No one knows where New Farm ends and Teneriffe begins or, indeed, where Teneriffe ends and Newstead begins. We all just vibe it, and use eeny-meeny-miney-mo if we have to write down an address. But, when it comes to good beer crawls in Brisbane, most Brisbanites agree that New Farm/Teneriffe/Newstead is the OG.
Brisbane was late to the game when it came to jumping aboard the good beer train – the first solid venues and many of the plethora of breweries that now call the city home opened in the early 2010s, with the Newstead area developing one of the first solid crawls by about 2013. Locals who've been along for the ride since those early days will be familiar with these venues – and will still tell you they’re nostalgic for the original Tippler’s Tap (even though you didn’t ask).
While none of us actually has enough money to live in this area, or has met anyone who has the money to live there, we love to visit the area to spend our money irresponsibly at all of these venues then wonder why we can’t afford nice things.
Stop One: Bitter Suite
Let’s begin this crawl with a level of sophistication that might not be available later on. Bitter Suite is the sort of place that’d be perfect for a first date, or a place you could happily take your mum to (not on a first date, though, please). It’s in a beautiful heritage brick building (the first of many you’ll see on this crawl), on a quiet corner in leafy New Farm (which is a tautology – everywhere in New Farm is leafy, lush, verdant, etc).
The first decision you’ll have to make is whether to sit inside or outside. Outside has wicker lounges, sunlight peeking through the trees and the option of bringing your four-legged friends to sit with you. Inside has stools gathered around tall wooden barrels, wallpaper, rare promo and retro signage and high ceilings. And is closer to the beer.
Next decision: which beer? There are eight taps, mostly serving up local pale ales, session ales, and lagers (with another 25 or so beers on the bottle menu, including some heavier and darker ones). They’ll keep your whistle wet but your palate unspoiled for the high quality food menu.
While we’ve largely moved on from the term “gastropub” (it just means a pub that serves good food as well… which is pretty much every venue’s goal nowadays), Bitter Suite definitely embodies the word. Their food ranges from bar food to fine dining, with items like sweet potato wedges and Southern fried popcorn chicken sharing the menu with polenta arancini fingers and duck pancakes. So we’ll forgive anyone who calls it a gastropub.
Bitter Suite is at 2/75 Welsby St, New Farm – just look for a brick building on a leafy, lush, verdant street.
Stop Two: Zero Fox
After leaving the spacious, cultured atmosphere of Bitter Suite, take a stroll down into Teneriffe (we think?), the longest walk of this crawl. Among all the real estate agents showcasing the incredible apartments you could never afford, and more beauty salons than you could shake your perfectly layered hair at, you may spot a little pocket of laid-back activity.
People talking at bar tables, drinking beers and snacking on edamame and gyoza, perhaps laughing a bit more loudly than the well dressed people in the nearby cafés. Above them is a small sign with a silhouette of a fox, the word ZERO written across him. The tap list is an ever-changing work of chalk art, with beer logos and decals stunningly recreated on the blackboard as the taps rotate.
Beneath a serving window are the words: “NO COFFEE NO COCKTAILS NO STRAWS NO JUICES NO XXXX NO RACISM NO SEXISM sorry, not sorry :)”
You might find yourself wondering what the good people of Teneriffe think about this edgy little bar holed up in their territory. Until you realise that the name “Zero Fox” isn’t as innocent as it first appeared, and you chuckle because this bar clearly doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.
The tap list spans Australia, regularly bringing you beers from four or five states at a time to keep your options open. There’s usually a ginger beer, a cider and a kombucha available too if any of your party is after something other than beer. Speaking of something different, don’t expect pizza and burgers here – this is a chance to try new flavour combos, with the menu boasting only Japanese and Korean delights. Slurp up some ramen with a red ale or wash down some steamed baos with a local sour beer. Or, if the menu’s a bit outside your comfort zone, ease your way in with kimchi fries or tempura onion rings.
Whether you’re more interested in sitting outside with a beer, watching the people pass by and admiring the tall, old buildings or lounging inside, playing board games in the dim glow of the bar lights and indulging in the occasional craft spirit (NOT in the form of a cocktail), you can’t stay here forever. This is a crawl. You must crawl.
To find Zero Fox, walk until you find 36 Vernon Terrace, Teneriffe. It’ll be the place with the buzz of cool people you want to hang out with.
Stop Three: Green Beacon Brewing
Following the cosy nook that is Zero Fox, your next stop is relatively monstrous: Green Beacon Brewing. Step through the gaping roller door into the cavernous brewpub and soak in the blend of industrial and nautical aesthetics. The warehouse feel is obvious, with vast expanses of concrete, steel, black, and white everywhere you look… but you’ll notice that the side wall and the bar itself are made of timber planks, and that the stools, light shades, and oil drums all pick up Green Beacon’s signature forest green. Having said this, you’ll probably spend all of five seconds appreciating the well curated interior design before charging up to the bar, wanting a beer from one of them there big beer tanks.
