By Annette Shailer, editor Beer & Brewer
(l-r) The Union Hotel’s Wil Eastley and Luke Hiscox celebrate the win
Taking out the number one spot on Beer & Brewer’s Top 50 Metro Beer Venues for 2016 is The Union Hotel in Newtown, Sydney, while The Grain Store in Newcastle has secured pole position on Beer & Brewer’s Top 15 Regional Beer Venues.
Upping its craft game to full throttle this year, The Union Hotel has 22 taps hosting a rotating list of every beer on, and off, the spectrum.
“We’re ecstatic. It’s an honour to be mentioned along with these other great venues, let alone come out number one,” The Union Hotel general manager Luke Hiscox told Beer & Brewer.
“We’ve had an incredibly busy year, renovating the back bar, taking over the kitchen while listening to our punters on what they want out of their local. We’re incredibly grateful for all the support they’ve given us, and our whole team love sharing great events and enjoying quality beers with them.
“The quality and innovation of the brewers we’ve been fortunate enough to work with this year has been amazing. The industry is such a fast moving and creative space to be a part of and we’re just lucky we’ve got so many breweries constantly throwing better beer at us. We can’t get enough of it.”
Last year’s winner The Local Taphouse in St Kilda came in second, followed by The Welcome Hotel in Rozelle, Forest Lodge Hotel in Sydney’s Inner West and Dutch Trading Co. in Victoria Park, WA.
For the first time, we split the list into metro (Top 50) and regional (Top 15), to help get an even better spread of great beer venues to visit across the country. We used Australia Post’s definition of regional and metro areas to define this split.
We saw a diverse range of states featured in the Top 15 Regional Beer Venues, with The Grain Store in Newcastle coming out on top, followed by Black Bunny Kitchen in Alexandra Headland, QLD, Saint John Craft Beer Bar in Launceston, TAS, The Pourhouse in Dunsborough, WA and The Spotted Cow in Toowoomba, QLD rounding out the top five.
The Top 10 Metro Australian Beer Venues are:
- The Union Hotel, Newtown, NSW
- The Local Taphouse, St Kilda, VIC
- The Welcome Hotel, Rozelle, NSW
- Forest Lodge Hotel, Forest Lodge, NSW
- The Dutch Trading Co., Victoria Park, WA
- The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst, NSW
- Bitter Phew, Darlinghurst, NSW
- Royal Albert Hotel, Surry Hills, NSW
- Great Northern Hotel, Carlton, VIC
- The Scratch, Milton, QLD
The Top 10 Regional Australian Beer Venues are:
- The Grain Store, Newcastle, NSW
- Black Bunny Kitchen, Alexandra Headland, QLD
- Saint John Craft Beer Bar, Launceston, TAS
- The Pourhouse, Dunsborough, WA
- The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
- Weldborough Hotel, Weldborough, TAS
- The Dispensary Bar & Diner, Bendigo, VIC
- The Little Prince, Wollongong, NSW
- The Mallow Hotel, Ballarat, VIC
- Stein’s Taphouse and Wine Bar, Nuriootpa, SA
The list was compiled with the help of 22 industry experts, including Ian Kingham, Matt Kirkegaard, Kirrily Waldhorn and Chris McNamara. Each expert voted for their five favourite venues, with the scoring weighted so those at the top of the panellists’ lists scored higher than those at the bottom. There was no strict criteria, judges voted based on the range and choice of beers, the quality of service and staff knowledge, and venue atmosphere.
The complete list of the top 50 beer venues and top 15 regional beer venues, together with judges’ comments, can be found in the Spring Issue of Beer & Brewer, which is on sale now in newsagents, liquor stores and home brewer shops. You can subscribe to Beer & Brewer here.