While not quite ground zero for Brisbane’s craft beer boom of the early 2010s, the Milton and Paddington suburbs were certainly ground zero adjacent. Craft beer was just finding its feet in those early years and it’s beneath the shadow of the monolith XXXX brewery where many of those early venues began to purvey their scarce and hop-filled wares.
A lot has changed since those early days. The craft beer fad that those young hipster bars was pushing seemingly stuck around. More venues popped up and breweries began to find their home here. This pocket of Brisbane just west of the city only grew with the craft beer scene and is worth a visit (or all day crawl) for any craft beer enthusiast.
While still the home of sporting mecca Suncorp Stadium – and the only place to this writer’s knowledge where you can sample Italian cuisine beneath a scale replica of the Eiffel Tower (culture!) – the Milton and Paddington area continues to offer some of the city’s best craft beer offerings. From the cosy nooks of The Scratch to the choice-paralysis-inducing Brewski/My Beer Dealer, take a walk with us through a suburb of rich history, plenty of trees and great brews.
Stop 1: Patio by Range
It’s hard to believe Range have only been brewing since 2018. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength and Patio is just one more feather in the cap of these Brisbane beer juggernauts.
Located in the quiet and leafy not-suburb of Rosalie, this venue is an easy stop between Milton and Paddington. The terraced, sun-dappled beer garden is full of nooks where you can meet up with friends and work your way through their extensive tap list. The long, curved bar easily accommodates the throng of eager revellers, who find themselves in the hands of knowledgeable staff eager to talk you through the offerings.
The 12 taps host the best Range have to give while leaving room for a couple of house wines. For our non-beery friends, there’s also an impressive wine bottle list and a selection of funky fresh cocktails. The food menu is loaded with sharable snacks as well as pizzas and smaller bites for the kids.
Patio brings everything that makes Range what it is in one tidy and hassle-free package. Like its namesake, Patio is a place to enjoy just the right amount of Brisbane sun while catching up with friends old and new.
Patio is located at 146 Baroona Road, Paddington, but the locals prefer if you call it Rosalie.
Stop 2: The Scratch
Stepping into The Scratch feels like visiting a pal who possesses effortlessly kitsch style and way better taste than you do. Before you even have time to be bamboozled by the tap and bottled beer lists you’re beguiled by mural covered walls, speckled with local artists' works and the odd horned animal skull, seconds before being accosted by a shark head jumping out of the roof.
When you finally pull yourself back to reality, you’ll be pleased to find a selection of undeniably grouse beers from Australia and beyond. To say the person doing the ordering is a giant beer lover let loose in the proverbial candy shop is a pretty good way to explain it. But "fucking maniac" is equally apt, if not better.
The Scratch Bar was one of the first dedicated craft beer bars in Brisbane, kicking open its doors for the first time in 2011. The team (read: family) don’t just bring killa sips to lips, by way of draught and bottles, they throw some mad hatter parties to boot. Case in point: the annual Weekend of Darkness is one of the insane events beer lovers flock to like seagulls onto stray chips.
While there are enough banged-up couches and beaten wooden stools on a normal day, this pint-sized venue frequently reaches capacity for its big events, so get in early or you’ll be waiting in line like a pleb until some poor sod leaves and gifts you their place.
If you've spent time in Brisbane and haven’t visited The Scratch, you might need your head read. (JC)
You’ll find these good folks at 8/1 Park Road, Milton.
Stop 3: Mongrel
From Scratch, walk across the road to Mongrel, which opened in 2018. Given it started life as a pop-up restaurant, the team behind Mongrel know their food – and their beers. The space has a sort of 70s or 80s den-slash-hangout space vibe: couches and a pool table inside, and plenty more seating out on the verandah.
Six taps of craft beer call your name from the bar, while the tap list can be found scrawled on the skateboard decks – sans wheels – that adorn the wall. A great selection of packaged beer can be found in the fridges, while wines, spirits and cocktails round out the drink offerings.
