Bonehead Brewing

We all make bonehead decisions sometimes. But not all bonehead decisions need to be bad ones. And you’re unlikely to find a better example of that than Melbourne’s Bonehead Brewing.

Sure, Travis Nott and Anthony Dinoto’s decision to leave their respective careers behind to create a brewery from scratch might have been a nerve-wracking experience, but it fundamentally feels like the right call.

Indeed, at its heart, Bonehead Brewing’s story is the sort of local, bootstrap tale that makes the independent craft beer scene such an exciting one. But to understand it we need to go back to Travis and Anthony’s final year of high school, when the pair first met and became mates…

Their subsequent professional lives took them along different paths yet, in hindsight, the former’s career in branding and marketing and the latter’s time spent running small businesses feels like a very fitting background for two mates who would go on to start a brewery of their own.

More to the point, the pair had a shared hobby: homebrewing, which they got into within a week of each other. But for the schoolyard mates, homebrewing together started out as competition more than collaboration: a friendly rivalry to see who could brew better beers. Over the next decade or so, however, competition eventually became collaboration as they started brewing and slinging beers for birthdays and events for loved ones. At the same time, their minds drifted towards going pro.

By 2017, their business plans had taken shape and they found a home in a former mechanic’s warehouse in Melbourne’s inner north-western suburb of Kensington. It’s a small industrial pocket where Anthony’s family had long owned businesses and, after many months spent building the taproom and brewery themselves, they opened to the public at the start of 2018.

Bonehead Brewing wasn’t the name they’d initially chosen: in what may have been one of their first bonehead moves, failure to do a proper IP search left the fledgling brewery without a name. They do say things often happen for a reason, though, and Bonehead Brewing feels like the perfect name for a brewery team that approaches everything they do with irreverence and good humour.

Their core range couldn’t be a better example of that ethos: each beer is brought to life by a colourful character, while all are designed to be approachable, dialled-in and easy to return to. Whether it’s the classic Mum’s Pilsner or their New England IPA, Phaze Out, if you want a collection of beers that are true to style and born to be bought by the four-pack, Bonehead have you covered.

Augmenting the core range is a steady stream of limited release beers featuring as broad an assortment of beers as you’ll find anywhere. They tend to fall under the Bonafide banner or the pun-heavy Smells Like Pop Culture series, while the brewery’s many collaborations with bars, bottleshops and restaurants are a constant reminder that working closely with their community is front and centre for Bonehead.

None of their beers showcase that love for local better than the Art For Boneheads series. Here, they invite local artists to design beer logos and paint murals on their taproom walls, while simultaneously turning their Kensington home into an art gallery.

All of the beer is produced on the faithful 10 hectolitre brewhouse Bonehead have operated since day one, with their own canning line and more sizeable tanks added over the years to help them push their beer into more parts of Victoria, as well as into other parts of the country.

The taproom retains much of the feel of its former life; when you walk inside, there’s no doubt you’re in a working brewery. But while towering fermenters greet you, so too do low-hanging lights, indoor plants, comfy leather seats, and a fireplace that roars to life when required to create an incredibly intimate warehouse in which to enjoy brewery-fresh beer.

A dozen taps line the bar, showcasing the latest releases from the brewery, while a selection of cocktails, wines and boilermakers are always on offer too. Since opening in 2018, the taproom’s become a popular haunt for those working in the surrounding industrial buildings and for Kensington locals, locking their bikes up in front of the roller doors and enjoying the beers accompanied by food from visiting trucks or tacos from the perennially popular La Tortilleria.

And as Bonehead’s reputation has grown, you’re just as likely to find visitors from further afield at the bar as they look to understand what being a bonehead is all about. After all, we all make the odd bonehead decision; if the worst one you make for the day is grabbing a four-pack of IPAs or enjoying a beer alongside the tank in which it came to life, well, that doesn’t feel like too boneheaded a move at all.

Will Ziebell

Bonehead Brewing

86 Parsons Street Kensington
VIC 3031

Open Hours

Friday: 4pm to 11pm
Saturday: 1pm to 11pm
Sunday: 1pm to 8pm

Mon to Fri: 9am to 3pm

This is a directory listing. To find out more, head here

Bonehead Brewing Regulars

Bonehead Brewing Mum’s Pilsner

Mum’s Pilsner is a mainstay of Bonehead Brewing’s core range but its history goes back to well before the Melbourne brewery launched. It was the first beer recipe Travis Nott wrote himself, which feels like a somewhat rare approach for a budding homebrewer. Often the eager beer makers like to jump from one recipe to the next and champion heavy hopping rates rather than continually refining a recipe and aiming for something that's inherently about subtlety and restrained. Those years of tweaking… Read more
Czech Pilsner

