Food and Drink

These are Australia’s Best Brew Pubs as Voted by You

The best places to crack a cold one.

best brew pubs australia

We independently source all of the awesome products and experiences that we feature on Thrillist. If you buy or book from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission—which in turn supports our work.

It’s International Beer Day today, and we’re celebrating by cracking a cold one with friends and family in one of Australia’s best brew pubs. Although with well over 500 brewpubs in the country, finding the best is not easy.

Hospitality innovator me&u has done the hard work for us and asked the public to vote on not only the best brew pubs but the best beers. It comes as no surprise that The Great Northern (Super Crisp) is the most popular choice across the country. It also takes the top spot in the ACT and NT and is second most popular in QLD.

Local Pale Ale Balter XPA stands out in the second spot in NSW and third in VIC. No surprise Queensland brewed XXXX Gold ranked in the top three in QLD as the tried and tested favourite. 

As for the best brew pubs, here are the top 10 according to me&u.

  1. Moon Dog Brewing, Abbostford VIC
  2. Mudgee Brewing Company, Mudgee NSW
  3. Swell Brewery Co., Mclaren Vale SA
  4. 4 Pines Brew Pub, Manly NSW
  5. CoConspirators Brew Pub, Brunswick VIC
  6. Felons Brewing Co., Brisbane QLD 
  7. Cascade Brewery Bar, Hobart TAS 
  8. Devils Hollow Brewery, Dubbo NSW
  9. Bailey Brewing Co., Henley Brook WA
  10. 6 Tanks Brew Pub, Darwin NT 

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Food and Drink

Why Makrut Lime Makes a Star Ingredient in Cocktails

The Southeast Asian citrus is intensely aromatic and pairs with rum, gin, tequila, and more.

Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks
Photo courtesy of Fish Cheeks

I grew up with a makrut lime tree in my backyard, admiring the double leaves and dimpled citrus fruit that frequently made their way into our family dinners. Makrut limes, which are sometimes referred to kaffir limes (although the term is controversial and has been widely retired), are native to Southeast Asia, but somehow my mom willed a tree to grow in our Southern California home with great success.

To me, makrut meant savoury Thai food: steamed fish curry wrapped in banana leaves and sprinkled with chiffonade makrut, simmering tom kha gai with floating bits of the hand-torn citrus leaves, and glistening green curry accentuated by the plant’s aroma.

But to others, makrut is an ideal ingredient in cocktails and other drinks. Such is the case for Fish Cheeks, a Thai restaurant in Manhattan known for its seafood dishes and eclectic, complementary cocktail menu. Beverage director Beau Fontano knew he had to include makrut in his creations, especially because the ingredient is so prominent on the food menu. Makrut lime finds its way in several drinks, most notably as a garnish atop the Thank You Kha, a riff on the acidic coconut stew tom kha gai, and the Manao Mao, a rum-based drink that uses makrut lime bitters.

“I don’t love using the word tiki, but if you think of those tiki rum cocktails, makrut definitely works well in those,” Fontano says. “But I also love it in martinis-there’s something really clean about it. And with makrut lime, if you’re just using the leaves, you can do a lot of rapid infusions.”

Fontano only uses the leaves, because the rinds and juice of makrut limes are famously bitter. “Regular lime has a little bit more sugar content, so that’s why it’s much more approachable in cocktails. Makrut limes tend to be more dry,” he explains. “But when you use the leaves in cocktails, you just smack it to wake it up a little bit and it gets that nice citrusy, refreshing aroma which is really fun.”

The leaves are cut fresh, so each drink has the scent of makrut lime leaves wafting off of them. “I’m sure at one point I will get around to it and try to figure out how to use the juice,” he laughs.

Further north at Paper Tiger in Portland, Maine, makrut lime leaves are also prevalent in a cocktail called Something Scandalous, a tequila-based drink intended to be, in the words of bartender Nick Reevy, “crushed easily.”

Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger
Paper Tiger

“I went with tequila, specifically, because in Maine it’s 80 degrees and humid pretty much all summer,” Reevy explains. “So I made something you kick back easily. Agave has a really nice softness that elevates the makrut lime, and the main flavour in that drink is the Thai basil.”

The drink is an alluring shade of green and is rounded out by cinnamon syrup and falernum. “Makrut lime is really herbal and bright in a way no other citrus is,” Reevy adds. “It’s interchangeable with other limes, but it just adds this whole other depth of flavour.”Makrut lime has even made its way into hard seltzer, albeit a limited edition drop from Lunar. Founder Kevin Wong knew he wanted to add another citrus drink to his rotation as he witnessed the successes of hard lemonades, but already had a yuzu iteration. Makrut lime seemed like a natural follow-up.

Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar
Photo courtesy of Lunar

“It has a very intense citrus fragrance, almost perfumey or soapy,” Wong ponders. “Like I could see Le Labo putting out a makrut lime fragrance. It has such a commanding presence and body.”

To tamper down some of the boldness of the makrut lime, the hard seltzer uses makrut lime leaf extract, lime juice, and cane sugar. The aromatics of the lime are present without too much bitterness; instead, the seltzer is grassy, acidic, and dry. Wong recommends pairing the can with spicy foods, especially Szechuan dry pot.

The makrut lime seltzer is currently sold out, and Wong is unsure whether or not another batch is in the works. “I feel like makrut lime is the greatest secret unknown to the Western world,” he says. “It’s in medicine, candy, herbal drinks, cosmetics and aromatherapy. I think we did the seltzer too early, and I don’t know if the world is ready for us to bring it back yet. Maybe in a couple of years.”

But judging by the growing popularity of makrut lime in beverage menus, the comeback might be sooner than he expects.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.