The back streets, the outskirts, the fringe, the 'burbs, suburbia. A place where things are a little quieter and a little calmer. A place to forget about the mad rush of the city. Often filled with coffee shops, people walking their dogs, parks for kids, and a superfluity of crafty haunts.
Sure, the city has a grand array of great venues, but these days Adelaide’s suburbs are also bustling with a healthy smattering of good beer. Be it in a quirky seaside setting, an industrious industrial estate, or even an outdoor shopping mall, Adelaide has some excellent suburban crafty venues just waiting for the thirsty traveller.
Due to the widespread nature of these venues, and the sheer number of them, this isn't a Crafty Crawl in the traditional sense: one you might take on in a session or two or in a particular order. Instead, it's a guide to finding good beer pretty much wherever you are in the city.
In just a few short years, previous owner Dane Adkins* expanded the Sweet Amber brand from one venue in seaside Semaphore to three. The original café still stands on the main strip of the beach community, with its ever-changing taps and double-doored fridge full of beer and cider. Added to the franchise were a brewery and taproom in 2018 and a convenient third taphouse and pizza bar at Harbour Town Shopping Village (pictured) in 2019.
The brewery is located in Regency Park, tucked behind Coopers in an industrial estate. There you will find a 500 litre brewhouse, fermenters and eight taps pouring beers to be consumed onsite and taken away in "Roadies". The freshest beer possible is served directly from two bright tanks a mere two metres away in the cool room. Food trucks roll up on select weekends, with new releases spinning through the taps on a regular basis.
The third spot opened in 2019 in Harbour Town’s outdoor shopping centre, giving shoppers a break (or a hideout) with Sweet Amber beer on tap and their signature pizzas to munch on. Now you never know who might put forward the idea to go shopping.
*Dane and his wife sold the business in September 2020 to spend more time with family and friends.
- Café – 67A Semaphore Rd, Semaphore
- Brewery – Unit 5/21-23 Naweena Road, Regency Park
- Harbour Town – Shop T36A Harbour Town Premium Outlets
Little Bang Brewing
Located just on the outskirts of the Adelaide city in Stepney, Little Bang have moved quickly from their backyard garage, to a Tetris-style shed, and finally onto a much larger, more permanent residence in an industrial estate in Henry Street. The beer geeks of the South Australian industry, owners Ryan and Fil are known for their quirky, comical beer labels (and sometimes names) as well as having a collection of beers that cover nearly every style guideline.
Enter through the roller door and you're greeted by 20 taps, some of which pour beers from their beer world mates. There's oodles of space along one side, including a mezzanine above the bar, with the other side given over to the brewery and barrels, arcade games and takeaway beer under the roof too.
A small but well-appointed kitchen provides food in the form of an Asian-inspired menu, and they throw some famously insane parties on special occasions. Little Bang is definitely one to find in the burbs: a brewery where you could spend the entire afternoon and evening.
Wander through the roller doors at 25 Henry Street, Stepney
Initially appearing onto the nascent craft beer scene in 2008, when local legends Simon Sellick and Stephen Nelsen joined forces, Brewboys is one of the original craft breweries in South Australia. Since then, both Simon and Stephen have stepped away from the business, with Dan Michael and Owen Davies taking over.
The quality of the beer hasn’t changed, their well known Ace of Spades Stout and Seeing Double Scotch Ale still around, as well as the regular core range beers. Once a week, a new "One Keg Wonder" graces the taps, ensuring there's always something different to try.
Inside their Regency Road brewery venue, you'll find a games area that includes a pool table and a few other bits and pieces, a hop garden out the side (in the right season), lots of beer and a Nugg Lyf kitchen serving up burgers, wings and, of course, chicken nuggets, all in a relaxing lounge room style setup.
Brewboys can be found at 151 Regency Rd, Croydon Park
The Pirate Life juggernaut rolled on in staggering fashion when they moved into Port Adelaide. After becoming part of AB InBev/CUB and now (Asahi/CUB) in 2017, and aided by a healthy cash injection from the SA state government, Pirate Life opened their second venue (at the time – they've since added one at the Adelaide SkyCity Casino and one in Perth), complete with a massive state of the art brewery and taphouse.
The Port Adelaide site represented a massive step up from their original South Road digs, with an expansive concrete bar pouring from 16 taps, all of which feature nothing but Pirate Life beers; with more than 50 new beers released in a single year, there's plenty of variety on offer.