Bonehead Brewing Revered Red Ale

Revered Red Ale is Bonehead Brewing’s dedication to all those who roll up their sleeves and get to work shaping the future into the kind of world they want it to be. Like any dedicated worker, you have to respect a brewery for having an American red ale in their core range for they truly tend to hit a sweet spot between rich malt flavours and the delights brought by hops. Revered is certainly a beer of balance, with it providing a range of sweet flavours while being balanced by a bitter bite.… Read more
American Red Ale

Bonhead Brewing Junior

Bonehead Brewing’s Junior is the kind of recipe that doesn’t quite fit into an overall beer category and instead is a bit of a case of throwing caution to the wind and brewing that combines the best of multiple styles. What we can say about the Tropical Pale Ale is that it’s the kind of beer that should almost certainly be bought by the four-pack, with it providing an enticing mix of hop flavours and being incredibly balanced and easy to drink. Pouring a clear orange like many classic American… Read more
Tropical Pale Ale

Bonehead Brewing Phaze Out

There was once a time when hazy beers were thought to be a craze but it feels like we can now safely say such beers aren’t going anywhere. If you want proof, just look to the regularly released hazies that form part of a brewery's core range, such as Bonehead Brewing’s New England IPA, Phaze Out. It’s a beer that pours with a deep haze and the palest of yellow, with a soft, textural body and no bitterness in sight. It means that when you set your tastebuds to Phaze Out, you’ll be perfectly… Read more
New England IPA

Bonehead Brewing Dad's Porter

Dad’s Porter is a chocolate vanilla porter that, much like a dad’s innate eagerness to build a fire on a camping trip, provides quite immediate relief from the most bitter bits of weather. The smooth operator includes both Dutch chocolate and vanilla in the beer, which means there are significant touches of sweetness but having said that, it's certainly not a beer that goes overboard. Sure, the beer certainly combines rich notes of intense dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla but with a roasted… Read more
Choc Vanilla Porter

Bonehead Brewing Sweet Pea

Melbourne’s a city famed for its ability to produce four seasons in one day and Sweet Pea is a beer designed to suit whichever one of those weather events happen to roll around. So while the dark lager might be inspired by those of Europe, it couldn't suit Bonehead Brewing's home city more given it could just as perfectly be paired with an afternoon in a beer garden as it could an evening sitting by an open fire. There’s a distinct array of roasted notes that bring to mind coffee, toast and… Read more
Melbourne Dark Lager

Bonehead Brewing Specials

Bonehead Brewing Falling Leaves & The Myth

Published May 10, 2023
If you're a card-carrying member of the beer bubble, it's hard to know what's the better indicator that autumn is well and truly upon us. Is it the changing colours of the trees and their fallen leaves, or is it the rise in the number of red IPAs hitting bottleshop shelves? No need to choose if you're a fan of Bonehead's beers as their 2023 autumn seasonal is both a red IPA and called Falling Leaves. Pouring a lovely ruddy chestnut colour, the brewers have managed to retain a rich citrus vibe –… Read more
West Coast Red IPA & Coffee Vanilla Imperial Stout
6.8% & 10.4%

Bonehead Brewing To The Wolves & Innuendo

Published April 24, 2023
Bonehead Brewing have been diving into the world of tiny, tiny bubbles with their duel nitro release. To The Wolves is a dry Irish stout that first saw the light of day in 2022 but has returned from the darkness with added nitro. The brewery says it’s the perfect beer for an overcast day and fortunately, there’s been no shortage of them in Melbourne to test that out. With an overarching smoothness and gentle touches of roasted espresso, dark chocolate, licorice and a dry finish, Bonehead certainly… Read more
Nitro Irish Stout & Nitro Cherry Pie Sour
4.6% & 5.6%

Bright Tank X Bonehead X Daniel Loves Beer Into The Sun '23

Published February 7, 2023
Back in April 2021, a cross-continental trio made up of Perth’s Bright Tank, Melbourne’s Bonehead Brewing and WA-based beerstagrammer Daniel Loves Beer saw the two breweries trade hazy recipes. The memories surrounding the subsequent collaboration are more cherished than many from that moment in time most would rather forget, and the second iteration of Into The Sun arrives just as the sun itself is melting the bitumen outside Bright Tank's home in Brown Street, East Perth. In refining the OG… Read more
Hazy Pale Ale

Bonehead Brewing Business Time & Elation 2023

Published January 21, 2023
There’s always a lot of cheer and celebration taking place at Bonehead Brewing but it looks like there’s that little bit more at the moment. Business Time is a celebration New Zealand, its hops and one of its greatest pop culture exports: Flight of the Conchords. If you don’t know the song and scene, here it is, whereas the hops are the much-loved Motueka, Moutere and Nelson Sauvin. Those hops bring a mix of grapefruit and gooseberry with further citrus zest part of proceedings, while the beer’s… Read more
NZ Pilsner & Barrel Aged Sour
5.4% & 5.5%

