We’ve checked out top breweries in NSW and Victoria – now our Drinking Destinations series visits breweries and distilleries in the great state of Queensland.
Queensland is a place where, when the mercury starts pushing high or the sun is shining (most of the time, right?), taking in tasty craft beer or drinking artisan spirits is a must. Here are our top picks of the breweries and distilleries to visit in the regions of greater Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and further north. Get a taste here, then pick up their best drops at your local First Choice Liquor Market.
Feel like a day trip? An easy run from Brisbane or the Gold Coast finds you at Beenleigh Artisan Distillery, Australia’s oldest operating distillery on the banks of the Albert River in Eagleby. Over its 136-year history, you might say Beenleigh has learnt a thing or two about making small-batch rum the traditional way. The Big Red Shed knocks up a host of award-winning rum products, from rum liqueur to double-cask aged rum and cola RTDs. It’s regularly open for tasting experiences, distillery tours and events, making it one of the Gold Coast’s best distilleries to visit.
Distance from Brisbane CBD: 36km
Try this at home: Perfect for cocktails, Beenleigh White Rum is matured for two years in ex-brandy vats and filtered through carbon for a refined, smooth vanilla finish.
One of the Gold Coast’s original craft breweries, Black Hops Brewery is a trove of delicious tap beers, food trucks and the smiliest locals and dogs you’ve ever seen. Since 2014 — when three mates thought they’d give brewing a go — they’ve amassed four venues, concocted a multitude of limited-release beers, and regularly featured on the annual GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers awards. The original taproom in Burleigh Heads is on the smaller side, but don’t let it detract from the super fresh and tasty craft beers at your disposal — one of the best places to pull up a stool after a dip at the beach or when the sun begins to set.
Distance from Gold Coast CBD: 13km
Tucked away on a quiet backstreet in Warana between Caloundra and Mooloolaba, Your Mates takes the character of Queensland and puts it lovingly into each and every one of their beers. They’ve recently acquired a bowls club in the Noosa hinterland, but it’s the original Brewpub that’s the constant hive of excitement with weekly events and live music right across the weekend. It’s also a top spot to grab some tasty food, supplied by a jam-packed menu of quality pub favourites.
Distance from Sunshine Coast CBD: 13km
Try these at home: Grab some easy-drinking Your Mates Larry Pale Ale – ranked #5 on the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers 2022 – and Your Mates Tilly Ginger Beer, which is spicy, sweet, and not too strong.
If swaying tall palm trees and consistently balmy weather makes you weak at the knees, then Cairns’ ever-popular Wolf Lane Distillery is a sure-fire place to check out. Down a narrow red brick alleyway, you’ll come across this venue in what used to be an old horse stable — but lucky for you, things have changed vastly in the last 100 years. There are plenty of inventive spirits to get your nose and tastebuds around in regular masterclasses, where you can learn about the local ingredients used and ways to pair your drinks. Plus head next door for the much fawned-over prohibition-style era bar, Three Wolves, delivering twice the fun in one place.
Distance from Cairns CBD: 1km
Try this at home: Wolf Lane Distillery Tropical Gin, a hand-crafted citrus-forward summer gin with 13 carefully selected botanicals.