naturally feel like the kind of beer brewers should release in autumn: a bridge between the lighter, flightier beers of summer and the brooding ales of winter. And that’s precisely what Docklands’ Urban Alley have done as part of their Alley Series, which sees the brewery’s limited releases make their way into the world in rather eye-catching jet black tinnies. Not… Read more
Style
Red Rye IPA
ABV
6.3%
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