In part one of our guide to the Sunshine Coast, we toured the breweries in the lower half of the coast, from Caloundra up to Nambour. Here, in part two, we’re moving on up to explore the rest of the region's breweries from Coolum to Cooran.
In the final instalment, it's time to showcase some of the best bars and bottleshops found on the Sunny Coast.
If the fact that we need three articles to cover the Sunshine Coast isn't a clear enough tip as to how big (and full of breweries) the region is, all you have to do is look at a map.
“Most people don’t realise the vast distance between Moffat Beach in the south to Noosa Hinterland Brewing in the north, and Brouhaha in Maleny to the west,” says Josh Donohoe of Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours. “This has opened up an opportunity for tour companies... but can provide challenges to some breweries due to lack of transport and foot traffic.”
Josh has been driving vans to breweries up and down the coast for years, but you only have to do it once to get a feel for the size of the region. Luckily, it can be a pleasant drive: you can follow the coastline for an almost uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean, or you can wind your way through the farms and forests of the green hinterland areas.
And whether you’ve snagged yourself a selfless designated driver or you’re aboard a tour van, it’s time to explore the breweries in the upper half of the Sunshine Coast.
When the time came for the Blackflag crew to build their own brewery, they very much took the "go big or go home" approach. Spoiler alert: they didn’t go home.
Blackflag built their brewery and taproom – nicknamed The Compound – in an industrial estate in Coolum, and it’s a place where the skate-obsessed, tattoo-happy team are always keen to amp up the excitement.
The first thing that hits you is the massive wall of colour: it’s a vibrant mural painted by artist and co-owner Ross Holloway, and you can see the vivid pink and purple and green a mile away. By the time you head up the stairs and are close enough to appreciate the details of the mural, you’re on an astroturf patio packed with picnic tables and umbrellas, with festoon lights hung overhead. Continue inside and there are two large TVs showing action sports – think surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross, etc – and a third with a Playstation console.
If you’re after more entertainment options still, the downstairs area has ping pong, air hockey, corn hole, a couple of pinball machines and an arcade game table. Get your play on in the presence of the stainless steel tanks.
Oh, speaking of the stainless steel tanks – did I mention there’s beer here? There’s so much stimulation for the senses before you even get to the bar, you’re not to blame if you get momentarily distracted. But there is indeed plenty of beer here; the Compound is where the Blackflaggers brew their volume. The bar has a bank of eight taps pouring their (mostly hoppy) beers, spanning the drinkability dial from "smash it" to "don’t let it smash you".
PS The tasting paddles are skateboard decks. Sick!*
Make your way to 10 Lomandra Place, Coolum Beach. You couldn’t miss The Compound if you tried.
* Are the cool kids still saying "sick"? [My 12-year-old certainly does, bro. Whether she's cool or not, however... – Editor]
Terella isn’t like other breweries.
Where else do people bring not just picnic rugs and camping chairs, but even gazebos to set up on the grass? Where else do you find groups and families spread out over a huge expanse of open space around the brewery, with kids aplenty running around, riding bikes, kicking footballs, and playing on the grass?
And speaking of kids: what other brewery has goats?! And miniature ponies! And ducks! And chickens! Terella has The Farmyard; basically a petting zoo where you can hang out with a bunch of animals between 10am and 1pm on weekends.
It’s hard to overstate Terella’s popularity as a destination. I turned up before midday on a Sunday, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you there were around 200 cars there, and not many of those cars brought just one or two people.
But it’s equally easy to understand its popularity; the place as a lot going for it. A trip to Terella is a full sensory experience. Hear the distant mooing of cattle grazing in the paddock over. Smell the wood-fired pizza (from one of two food trucks). Watch the animals potter around, living their little animal lives. Feel the sun wash over your skin and the grass under your feet.
And as for taste? Well. There are 12 taps of beer (the Mango XPA is a crowd favourite) and three taps of non-beer options, as well as cheese boards and the aforementioned food trucks. Your tastebuds are spoiled for choice.