It’s a very immersive experience to order beer while looking at the tanks it was fermented in (literally – the tanks are behind the bartenders). While Green Beacon send their brews all over our fair country, there’s still something special about showing up to the source and having them pour you one of their own.
Time to pick your favourite brew (the bar staff will happily give you a few tasters if you’re finding it difficult to decide). Perhaps after all the walking you’ve done so far, you just need a smasher to cool you down. Their Wayfarer American Wheat will give you a gentle lychee hit. Or maybe you need a tart 7 Bells Passionfruit Gose to refresh your tastebuds in preparation for what’s still to come. If you’re ready for something with a bit more oomph, try the Windjammer IPA, which is regarded by many as Brisbane’s best IPA and can be enjoyed fresher at the Teneriffe venue than anywhere else. Or, if you’ve tried all of the core range and are interested in something new, pick whichever seasonal is on tap at the moment (autumn’s Red’s Dead Red IPA is a winner), or one of their limited releases – if you’re lucky, they’ll have a batch of one of their barrel aged beauties available for the drinkin’. (And when you find one you love, get a growler full of it – they never last long.)
You’re probably not ready for your next meal yet, but there are cheeseboards and fresh seafood options that are good for sharing around – “If I get one, will you help me eat it?”. Or, if you’re there at the right time (read: night time), grab something from whichever food truck is calling the venue home.
If you haven’t availed yourself of the facilities so far on the crawl, go here. The blokes who use the urinal have the option of looking down over the venue through a high window above the trough, which is kind of weird and kind of fun. And everyone hygienic enough to wash their hands gets to use Green Beacon’s own Beer Soap. What a delightful experience.
When you’ve all decided it’s time to move on, don’t mourn. You may be leaving one excellent brewpub, but Newstead Brewing is just a stone’s throw away.
Green Beacon is at 26 Helen St, Teneriffe. You can’t miss it – the signage and green outline help it to stand out like a… you know… beacon.
Stop Four: Newstead Brewing
Newstead Brewing opened the doors of its original brewpub in December 2013 (and has since opened a second site in Milton), but they make it feel like they’ve been here forever. Their headquarters is an old bus depot. Their murals are worn and weathered. The mature liquidambar tree out the front is the mascot for their chewy amber ale… and, in fact, almost all of their beers’ names are deeply rooted in Brisbane history. They feel like part of the texture of this city and, in many ways, they’ve become the backbone of Brisbane’s craft beer community. (Don’t tell them this. They have big enough heads already.)
You may have noticed by this point there are a few similarities between Newstead and Green Beacon – brewpub in a big industrial building, brightly coloured core range decals, Big Ass Fans on the ceiling (yes that’s what they’re actually called). But there are just as many differences.
The first you’ll see, once you've walked past the piano, are the beers from other breweries – Newstead keeps roughly nine taps for its own brews, but usually use the remainder to showcase other breweries, and also has an impressive bottle list. The next thing you can’t help but notice is the extensive back bar of spirits and wines, ready to bring some variety to the proceedings, or satisfy any hangers-on who aren’t into beer. And, while many breweries don’t do much actual brewing during opening hours, at Newstead Brewing you’ll often spot the Oompa Loompas peering into the tanks and working their mysterious magic.
The humble tasting paddle is a good option for trying Newstead’s wares. Start with one or two of their core range – can’t go past Liquidambar if you love your malt, or Out And A Bout Pale Ale if you’re after hops. Then pick a seasonal – they have a yeast-focused series named after Brisbane suburbs, so try the Nundah Hefeweizen, or the Belmont Saison. Or if you’re a lager lover, perhaps go with Drought Relief, their autumn red lager, or Westerlies, their winter black lager. Finish it off with the limited release that grabbed your attention the moment you looked at the blackboard (there’s always one). Gypsy brewing and collaborations are ingrained in Newstead Brewing’s culture, so it’s easy to try something new and support other local brewers in one fell swoop.
As for food (you must be such a fatty by now), you’ll find a full menu of quality starters, share plates and mains (HEY YOU GUYS I THINK THIS PLACE IS A GASTROPUB), but, seriously, you can’t go past their sweet potato fries. They’re covered with that zingy seasoning stuff that’s better than crack. Get two plates of them, just to make sure.
Don’t just have a drink at Newstead – have fun there. The staff are always good for a laugh and, of all the breweries in Brisbane, Newstead is voted Most Likely To Make Fun Of XXXX In Their Marketing.
