Drum roll please! We’ve chosen our Top Wollongong and Illawarra Breweries. Our beautiful What’s on In Wollongong writer Jodie Berry (now called Jodie Beery, see what we did there), was tasked with sampling our finest Illawarra Breweries and best craft beer spots in Wollongong. Here is Jodie’s insider guide to our amazing craft beer culture in Wollongong that’s brewing….

As with kids, you shouldn’t have favourites (we love them all!), but here goes…

Wollongong Brewery – Five Barrel Brewing

Ah, what a way to start with Five Barrel Brewing’s Taproom on Keira Street in Wollongong.

We love these guys with their huge range of beers brewed on site. They serve a rotating selection, but all their beers are available for takeaway including taster packs of their 6 core brews.  

Featuring beautiful artwork you can choose from the XPA, Hazy IPA, Red IPA, Milk Stout, Pale ale and Lunch Box Lager. There are also limited beers and seltzers including the Snake Bite Double Pilsner – packing a punch at 7% ABV! Locals LOVE their $10 spicy chicken offer on Thursdays. Plus the Monday to Friday Happy Hour for $6 schooners between 3.30pm – 5.30pm.

It’s a comfortable and relaxed feel with both inside and outside areas, again with a semi industrial feel that seems to be the design-de-jour for these places. Friendly staff set the tone and definitely know their stuff. Love having the tasting paddle as an option if you just can’t decide which beer to embark on.

The Taproom is open from midday all week, with the kitchen operating Thursday to Saturday til 7:45 and Sunday til 4:45 (Beer and Burger Sunday lunch anyone?) Offering ten different kinds of burgers and delicious sides, the menu sets off the beers beautifully + inside and outside areas and tasting paddles.

They have live music Saturday’s and the last Sunday of every month they host Sunday Jazz featuring local talent. Kicking off 2pm through to 5, it tops off your perfect Sunday.

Check their amazing range of beer available below and take your bestie, a group or your partner to savour it all! Bookings advised for groups over 4…

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Five Barrel Brewing, Wollongong HERE

Craft Brewery Wollongong
Five Barrel Brewing, Wollongong

Wollongong Brewery – Seeker Brewing, Unanderra

Seeker Brewing, Unanderra are another local brewer that bring life to an otherwise Industrial landscape.

Based in Unanderra, under the watchful eye of our lovely escarpment, Jeff and Nelson are hard at work doing what they love – making beer! The other half of the Seeker Team, Ben and Curtis, do the tasting. That sounds like a job I could get on board with!

The room itself is casual and cool, with some classic touches that bring the whole space together. There is a pool table and even a basketball hoop! One of the things I really love about small batch brewers is the attention that is paid to the outside of the product as well as the inside. These guys have done an amazing job with some pretty gorgeous artwork on their cans.

But let’s talk about what’s inside the can. Aside from the usual suspects like a sensational XPA, some stand out IPA’s and their Rad Ale, there are some weird and wonderful concoctions on limited release. Hawaiian Pizza IPA, Cherry Cola Sour, Big Red’s Magic Raspberry Milkshake IPA and Neapolitan Milk Stout (yep, like the ice cream) plus many more. Don’t worry if you miss out on these ones, I have a feeling these guys aren’t running out of ideas anytime soon!

Foodwise, Seeker Brewing, Unanderra have gone with the good ol’ woodfired pizza option. Delicious! A good selection available with gluten free and vegan options available upon request. Another plus for Seeker Brewing, Unanderra is their support of the live music scene with events running every month or so featuring awesome young rockers. Happy Hour is every Thursday and Friday from 3pm – 5pm.

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Seeker Brewing, Unanderra HERE

Seeker Brewing, Unanderra

Wollongong Brewery – Principle Brewing, Fairy Meadow

Principle Brewing, Fairy Meadow is hiding in plain sight. Right there on the Princes Highway at Fairy Meadow, if you aren’t looking for it, you could miss it. And you should look for it, it’s a great little brew house. With indoor and outdoor tables, a selection of sports on the TV’s (American Football was on while I was there which was pretty cool!). It has a semi industrial vibe, with a bit of concrete, a bit of wood and the obligatory big silver brewing vats at the back.