If the perpetual party-on-the-grass isn’t what you’re after, you can sit in the brewery and check out the German-style horizontal fermenters, the wooden barrels and the canning line. Because yes, you can absolutely show up to Terella simply to enjoy the beer. It’s just that most people come here for so much more.
Terella Brewing is at 196 Bunya Road, North Arm. You’ll feel like you’re going a little bit rural, but don’t worry - you’ll know you’re there when you see all the happy people.
The traditional country pub looms large in Aussie ocker mythology.
The Imperial Hotel Eumundi is more than a hundred years old, rustic but clean, and is abuzz with both men and women from near and far. And, as the home of Eumundi Brewery, it offers four taps of extremely local beer after brewing was brought back through a joint venture between the owners and Lion.
Two of the taps are hooked up to serving tanks in the brewery just metres away, serving up some of the freshest beer on the coast. The Refreshing Lager carries the legacy of the Eumundi Lager of the 80s and 90s but with New World hops to give it a fruity twist, while the mid-strength Pale Ale balances out tropical hops with resiny hops. The other taps offer up seasonals, often infused with locally grown produce or botanicals to give them a distinctly Eumundi flavour.
Many of the town’s residents moved to Eumundi for the slow lifestyle and artistic vibe, so sit out in the bohemian beer garden to rub shoulders with the creative regulars. But, if you’re there for the serenity, be warned: the hotel’s interior bar and beer garden will be full to the brim on Wednesdays and Sundays, as the Eumundi Markets across the road draw quite a crowd. On those days, better to take your drink up to the verandah and let the live music drift up to you.
The Eumundi Brewery is part of the Imperial Hotel Eumundi, which is at 1 Etheridge Street, Eumundi – it’s the big hotel on the corner across from the renowned Eumundi Markets.
Heads of Noosa
Noosa is known for its natural beauty, surf culture and pulsing nightlife. But in recent years it’s been developing an equally strong reputation for quality food and drink offerings – including a few breweries that are absolutely nailing it. One of them is Heads of Noosa, a brewery with grand ambitions to pump local beer through the veins of Noosa, the Sunshine Coast, and further afield.
Every beer that comes out of Heads of Noosa is a lager. The “L” word spent a few years in the doghouse while the craft beer movement was kicking off, but the independent beer scene is welcoming it back with open arms. Heads of Noosa's team explores the breadth and depth of lagers: pale lagers, amber lagers, dark lagers, lagers that focus on drinkability, lagers that focus on malt notes, lagers that focus on hop character… you name it.
The brewery’s taproom has a clean, modern aesthetic: white tiled walls, a white marble bar top, expansive polished concrete floors, and the words “BREW IT”, “DRINK IT” and “ENJOY IT” laser cut into the matte black steel of the bar tables. Seafood and smoked meats make up the bulk of the food menu, just begging to be accompanied by schooners of crisp lager: the Japanese Style Lager cuts through heavy flavours like a hot katana through butter, and the Amber Lager’s subtle but complex malt character reveals itself like the first stars after sunset.
Along one wall of the taproom is a full-length viewing window that looks into the brewery itself. You don’t have to be an expert to recognise that this is a sizeable operation; Heads of Noosa is the largest brewery on the Sunny Coast, and the 100hL fermenters tower above you at a scale to challenge the rocky headlands after which the brewery is named.
If you’re lucky enough to be around at brewery tour time, you’ll get the opportunity to chat with the owners about their big tanks and big plans, check out one of the most amped-up pilot systems around, and gawk at a bottling line with more gears than every vehicle in Mad Max.
And later, when you’re out and about and you notice bars all around the Sunshine Coast pouring HoN’s Japanese Style Lager, you see that the brewery’s grand ambitions are being realised.
Heads of Noosa is at 85 Rene Street, Noosaville, standing tall behind the Noosa Civic Centre. The taproom is open Wednesday to Sunday, so head over and settle in for a session.
Boiling Pot Brewing Co bears a name that plants it firmly in its place: "Boiling Pot" refers to one of the headlands in Noosa National Park, but it’s also an oblique reference to a brewing vessel. Neat.