If you’re hungry, you’re in for a treat: the menu showcases Peruvian flavours with a modern bar twist. The star of the menu, however, might just be their ceviche, available on the weekends until sold out. Get amongst it if you can!
As for the name? Well, they’re “a little bit scruffy, a little bit street, a little bit of a mix of things and very loveable”. Just like the beloved bitsa dog your family had when you were ten. (JM)
You’ll find Mongrel at 1/12 Park Road, Milton.
Stop 4: Milton Common
Good drinks, good food, and friendly staff who are always up for sips and giggles. Welcome to Milton Common, the home of Common Ground Brewing and Common Ground Spirits. The brewhouse is in the main bar (hard to miss), and you can head out the back and up the stairs to check out where the spirits are made.
As much a community-focused space as it is a brewery and brewpub, Milton Common hosts a wide variety of events to give interest groups a home and help punters find new ways to have fun. On any given day you might come across anything from themed lunches to paint and sips with weekly trivia and open mic nights, and there’s always local art on display in the distillery-slash-function-space.
The venue is split across two levels; if you’re sitting downstairs, you’ll be drinking in some of the closest proximity to brewing operations you’ll find in Brisbane – the Milton Common team can pour beer direct from their brite tanks. And if all that closeness to beer brings on a hunger, you’ll find a full menu of burgers, pizzas and share plates. Get your eat on. (JM)
You'll find Milton Common at 35 Railway Terrace, Milton.
Stop 5: Newstead Brewing
Don't be confused by the name: while the brewery first came to life in the suburb after which it's named, Newstead Brewing is now firmly in Milton.
Milstead is the epitome of Brisbane’s good beer scene (we overheard it at the brewery, so it has to be true). The brewery and pub sit on Castlemaine Street, under the watchful eye of Mr Fourex and directly across from Suncorp Stadium. As such, it’s a haven for good beer drinkers and sports fans alike.
There are dozens of taps across three bars: a mix of Newstead classics, small batches, collaborations and guest beers. The kitchen puts out enough options for you to snack, feast or gorge yourself silly, while the front bar is where you'll also find an enviable wine list featuring plenty of natural, local and rare drops.
Newstead's open plan design has Brisbane’s sweltering summer in mind, so whether you plonk yourself inside or out, you’ll be in reach of a breeze. The 50 hectolitre system is on display for brewers and beer nerds to admire, while there's an on-site laboratory of impressive proportions; this is no microscope surrounded by a few beakers but a fully fledged science lab in which their resident scientists can go hog wild. Speaking of wild, in 2017 they began funding a PhD student to work with Brisbane's local yeasts with the intention of using them in future beers, one of which was used in Newstead’s GABS 2019 beer.
The entire place ended up under water in the floods of early 2022 – as did most places within the surrounding streets – putting Newstead out of action for months. They were helped through by a number of their brewing mates before firing up the brewery again in September that year, and are now back on track, aided in part by the crowds that flocked to the Women's World Cup matches across the road, just another way in which the impact of the Matildas and the tournament as a whole was just a genuinely lovely thing. (JC)
Newstead Brewing Co is located at 67 Castlemaine Street, Milton.
Stop 6: Brewski / My Beer Dealer
Husband and wife duo Matt Emmerson and Antoinette Pollock first flicked on the distinctive IPA light that hangs above the bar at Brewski back in 2013. Since then, Matt has become known in the Brisbane beer community as a bit of a shopaholic: a madman with a bar to fill with his every beery dream.
Those dreams went into overdrive in 2018 when they opened My Beer Dealer, Brisbane’s first drink-in bottleshop, a space that packs in a mouth-watering array of craft beer wherever you look.
Brewski frequently pour weird and wacky brews from all over the world, each with its own digital decal. And they don’t stop at just one keg, no sirree. Brewski are known for mad-as-hell tap takeovers that have brought Brissie folks mouth-to-glass with the rarest of releases, as well as epic sessions focused solely on the hoppiest or stoutiest beers they can get their hands on.