Such is the size of their new place, food trucks can roll into the venue to feed the masses. Inside and out – even parts not normally accessible by the public – nearly every wall has been decorated with street art, including a giant flying peacock on one outside wall. Behind the bar is a forest of fermentation tanks, a fully automated canning line and plenty of barrels.
Every now and then, they throw a party, sometimes inviting overseas breweries and bands, and capable of squeezing in several thousand punters inside and out.
Take your pick at 18 Baker Street, Port Adelaide
Big Shed Brewing Concern
Located on Old Port Road in Royal Park, you will find Big Shed Brewing Concern housed in… well, a big shed. Indeed, Big Shed version 2.0 provides the big shed they always longed for, and allowed for much-needed expansion.
When they moved into the new digs in 2019, they took the following they'd acquired over the years – loyal supporters group nicknamed "The Massive" – with them. Join them inside the wide open venue and elements of owners Jason Harris and Craig Basford’s personality can be found everywhere: they don’t take themselves too seriously, just the beer, even if they are keen to educate the wayward beer drinker.
More 30 taps pour Big Shed beers, with a few limited releases only available at the venue. There's pinball machines, a sunny beer garden outside, and loads of room to pull up a pew overlooking the brewing process.
Known by many for their dessert beers, such as Golden Stout Time, Boozy Fruit, Nutella Porter, Eton Mess and Bruchocs, to name a few, they've also honed a solid core range covering bases such as Kolsch, American pale ale and a full-on West Coast style IPA. Hungry? Their menu is like their beers: a little out there and experimental, with a forever changing BBQ-inspired menu; think wings, slow cooked meats, topping laden pizzas and epic burgers.
It's the perfect combination, really: great beer and food all in a friendly, fun atmosphere.
The big shed awaits at 1154 Old Port Road, Royal Park
The first of two crafty burger restaurants to feature, Burger Republic’s greatness is spread over two effervescent venues, one in the more upmarket area of Hyde Park and the second on the laid-back Henley Beach.
The burgers are insanely good, taking on a real American persona throughout, from the menu style, through to the décor and drinks list. There are the classic bites, such as the cheeseburger and buffalo wings, through to the more outlandish burgers with 24 different varieties available.
Two taps grace the bar with favourites like Brooklyn lager, Pirate Life and 4 Pines pouring. The fridge is constantly updated with latest releases with a focus on beers that match burgers and their trimmings: big IPAs, light, tropical pale ales, and a few new buzz beers.
Load up at 1/110 King William Road, Hyde Park, or 330 Seaview Road, Henley Beach
Fudd’s Burgers is located a little further out of town in Aberfoyle Park; however, it's definitely worth the drive. A family-run business named after owner Mark Ludgate, AKA Fudd, it's well known for its American style burgers, loaded fries, eye-catching weekly specials, and well-vetted craft beer and cider list.
More than fifteen different burgers grace the menu, including the classic double cheeseburger that is a true monster featuring double beef, double cheese, pickles, red onion, mustard, ketchup and Fudd’s own sauce. Talking about sauces, take your pick, as they offer a great range of chilli options to spice things up a little.
As for the beer side of things, Fudd's has enjoyed a long association with local brewery Swell, pouring their beers since day one. They seem to have their finger well and truly on the pulse too, with a multitude of new and exciting beers being added to the fridges monthly. If you still aren’t convinced, check out their social media pages, where you'll find some delicious burger and beer combos waiting to lure you for that drive...
Join the Fudd's at 3/40 Sandpiper Crescent, Aberfoyle Park
The Wheatsheaf Hotel is the original craft beer paradise in Adelaide, a venue that continues to go from strength to strength, satisfying drinkers (and gig-goers) week in, week out as it closes in on two decades pouring the good stuff in Thebarton. There aren't many in craft beer circles who haven't heard of The Wheaty, and its reputation reaches far beyond these shores, not least down to a string of eye-catching international collabs with visiting brewers.
The Wheaty's reputation was initially built around serving up an expertly curated list of other breweries' beers; these days, they're better known for their own after installing a 600 litre brewery at the rear of the pub in 2014. There are not many styles owner and head brewer Jade Flavell hasn't had a crack at making: sours, lagers, pales, IPAs, stouts, porters and even a kvass have graced the taps at some point. But it is the collaborative side of brewing that really excites the Wheaty Brewing Corps team.
