Brisbane ferries and breweries

The last time I gave Brisbane a good shake was 2017. I like Brisbane. It was my home between 1976 and 1978 and my great mate, Tony from Toowoomba now calls Brisvegas home. Long time readers of Back of the Ferry will remember Tony’s missives when he was BotF’s China correspondent. Back in 2017, Tony and I hit up Newstead and Green Beacon and I left no stone unturned in the West End. I’m back 5 and a half years later – and OMG – so many new places to try! So much so – that this shall be a story in two parts.

Often my trips to Brisbane mean going to the Convention Centre, which is near the Brisbane River. Known as the Brown Snake due to its turbidity, the river is serviced by a free ferry – the CityHopper. And fortuitously, two outstanding (relatively) new breweries are adjacent to two of the stops.

I hopped aboard one of the KittyCats (as they are called) at the Maritime Museum wharf after having a couple at the very good Hop and Pickle Bar in SouthBank. The KittyCats are not big, but there is a little area out the back where you can get a 360 degree perspective. The Kangaroo Point cliffs are spectacular and were the source of much of the stone used to build Brisbane’s colonial buildings. Convicts were very useful. Quarrying only stopped in the 1970s.

First stop was the Holman Street wharf, which is fortuitously less than 200m walk to the outstanding Sea Legs Brewing Co. This brewery offers plenty of space, some great beers and a great vibe. The industrial warehouse was converted to a brewery in late 2018 and the punters were pouring in on a Tuesday night. I love the mezzanine platform to get a view of the expanse of the fit-out. Sea Legs have a solid core range, and over the years have pumped over 150 different beers. Beer of the Day was the Dungeon Juice – a grapefruit IPA. Got to love a core IPA that is 7.5%.

If Sea Legs Brewing was expansive, Felons Brewing Co is positively gigantic. I reckon you could see it from space. It is a two stop trip from Holman Street to the Howard Street Wharves. The Howard Street ferry terminal was only opened in 2020. There’s actually two sites to Felons, the brewery and the barrel hall. My favourite aspect of the brewery was the extraordinarily long boardwalk along the banks of the Brisbane River.

Felons only opened in 2018, but I reckon can’t be many more quintessential Brisbane experiences that sipping a Felons Crisp Lager along side the Story Bridge at sunset. Another Back of the Ferry member really rates the food and like everything about Felons the pizza ovens are enormous. I am looking forward to another longer visit.

I snuck a last visit to the OG site of the oldest family owned breweries in Brisbane. The Newstead Brewing Doggett Street site in Newstead is closing down as a taproom. Newstead is almost 10 years old and they’ve been through some tough times. They’ve survived, but the Doggett Street site hasn’t. Brisbane’s brewery scene keeps developing.

Sea Legs Brewing Co: 89 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, QLD

Felons Brewing Co: 5 Boundary Street, Brisbane, QLD