Jumping on the food truck bandwagon, they have Hanks Fried Chicken serving up wings and things with a southern flavor. Keep in mind their hot wings are HOT – yikes! Good for some, but if you are a little shy of heat make sure you order mild.

Of course, we’re here for the beer. Principle Brewing, Fairy Meadow have a great selection of brews. From pilsner to porter there is something for everyone – including the designated driver with their light option. The Sequoia Smokey Red Lager is a stand out, but the XPA and IPA do not disappoint.

They also have a selection of wines and seltzers for those not into the beer buzz. On Wednesdays you can grab a $5 schooner matched with $10 chicken tenders and on the last Thursday of the month go old school with the meat draw.

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Principle Brewing, Fairy Meadow HERE

Principle Brewing, Fairy Meadow

Wollongong Brewery – Resin Brewing, Bulli

Based in the renovated Bulli Railway Guest house, Resin Brewing, Bulli is a jewel in Bulli’s crown. Passionately restored to its original glory (and located right near the train station – no deso driver required!) it’s worth a visit for the building alone.

But we aren’t here to talk about architecture – we are here to talk beer. And the owners and brewmasters at Resin Brewing, Bulli love to do just that. Brendan and Steve have been friends since uni and its probably a safe bet to say that they have been passionate about beer for about as long.

These two beer alchemists have put together an incredible selection of brews since setting up a home brew kit in their garage. At Resin, there is something for every palette, from their Sandon Lager to the great choices of IPA and XPA’s. Their 8 Shades Imperial Stout will take your head off, and the sours are a hit for the more adventurous.

There is also a fantastic pub style – albeit a little fancy – menu including great burgers, delicious share plates and a Green Pea Gnocchi that perfectly compliments the flavours of the house special – the beers!

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Resin Brewing, Bulli HERE

Resin Brewing, Bulli

Wollongong Brewery – Coal Coast Brewing Co, Bulli

You may have already seen the Coal Coast Brewing Co. Bulli classics beers on tap at your local. The Pit Pony Pale Ale, Ode to Amy Common Ale, and the Miners Lamp mid strength lager. All excellent brews – and now with summer fast approaching you can enjoy them on the greens of the old Bulli Bowlo with the re-emergence of “The Jetty”.

Plagued by wild winds, raging storms and well, a plague – The Jetty has had its fair share of problems but has come back better than ever to serve you Coal Coast Brewing Co. Bulli beers in the funkiest spot on the highway. Open only on the weekends, this is a very family (and puppy) friendly venue. There is an eclectic collection of outdoor furniture, kids games, a DJ, open spaces and an impressive (enormous) sun shade towering over the very funky container-turned-bar.

A rotating roster of amazing local food trucks keep the tummy rumbles at bay while you focus on what matters – the Coal Coast Brewing Co. Bulli beers. A personal favourite is the Ode to Amy Ale – named for the brig Amy that sank in a big storm off the old Bulli Jetty. A great story for a great beer and perhaps a little poetic for a venue that has suffered at the hands of mother nature!

The Pit Pony Pale Ale is a light yet hoppy brew and was the first developed by the Coal Coast Brewing Co. Bulli. Named for the reliable and faithful coal miners companion, this beer lives up to its namesake. And for a mid strength that won’t let you down, the single hop miners lamp is the perfect choice.

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Coal Coast Brewing Co. Bulli HERE

Coal Coast Brewing Co, Bulli

Wollongong Brewery – Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine, Tarrawanna

Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine, Tarrawanna – where do I start? The great origin story? The custom designed Brew Machine? The crazy name? OK, the beer it is.

The taplist at Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine, Tarrawanna is a moveable feast. You can usually get the firm favourites but the beauty of a small operation like this is that the hits just keep coming. You can pretty much always get the Kölsh – a light dry German beer, the Sesh Red – the mid strength offering, the Milk Stout and the wheat beer Gose. There’s a couple of hazy’s, a pilsner, a pale or two and a few IPA’s.

All these sensational beers are brewed onsite using the custom designed brew machine. The design was developed over a year long research cycling trip undertaken by owners Billy and Anna who made it their business to check out around 150 breweries between Alaska and Costa Rica – I mentioned this was all on their bicycles didn’t I?

And this is where the name comes in – Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist who depicted overly complicated machinery doing the simplest of tasks. The brew machine here is a homage to science and beer lovers both with overly complicated, manually focused but intrinsically simple system delivering the goods.