The scene downstairs in My Beer Dealer (pictured above) is much the same: a thoughtfully-curated selection of international beers sit alongside local South East Queensland favourites and beers from around Australia. They share some of the taps with the bar upstairs and offer a few exclusive to the bottleshop, so be sure to bring along a growler or two. Like any good bottleshop, they also offer some non-alc options, natural wines and craft spirits.
Sometimes overshadowed, but never forgotten, is the holy grail of dude food that makes up Brewski’s menu. This menu has carnivores, omnivores and herbivores drooling: yes, they’ve got one hell of a vegan menu, and it’s the tits. Their weekday specials will keep your wallet happy, especially if you're a Crafty Cabalista and can take advantage of their two-for-one schooners on arrival.
Brewski is located at 22 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace (look out for the open planned bar with footpath seating and a humble round sign). You can find My Beer Dealer just downstairs - access from inside or via the separate entry on Judge Street. Or try their other locations in Morningside and Eagle Junction.
Stop 7: Hope & Anchor
Since opening in 2016, the team at Hope & Anchor has been quietly slinging some of Australia’s finest crafties alongside their one mainstay tap of Guinness. By rights, this pub doesn’t really belong in Brisbane. The 19th century heritage-listed building was once home to a bakery and looks somewhat out-of-place with the surrounding 80s brutalist builds. The scene inside is warm, welcoming, and drives you to stay for that perpetual "one more".
Sitting in the rich wood- and leather-adorned interior and sipping on a pint, you could feel like you’re in a quiet English countryside pub. There’s also outdoor seating where you can fully take in the sandstock brick building. The four taps inside never fail to disappoint and are carefully curated to accommodate to all types of beer drinkers.
The menu is much more modern that you may expect; it includes a smattering of traditional British pub food as well as flavours from the Middle East, and the burgers are a real standout. As a bonus, they also open for breakfast seven days a week, which is great for those of us who get out of bed prior to 10am.
Hope & Anchor is a unique spot in the Milton-Paddington and even Brisbane landscape. It’s a locals' bar that makes you feel like a local. Whether you’re longing for those small UK pub vibes, or just looking to try something new, Hope & Anchor never fails to disappoint.
Hope & Anchor is located at 267 Given Terrace, Paddington, and you really can’t miss it. Just look for the only building with aesthetic appeal.
- Caxton Street Brewing, 52 Petrie Terrace – Boasting their own selection of house beers (fermented with a SmartBrew automated system) as well as the occasional guest spot from another brewery, this venue – in the space once occupied by Fritzenberger – offers a vibrant space in which to soak in that Caxton Street feel.
- Lefty’s, 15 Caxton Street, Petrie Terrace – While their craft beer selection may have diminished in recent years, it’s still hard to beat Lefty’s for a late night whisky and dance. The building alone is worth a visit.
- Darling & Co, 157 Given Terrace, Paddington – It has a reputation as a brunch-and-bubbly spot, but since being acquired by Catchment Brewing this venue also features a full tap lineup from the West End brewery.
- Embassy Cellars, 251 Given Terrace, Paddington – While this bottleshop is traditionally known for its wine selection, Embassy has really upped its craft game in recent years and now offer some of the best brews from around Australia.
- Remy’s, 106 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington – A local favourite for breakfast, burgers, and beers, Remy’s is home to solid can options with a house lager on tap.
- Craft Red Hill, 196 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill – Slightly outside of the borders of this article, but most worthy of inclusion, Craft is a bottleshop dedicated to bringing top notch craft beer, wine and spirits from Australia and the wider world to the people of Brisbane, complete with two rotating kegs waiting to fill your growlers and squealers.
You can check out other Crafty Crawls from around the country here and find all the above venues and hundreds more, plus beers, events, special deals and more in the free Crafty Pint app. If there's any glaring omissions, or new operations on the horizon, let us know!
This Crawl was updated by Mitch, but some pre-existing entries by Jakkii Musgrave and Julia Charalambous remain, as indicated by the initials following their entries.