The Noosaville brewery and taproom opened in 2019, and it’s been thriving ever since. Half of the shed is full to the brim with stainless steel tanks (peek behind the bar and you’ll see what I mean – they really pack them in!), while the other side is a comfortable taproom with plenty of inviting spots in which to suck down a few brews.
The brewery’s logo is a pandanus tree, which holds the essence of the Sunshine Coast. Boiling Pot’s beers do the same thing: they’re designed to be well-suited to the gorgeous climate of the coast. There’s Bat Migration, an easy-drinking schwarzbier that’s perfect for summer days when you’d like those deeper malty notes but in crisp lager form; 22 Patels, an IPA with quiet bitterness but loud tropical hops; or, if you’re trying to be on your best behaviour, you can always stick to the… erm, Best Behaviour, which is their mid-strength.
The food menu is quite a step above your average pub grub. It includes a fair amount of seafood – think garlic prawns, salt and pepper calamari, smoked trout, and creamy Belgian white wine mussels – as well as fancy share plates of cheese, charcuterie or Bavarian sausages. There are also Roman style pizzas with a few local twists; alongside some familiar offerings, you’ll also see toppings like caramelised red wine onions, Mary Valley goat’s cheese, San Daniel prosciutto, Bundaberg potato and Pomona organic honey.
Once you’ve got your beer and food, pull up a stool next to a wooden barrel on the mezzanine or sit outside at a table on the astroturf to get the alfresco experience. Or, if you prefer to sit inside as the golden sunset pours in the open roller door, go for your life. They’re all good options.
Boiling Pot Brewing sits on the corner at 130A Eumundi Noosa Rd, Noosaville.
Land & Sea
Life is all about finding the balance. Work and play. Rustic design and refined taste. Hot days and cold beer. And when you’re after a brewery that understands the need for balance: Land & Sea.
An oasis in an industrial area of Noosaville, Land & Sea’s brewery taproom provides balance in all the best ways.
At an aesthetic level, it balances industrial with organic: there’s polished concrete and stainless steel, but also hardwood panelling, hanging plants and abundant natural light. The venue feels open and airy, with a full third of the venue set up as outdoor patio space and bifold doors that open up to give the entire place an indoor-outdoor vibe. Shiny brewing tanks give a schmick modern feel, while vintage Honda motorbikes on the gangway above the bar remind of the glory of days gone by.
The food menu is a balanced one as well – classic pub grub stands shoulder to shoulder with fancier items like Italian BBQ pork ribs or Asian duck salad – and designed to hold its own as you get your drink on. There’s plenty of variety among the approachable range of beers: the almost copper-coloured First Point Pale has a solid malt foundation, the Juicebox IPA is all about those fruity hops, and I’ll let you figure out what the laid-back Mango Sour brings to the table. Or if you’re looking for some easy drinking with no thinking, the retro-looking Noosa Beer is the brewery’s answer to the classic Aussie lagers of yesteryear.
It’s hard to rave on about balance when there’s only one category of drink, but Land & Sea has its bases covered. If you’re into quality spirits and cocktails, check out the vodka, gin and whisky made and aged on site. Book yourself a brewery and distillery tour to get a peek into the brewing and distilling side of things, and a guided tasting through both sides of the operation as well.
Whether it’s been a hard day at work or a slow and breezy weekend, Land & Sea will welcome you at 19 Venture Drive, Noosaville.
Copperhead Restaurant Brewery
When it comes to beverages sitting alongside good food at restaurants, wine has typically been seen as the respectable choice at proper establishments. Which means it’s always refreshing to see beer recognised for its quality and versatility as an accompaniment to well-made dishes, especially by people who take their food seriously.
Or, put simply: it’s nice to see a good restaurant that serves good beer. Better again that they make the beer themselves.
Twenty minutes inland from Noosa, Copperhead Restaurant Brewery in Cooroy is such a venue. The locals know it well. The road trippers return to it again and again. The tourists find it and love it.
Walk into Copperhead and you find yourself in a restaurant-with-a-brewery rather than brewery-with-a-restaurant. Dark timber and warm lighting bring a calm and intimate feel, creating the perfect atmosphere for a slow meal with good company.