Instead of the usual burgers which seem to the staple of most brew houses (nothing wrong with that!) these guys have embraced the taco. Gringa Taco Bar has tacos with a twist and with sides and a kids menu. And if all this doesn’t get you there, they also have live music on Sunday arvo’s from 3 – 6pm. Its puppy friendly too!

Learn more about Wollongong brewery, Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine, Tarrawanna HERE

Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine, Tarrawanna

Wollongong Brewery – Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong

Another brewer with a great name! Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong on Smith St in Wollongong have also adopted the food truck style of catering to their customers with a roster of food trucks to tempt all taste buds. The “kitchen” is open Friday from 4pm, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm.

A small batch brewer, they serve a selection of their own Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong beers as well as offerings of guest beers from Wollongong’s local brew community. How cool is that? Happy hour is every Thursday and Friday from 3pm – 6pm (yes yes, that’s actually 3 hours – lucky us!) Grab a beer from their Core 4 Range for just $5.

Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong offers the tasting paddle if you can’t decide. I don’t know who invented the tasting paddle, but someone give them a prize. The perfect way to get a little taste of all the gems on offer. And gems they have. On tap you can try their Milk Stout, NEIPA, Pacific Ale and more, with other offerings from Resin Brewing Bulli, and Five Barrel Brewing, Wollongong. Now that’s community spirit right there. Almost a one stop shop for the Illawarra’s best beers.

Learn more about Wollongong Brewery, Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong HERE

Dusty Lizard Brewing, Wollongong

Wollongong Brewery – Stoic Brewing, Gerringong

You won’t have to travel far from the Gong before you reach your next brewery destination in the beautiful seaside town of Gerringong at Stoic Brewing.

A family owned and operated brewery (founded in 2018 by a father and son team), these guys brew craft beer and cider at their proudly independent micro-brewery in the scenic South Coast town of Gerringong. Father and Son Steve and Andrew had a vision of creating a space where the community can come together and enjoy locally brewed beer and cider in amongst the vats. A place that feels like home with a community of people that feel like family.

You can fill up your reusable Growlers and Squealers or pop in and grab some cans. You’ll find food vans onsite most weekends or you can build your own cheese plate. Open Wednesday through to Sunday 12-7pm. They are run regular Sunday Sessions, guided Tours & Tastings, weekly wings and burger specials + kids meals and more!

You will find them tucked away in the industrial area, but that only adds to the experience and the great beers they serve.

Learn more about Wollongong Brewery, Stoic Brewing, Gerringong HERE

Stoic Brewing, Gerringong

Wollongong Brewery – Darkes Brewing, Darkes Forest

Visit Glenbernie Orchard, home of Darkes Cider – award winning clean, crisp alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Darkes Brewing products are proudly produced using fruit from their 6th Generation Orchard. Their apples are hand picked, freshly crushed and master brewed to produce a cider that reflects the personality of the farm’s legendary guardian. Just the right amount of sweetness but with a “bit of a bite”.

Decades of experience from the Fahey family in perfecting the growing and harvesting of premium quality fruit, and a real love for cider, underpin the selection of just the right combination of fruit for brewing each cider, including specific apple cider apples and heritage apples grown for this purpose.

Their ciders are made from 100% fresh crushed fruit, with no added sugar or water, and are vegan friendly and gluten free.

Their regular Cider Sundays (the perfect place to kick back and catch some relaxing vibes with friends) and Family Days are super popular too!

Open 10am – 4.30pm, 7 days.

Learn more about Wollongong Brewery, Darkes Brewing, Darkes Forest HERE

Darkes Brewing, Darkes Forest

Wollongong Brewery – Uncle Joe’s Brewery, Crooked River Wines, Kiama

Crooked River Wines is also the home of Uncle Joe’s Brew – an onsite microbrewery. Preservative and chemical free, Uncle Joe’s Brews include Premium Lager, Pale Ale and Alcoholic Ginger Beer. You can taste their cold ones in their onsite taproom. Worth a drive we say – grab a few and ‘chill on the hill’, as the locals like to say in this beautiful spot on the South Coast!

Learn more about Wollongong Brewery, Uncle Joe’s Brews, Crooked River Wines, Kiama HERE

Uncle Joe’s Brewery, Crooked River Wines, Kiama

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