Beer is all over town, but there's something special about drinking it right where it was made. Apart from the fact breweries serve it fresher, you'll often get the chance to try new and limited releases other venues don't offer. Throw in the typical relaxed warehouse vibe, pizzas or other snacks, and these are great places to lose an entire afternoon.

Related pages:
Best Beer Shops in Melbourne
Best Beer Bars in Melbourne

Stomping Ground Brewing Co.

After many, many visits to this steampunk-lite brewery from the team at The Local Taphouse, we've come to the conclusion there's no style brewer Ashur Hall can't master. If you're settling in for a long session, the basics – pale ale, lager – are flavoursome yet drinkable. At the other end, his barleywine and milk stout are as good as any going around. Every beer is helpfully rated green, orange or red, depending on how much it will challenge drinkers.

100 Gipps Street, Collingwood

Boatrocker Barrel Room

Lots of breweries around Melbourne dabble in sour and farmhouse-style beers, but none have committed as fully as this one. Here, you drink among several hundred old wine, bourbon and whisky barrels used to age lambics, imperial stouts and more. But there are also plenty of options for more casual drinkers, including a pale ale, pilsner and the gorgeous, raspberry-infused Miss Pinky.

51 Macbeth Street, Braeside

Hop Nation

This charming 1880s warehouse is owned by two ex-winemakers, who bring a different approach to brewing. We're particular fans of Jedi Juice, their hazy, New England-style IPA, and The Sturm, which contains a five per cent concentration of wild-fermented riesling juice. Arrive early for a choice spot on the mezzanine.

6 107-109 Whitehall Street, Footscray

Moon Dog Brewery & Bar

Only in recent years have the team at Moon Dog paid attention to convention and started brewing pale ales, lagers and other barbeque-friendly beers. Before that, it wasn't unusual to arrive at the eccentric warehouse and find nothing but monstrous barrel-aged stouts and intensely sour cherry ale available. These sorts of experiments are still the main drawcard here, if you're game.

17 Duke Street, Abbotsford

Mountain Goat Brewery

Parts of the beer community were outraged when Asahi acquired Mountain Goat in 2015, but actually, not much has changed since the sale. Victoria's second-oldest craft brewery is still making an outstanding core range – including the classic Steam Ale – plus interesting one-offs and seasonals.

80 North St, Richmond

The Tasting Room at Two Birds Brewing

Australia's first fully female-owned brewery has a knack for lighter, well-balanced beers. The classic Sunset Ale pours a beautiful ruby colour with a light caramel richness in the mouth, and Taco Beer (flaked corn, coriander, fresh lime, Citra and Amarillo hops) is as fresh and zesty as you'd expect. The newer Passion Victim is another highlight.

136 Hall Street, Spotswood

The Incubator

There’s beer, and then there’s award-winning India Pale Ale served straight from the tank. Here, you’ll get the latter.

414 Smith Street, Collingwood

Bad Shepherd Brewing Co.

This is actually two breweries in one – Bad Shepherd shares the space with Wolf of the Willows, another husband-and-wife operation. Together, they produce a well-rounded offering, including the popular Hazelnut Brown Ale, with notes of vanilla. Bonus: proper American barbeque is served on-site.

386 Reserve Road, Cheltenham
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Dainton Family Brewery

It took Dan Dainton seven years to get his own brewery. And now that he does, there's no stopping his parade of cheeky, outlandish beers, such as the Bad Daughter choc-orange porter (it tastes exactly like Terry’s Chocolate Orange) and Cherry Sack Attack, a sweetish ale which uses real cherry juice and apparently, “absolutely no sack”.

560 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Carrum Downs

2 Brothers

Brothers Andrew and David Ong make their brewery feel more inclusive than most. The beers are as good as any and there's a wide variety to choose from – we like The Grizz, an American amber ale – but the environment feels a bit more pub-like and down-to-earth than most, especially when there's live music on.

4 Joyner Street, Moorabbin

Westside Ale Works

In America there's such a thing as an east or west coast-style IPA. The latter is known for its unrestrained use of big, bitter hops with tropical or resinous characters. It's this style US expat Casey Wagner loves the most and brews the best, though you'll also find pale and amber ales on offer.

23-25 Alfred Street, South Melbourne

3 Ravens

Most breweries are relaxed, but this one feels like chilling in a mate's garage. With much better beer, of course. The well-rounded selection covers classic English styles, hoppy American IPAs and sour and barrel-aged ales.

1 Theobald Street, Thornbury

Bonehead Brewing

This small, two-man operation has plenty of personality. The stand-out among is four core beers is Prickled Pink, a rich, mouth-filling wheat beer fermented with prickly pear. It also happens to be pink.

86 Parsons Street, Kensington

The Mill Brewery

This one-man operation punches well above its weight, with a vanilla porter, a black IPA and an easy-drinking American pale ale, plus other experiments and one-offs.

40 Sackville Street, Collingwood

Henry St Brewhouse

This tiny brewery still manages to pump out five core beers to thirsty locals. The setup is pretty basic, but you can order food in if you feel the need.

5 38 Barrett Street, Kensington

Burnley Brewing

A stylish brewpub putting classic Italian dishes side-by-side with American bar snacks, with a Melbourne-born brewer trained in Germany.

648 Bridge Road, Burnley
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Tallboy & Moose

Even Stomping Ground – which has a cubbyhouse – isn't as kid-friendly as this spot, where there's a small library of toys and books to keep toddlers entertained while their parents throw back easy-drinking, ultra-fresh ales.

270 Raglan Street, Preston

Thunder Road Brewing

This one is almost an anti-craft brewery. Owner Philip Withers has been drinking beer and collecting memorabilia since well before that movement came along. Bitter hop-bombs and barrel-aged beasts are available – the latter made on site in a limestone “cave”, no less – but they’re the B-team. Crowd-pleasing styles such as lager, bitter, pale ale, Kolsch and cider are the stars.

130 Barkly Street, Brunswick

Colonial Brewing Co.

Colonial Brewing is an offshoot of Colonial Leisure Group, which owns dozens of pubs across Australia. It generally sticks to lighter, more drinkable styles, but sacrifices nothing in terms of flavour. Case in point: the mid-strength Small Ale, which will keep you sensible, even if you're drinking all day.

89 Bertie Street, Port Melbourne

Fury & Son

This father-and-son operation is all about clean, easy drinkers. The core range consists of a pale ale, a pilsner and an IPA. Seasonal offerings include the refreshing Citra Sour and a deftly balanced, smoky and sweet Scotch ale.

46 Concorde Drive, Keilor Park

Temple Brewing Company

Known locally for its bicycle beer, a refreshing summer ale with seven varieties of hops. Head up to the mezzanine for a birds-eye view of the brewing process.

122 Weston Street, Brunswick East

Kooinda Boutique Brewery

Kooinda has had a tumultuous decade, with several changes in ownership. Throughout it all, its milk porter and black IPA have remained attractions worth travelling for. Another plus: the ridiculously relaxed atmosphere, which only 3 Ravens can match.

28 Culverlands St, Heidelberg West

The Public Brewery

TPD is unique among breweries in Melbourne. Here, you get to make the beer yourself. It’s common for groups such as hens or bucks nights to come in and brew beer to serve at the wedding. They can select from a range of recipes, and even create a personalised name and label. If you're just in for a drink, there are six taps pouring three house beers and three from guests.

Bottle Shop 13 Lacey Street, Croydon