The menu changes seasonally, with fresh produce and glimpses at elevated dining without getting hoity-toity. The entrées and share platters offer a blend of cuisines, while the mains focus on proteins and simpler sides. Each dish on the mains menu also comes with a recommended beer match so you can pair your flavours as intended by the chef and brewer.
If you’re after something more casual, lunchtime includes the option of burgers and pizzas, but expect something a step up from your local takeaway joint. And, of course, punters are always welcome to just come in for a few beers at the bar – this is a brewery, after all. The back corner houses the 200L Braumeister brew kit responsible for the tipples, as well as four Tasmanian whisky barrels where dark beers wait patiently for their release.
The beers spread across the 15 taps are usually straightforward styles, and typically spot on. When you realise you shouldn’t taste them all in one sitting – or you discover a firm favourite – turn your eyes to the takeaway fridge full of four-packs.
Copperhead’s brick-and-glass building is easy to spot on the corner at 52 Kauri Street, Cooroy. If you don’t get a chance to taste their barrel-aged beers while you’re at the restaurant, grab a bottle or two to take away. You won’t regret it.
Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co
The ALFREDSONS JOINERY sign has graced the old timber building on King St in Cooran for over 90 years. The larger Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co sign is much newer, but the brewery hasn’t wasted any time becoming part of the furniture in Cooran.
Old timber and corrugated iron keep the spirit of the old joinery alive, and the long verandah down the side lets you look over the countryside and enjoy the sunset while being surrounded by bits and pieces of Australiana. John and Cara Tynan own and run the place, with Cara managing the venue and John on the tools. They focus on community as much as they beer, bringing all the best bits of a country pub while avoiding the more unpleasant aspects.
Grab a paddle of four of the rotating brews to get a taste of what’s coming through the brewhouse recently; there’s always a nice spread of flavours with a rotating hoppy tap, sesh tap, lager tap and dark tap among the options. Or, if you want to feel like a timber worker having knock-offs, drink like a local with the Cooran Crusher and the Pre-Cut Pale Ale.
To be honest, it’s hard not to feel like a local here. Cara is always up for a chat, sharing some local knowledge about the area and letting you know what goods are coming out of the kitchen at the moment. And if you’re there on your own, there are often regulars at the big table inviting you to bring your beer over and join them for a chinwag.
Depending on when you’re around, the brewpub runs all kinds of events from Paint ’n’ Sip to trivia to BYO vinyl sessions. Even on a regular Friday night or Saturday arvo, you’ll find a handful of games to play and a gorgeous setting for a drink and a feed.
Noosa Hinterland Brewing Co is in the old joinery building at 28 King Street, Cooran. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Bring your mates. Take a load off.
- Diablo Co, 104 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye - They don’t have a taproom proper, but if you go to the Woombye distillery on Friday from 1pm to 5pm or 11am ro 4pm on weekends, they offer free tastings on the deck; you can try their entire range of ginger beer, spirits and liqueurs at no cost. Not a bad afternoon.
- Jarrah Boy – Jarrah Boy brew their beers on Kabi Kabi Country, at Boiling Pot. While they don’t have their own location for you to visit, keep an eye out for their beers on tap and in fridges while you’re on the coast - the beers are all made with native Australian ingredients from Indigenous farmers and harvesters.
- Eco Brewing Co at Habitat, Lake Flat Rd, Boreen Point – Habitat Noosa Everglades Eco Camp is a good spot for family camping: you can watch the kids from about a kilometre away over the grassy fields, and there are worse things than relaxing on the bank of Lake Cootharaba. And if you head into CootharaBAR and Bistro, you can drink Eco Brewing Co’s beers. It’s not a full brewing setup (they get high gravity wort in and blend it with natural filtered water from the Cooloola Sandmass aquifer), but it’s cold beer right there for you while you’re camping or glamping.
If you’re still not done hearing about the breweries of the Sunshine Coast, you can check out Sunshine Coast tourism’s podcast where they chat with the breweries of the region.
You'll find the breweries above alongside hundreds of other good beer venues in the free Crafty Pint app.
Watch this space for when we wrap up this guide with the best venues and bottleshops on the Sunshine Coast.