Newstead Brewing is nestled in at 85 Doggett St, Newstead. Feel free to call it Oldstead, to differentiate it from their second location in Milton, affectionately called Milstead by the regulars.
Stop Five: Range Brewing
Are you sick of brewpubs yet? If you are, you may not be the right person for this Crafty Crawl. But if you’re ready for another one, brace yourself for Range Brewing.
If it’s your first time to Range, you’ll notice that everything has a pared back appeal. Vast expanses of white bricks, vibrant hanging greenery, and minimalistic furniture gives the place a Scandinavian vibe, reflective of the founders’ time in Europe during the conception phase of the brewery. Simple, functional, yet aesthetically pleasing design is king here, thanks largely to the design background of one of the owners – he designed and built the majority of furniture and fittings in the place.
There’s one element of Range that might not be apparent upon your first visit: the ever-changing beer options. Look at the tap list. All the beers there didn’t exist a few weeks ago, and won’t exist in a few weeks. The boys have opted not to have a core range, but for each batch of beer to be different to the one before. So when you find a brew you love (trust us – it won’t be hard), enjoy it, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.
If you’re after something easy drinking, there’s always some kind of Table Beer available; sit at a long concrete table and share it around, and make some new friends in the process. If you’re ready for some more oomph, Range specialises in dark, hoppy, and sour, meaning the tap list is a perpetual altar to these styles of beer. Grab whichever one has you salivating like a dog at dinnertime, and pair it with one of the rustic sourdough pizza offerings.
When it’s time to leave, grab a few cans of your favourite beer, and say a solemn goodbye to all the other ones, because chances are they won’t be here next time you come. Unless you decide to keep coming back every day to drink them while you can.
Range Brewing is at 4 Byres Street, Newstead – it’s the big black box that beckons with promises of wonders within. It's also the northernmost point on this Crawl, so spin on your heels and head back southwestwards to...
Stop Six: Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen
Intentionally or unintentionally, it’s easy for a lot of good beer venues to feel very dude-centric. Mrs Brown’s doesn’t. It has an art studio feel to it – brick exterior (no surprise there), exposed ceilings, about a thousand hanging Edison bulbs and a mural of a dog dressed like the grandma from Downton Abbey (whose name is Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Please don’t ask how I know that.) And there are more indoor plants than you can poke a stick at. Seriously, it’s a rainforest in there.
The number of plants is matched only by the number of wines on the wine list, which is kind to the non-beer-loving friends or partners who have been patiently tagging along thus far. There are also spirits aplenty, just waiting to be served up neat or as cocktails.
But we’re here for the beer. So we’ll turn to the 24 taps, most of which are crafty, local and easy drinking. You won’t find anything too challenging for the beer nerds, but it’s a good opportunity to get something from a brewery you haven’t tried before or go back to an old faithful.
If you’re all greased-out by this point and are after something light, this place has plenty of snazzy salads and veggies cooked in fancy ways. Or just get a taco wrapped in Indian Paratha bread and some smashed roast potatoes. I’m not your mum.
Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen is at 32 Commercial Road, Newstead, just waiting for you to come sit in front of the huge open window so you can see-and-be-seen, as is the custom in Newstead and Teneriffe.
Something different: New Farm Cinemas
Look. It’s not a beer venue. But it’s been an exhausting day crawling around all those places. It’s time for an extended rest.
Drag yourself inside. It’s air conditioned.
Grab a tinnie of Newstead or Fortitude beer, or maybe a schooner of Little Creatures for old time’s sake. They let you take it into the movie with you. You’ve earned it.
Head in and slump down in a comfy cinema seat to watch the film. Or, if sitting upright is a bit difficult after a long day of drinki… uh… walking, then just flop into one of the beanbags up the front.
Make sure you wake up in time for the credits.
New Farm Cinemas is at 701 Brunswick St. There’s a confectionery next door if you need some sugar to keep you going until you get home.
If you're still not sated, here's a few more venues to check out...
- The Wine Emporium, 76 Skyring Terrace (Gasworks), Newstead – A solid bottleshop in the Gasworks precinct.
- Reef Seafood, 76 Skyring Terrace (Gasworks), Newstead – A seafood and sushi place with a surprising number of crafty options.
- Cellarbrations Bowen Hills, 5/35 Campbell Street, Bowen Hills – Just down the road from Gasworks, this is arguably the best crafty bottleshop in Brisbane. It’s nicknamed Bowen Phil's, for the manager Phil who takes his role as beer gatekeeper very seriously.
- Deathproof, 697 Brunswick Street, New Farm – The bar is called Deathproof. Its motif is a skull. Enter at your own risk.
- Malt Pier, 1 Newstead Terrace, Newstead – Want brunch followed by a beer on the waterfront? Go here.
You can check out other Crafty Crawls from around the country here.