Even before the 600 litre brewhouse went in, Jade would conduct 50 litre brews with some of Australia's pioneers – the likes of Mountain Goat and Moo Brew, as well as persuading the like of Birra del Borgo to create single keg batches. Over the years, a who's who ranging from Weihenstephan and Sixpoint to Buxton and the Yeastie Boys, not to mention most regular co-conspirator Darren Robinson of Doctor's Orders Brewing, have stepped into the brewery. There's now an evolving house culture that features a blend from various collabs and goes by the name The Menace.
The hotel itself – which featured frequently (and as more than one pub) in Tim Minchin's 2020 show Upright – is a classic pub, one filled with rustic furniture, homely touches and warming fireplaces. The walls are showcases for local artists, while out back is the tin shed where they host live performances many nights in the week, and along one side is a green, welcoming beer garden, one where an extra bar is called into action for special events and through the busiest periods of the year.
In the main bar, you can pick from twelve taps and a hand pump. In addition, the fridges are packed with local, interstate and international offerings, with beers from the latter often rare or hard to find. The wine and spirits – particular whisky / whiskey – selections are just as impressive. Add in knowledgeable, friendly staff and a diverse crowd and you've got a wonderful pub that's been at the top of many beer lovers' lists of Australia's best for years.
Join Jade and the crew at 39 George Street, Thebarton. You can read more about her story in this entry from our end of decade Advent Calendar.
West Thebby Social Club
The crafty side of the West Thebarton Hotel sees the front bar revamped and brought to life with an injection of tasty beer, live rock music and accompanying beer food. It wasn't always thus, however: like a phoenix resurrected from the ashes, back in December 2017 West Thebby appeared on the radar of the good beer drinkers of Adelaide.
Sporting twelve taps split over two fonts, there's always something new and different to drink. Big Shed are big supporters of this venue and their beers can often be found across multiple taps. The can and bottle fridge is on high rotation too and, if you're not a beer drinker, there are numerous other options available: ciders, hard lemonade, wine, a variety of spirits.
Food comes in the form of small bites such as wings, grilled haloumi or a beer drinkers platter; alternatively, choose from one of their burgers or pub classics. The venue is also proactive when it comes to events, including beer and brand launches, including Feral's Tusk Day.
Rock on at 53 South Road, Thebarton
The Suburban Brew Co
We can’t have a suburban Crafty Crawl without the inclusion of The Suburban Brew Co. Located in Goodwood, this venue is all about loving thy neighbour. Suburban started life as a label without a home, brewing out of a variety of different local breweries. They still brew on others' gear but, as of September 2020, they now have a taphouse to serve their wares and chat with their biggest fans.
Suburban is located on Goodwood Road, approximately 100 metres from the tram stop, inside an industrial garage style building close to owner Tony Dichiera's home. Drinkers will find a simple setup of tables, chairs and stools, with a small pilot system, kid’s corner and pinball machine – oh, and a token Stobie pole.
There are eight taps in total, pouring all of Suburban’s beers, a non-alcoholic option, and a cider. Food is BYO, drawing upon Goodwood’s surrounding cafés and restaurants.
Catch Tony and friends at 96 Goodwood Road, Goodwood.
It’s not just great venues that can be found in the 'burbs – there's also quite a number of excellent bottleshops located in parts of the city.
South of the City:
- Highway Hotel – 290 Anzac Highway, Plympton
- Goodwood Cellars – 125 Goodwood Road, Goodwood
- O’Sullivan Beach Liquor – 105 Galloway Road, O'Sullivan Beach
- Moana Heights Cellarbrations ≠ 2/50 Babbacombe Drive, Moana Heights
East of the City:
- Ed Cellars – 1/7 High Street, Mitcham
- Belair Fine Wines (pictured) – 9 Russell Street, Belair
West of the City:
- West Beach Cellars – 727 Burbridge Road, West Beach
North of the City:
- Old Spot Cellars – 1955 Main N Road, Salisbury Heights
- PALS – Lot 14 Kings Road, Parafield
Photo at top of article supplied by the South Australian Tourist Commission. If you're reading this while the scheme is still operating, the SA Government is offering vouchers to encourage tourism in the state – details here.