Start your brewery hop in Collingwood, an inner north neighbourhood that's a vibrant hub for Melbourne's craft and microbreweries. Make an afternoon and evening of it – check opening times for each brewery before you go and whether advance bookings are required.
Seat yourself at a sunny trestle table at Fixation Brewing, award-winning brewers specialising in fresh, floral, hoppy IPA. Order a paddle for tasting and compare notes with friends. There are regular favourites as well as seasonal specials pouring from the taps, and vegan wood-fired pizza from Red Sparrow.
Wander along Hotham Street to Wellington Street, where wee Molly Rose awaits less than five minutes away. This modest-sized bar and cellar brews and pours small-batch craft beer inspired by owner Nic's global travels: discover new flavours such as Japanese-inspired dark lager or a sour citrus coffee ale.
Farewell Molly and stroll down Wellington Street to Sackville Street for a brew at The Mill Brewery. In the spirit of Collingwood's working-class, industrial roots, this small team pours around a dozen brews from a revamped former mechanics shop, complete with roller door. Relax outside and sample the rotating menu of handcrafted traditional and speciality brews.
Freshen up on the 10 to 15-minute walk along Johnston Street to Bodriggy Brewing Co. Another spot in a former mechanics shop, this vivacious brew hall has a huge bar pouring frothies from more than 64 taps. It's an ideal spot to tuck into some Latin American-inspired dishes.
Explore Abbotsford's side streets or cut straight along bustling Hoddle Street (10 minutes on foot) to your next local brewery stop. Spacious neighbourhood beer hall Stomping Ground Brewing Co serves up fresh brews that'll appeal to any trail hopper, from laid-back socialisers to adventuring aficiondos.
From there it's quick hop for some intergalactic brewing at Moon Dog Craft Brewery. Rest back indoors or out under the umbrellas, add on another wood-fired pizza, and cruise through far-out flavours from Ogden Nash's Pash Rash (raspberry candy imperial stout) to Splice of Heaven (pine-lime ice cream IPA).
Pioneering independent brewery Mountain Goat is a snappy 20-minute walk away in Richmond. Savour an award-winning range of classic Aussie brews, barrel-aged beer and other limited releases direct from the airy red-brick warehouse brewery (limited opening hours, so check the website).
If they're not open (or even if they are), head straight down River Street to Burnley Brewing tap house on Bridge Road. Keep your tastebuds happy with a last stop of innovative creations poured straight from the barrel. Maybe a lemongrass and pear saison takes your fancy? Pub grub seals the deal.
Flip the direction of your tour, or start in the middle if you fancy: Burnley Brewing, Bodriggy and Fixation usually open from lunch at weekends.