With more than 500 pubs in the region during the gold rush, Ballarat has a renowned history as being a pub town.
Now, with the emergence of some seriously talented local craft brewers, the city’s reputation is shifting. And it’s certainly a shift we can get aboard.
There’s one way to fully experience the region’s emerging craft beer scene, and that’s to drink your way around Ballarat’s beerhalls and breweries.
From the small-batch brewer to Ballarat’s newest brewpub, here are six of the best stations to access premium liquid gold.
1. Aunty Jacks
This new brewpub combines quality craft beer and deliciously snackable food with hands-on workshops run by Ballarat’s Dr Beer. It’s the place you catch up with mates on the weekend, or to learn about all things beer.
Around 100,000 litres of beer – including lager, pale ale, stout and seasonal specials – are produced on site each year, and you have the chance to see all this first-hand.
You’ll find Aunty Jacks at 315-317 Mair Street, Ballarat.
2. Hop Temple
Mosey on down Hop Lane to popular laneway hangout Hop Temple and try one of more than 250 craft beers on the menu (one of the the largest range in Victoria) – including award-winning gluten-free beer O’Brien Beer, craft-brewed by the local team at Rebellion Brewing and Ballarat-based brewing and blending company Dollar Bill Brewing.
Set up in old, converted stables, you’ll find yourself mesmerised by the recycled creations that adorn the venue as you sip away on your next favourite craft beer, from lights made from hot water systems to the bar that was made from old door – it’s got all of those laid back Sunday afternoon vibes.
You can find Hop Temple at the rear of 24-28 Armstrong Street South, Ballarat.
3. Red Duck
This small micro-brewery has a tradition of being at the forefront of craft beer innovation and is known for exploring the history of forgotten styles and tastes – inventing new brewing techniques or re-inventing long forgotten ones. They’re all about all-natural, unfiltered, traditionally-brewed brews.
You can visit the Red Duck cellar door on weekends between 11am-4pm at 11A Michaels Drive, Alfredton.
4. Cubby Haus Brewing
Whether you’re looking for a cold brew after a cycle around the city with mates, or you’re up for a yarn over pizza, you’ll find Cubby Haus Brewing at 884 Humffray Street South, Mount Pleasant.
Brewer Malcolm Sachs is always up for a chat about his hand-built 500 litre brew house and his natural beers, which are based on traditional styles from around the world. Join him for beer tastings and toasties by day or beer and pizza by night.
5. Cafe Sidra, Learmonth
Relax in the beautiful gardens at this boutique cafe and cider cellar door and sip on distinctly Western Victorian flavours, including a traditional English-style cider produced nearby by Learmonth Cidery.
This cider-focussed cafe is nestled on the tree-lined avenue of the small town of Learmonth, a short 15-minute drive from Ballarat.