Bonehead Brewing Fail Safe & Dry Hopder

Published November 18, 2022
When you’re brewing a hoppy beer and wondering what fruit to add, passionfruit feels like a bit of a fail-safe. After all, Galaxy is a hop that tends to take the mind right there, so how can more of the fruit do any harm? Bonehead Brewing’s Fail Safe certainly has it in spades, with the hazy pale featuring passionfruit nectar alongside Galaxy and New Zealand’s Nectaron. That additional fruit adds a heavy layer of juiciness to the beer and brings a slight tartness and zest you’re more likely… Read more
Hazy Pale & IPA
6.3% & 6.7%

Mr West x Bonehead Brewing x D&K Grocery Go Kinako

Published August 26, 2022
Each year for their birthday, Mr West take a moment to celebrate the other small businesses in Melbourne’s west. For their fifth, the Footscray outfit have teamed up with the nearby Japanese grocer D&K Asian Grocery and again, they’ve recruited Bonehead Brewing to join in on the birthday fun. Go Kinako is inspired by the Kinako Mochi balls D&K supplies, with those rice cakes a particular favourite amongst Mr West crew and GO being the word for five in Japanese. The nitro stout is made… Read more
Kinako Mochi Stout

Bonehead Brewing Regeneration & Faded Memories

Published August 23, 2022
IPA isn’t a style that stands still for very long with new hops, hop products and a million and one different prefixes (we might be exaggerating here) ensuring they’re always in a state of flux. You could say that, like The Doctor† in Dr Who, they’re constantly regenerating into a new look, with a new personality while still retaining who they are at heart, or hearts rather. Bonehead Brewing’s Regeneration is an English IPA that joins their Smells Like Pop Culture series, with the beer’s… Read more
English IPA
5.3% & 7.5%

Bonehead Brewing Rauchbier & Anarchy

Published July 15, 2022
Melbourne’s Bonehead Brewing seems to be a good gauge of how craft beer currently looks, with the brewery taking inspiration from tradition and ignoring any such notions with two releases. Rauchbier is part of their Brewhouse Series and is that beer steeped in tradition, with it being inspired by Bamberg’s famous smoky lager. Pouring crystal clear with a deep amber hue, the Beechwood-smoked malts provide elements of bacon and charcoal-fired barbecue that are joined by some touches of biscuit… Read more
Rauchbier & Black Cold IPA
5.0% & 6.2%

Bonehead Brewing Choke Berry’s New Sound, Traditional Bavarian Märzen & Electric

Published June 15, 2022
Melbourne’s Bonehead Brewing have a lot of love for brewing a wide mix of beer styles and as this trio of beers shows, they tend to release beers across a wide range of styles. Certainly, the most unusual of this trio has to be Choke Berry’s New Sound – which seems fitting given the beer was brewed for GABS 2022. The mixed culture sour contains the somewhat unusual chokeberry (well, it's the first time I've tried it in a beer anyway) while also being packed with vanilla and marshmallow spread… Read more
Chokeberry & Marshmallow Sour, Märzen & Fruited Gose
7.0%, 5.5% & 4.5%

Bonehead Brewing Elation (2022) & Distraction Ale (2021)

Published February 14, 2022
Step inside Bonehead Brewing’s Kensington taproom and it won’t just be stainless steel and a bar that greets you but a selection of barrels too. The brewery always has a few beers underway in that oak and among their more longstanding releases are these two barrel-aged beers. Elation 2022 gets released towards the start of each year in honour of Bonehead’s birthday and is a mixed culture sour that was initially fermented in stainless before being left to aged on French oak before being dry… Read more
Barrel-Aged Sour & Barrel-Aged Belgian Strong Ale
5.5% & 11.0%

Bright Tank & Bonehead & Daniel Loves Beer Into The Sun

Published April 22, 2021
Collaborations have become a firm part of the beer landscape, with all manner of co-conceived creations arriving weekly. The trio of Bright Tank, Bonehead and Perth Perth beerstagrammer Daniel Rootman have launched Trading Places, a series that sees an iconic beer from a brewery brewed at the other, with a certain amount of local flair. Each version was launched at WA’s Froth Town and Victoria’s Brewer’s Feast festivals on the same weekend, omitting the need for a near 3500km road trip as part… Read more
Australian Hazy Pale

Bonehead Brewing Almost Famous (RETIRED)

Breweries might largely get to decide which beers they brew but sometimes working out what’s in a core range is a little more complex. There can be moments when limited releases prove so popular that they’re drawn to a more permanent spot, with their fame growing so great that you can’t let them disappear for very long at all. Bonehead Brewing’s Almost Famous is such a beer, with the somewhat unusual combination of pomegranate and lime so popular the sour is allowed to share a ride on the… Read more
Pomegranate & Lime Sour