Where to try real cider in Melbourne?
It’s one of the common challenges we hear from people who want to try some new real cider. Where can I go to find some? Yes, there is cider everywhere, but most of it is low quality, concentrate based pre-mix style cider, made by your favourite international brewing giant. Where is the real cider?
As cider fanatics based in Melbourne, we have travelled all over the city to locate establishments where we can find real cider. And, it has to be said, they are few and far between. This is why we created The Cider Link in the first place. With that being said, there are lots of places that are starting to have a half decent cider on tap, or maybe one in the fridge, but very few that have a solid range to try. That’s what we’re focused on here: the top 3 cider destinations in Melbourne to try a range of high quality, real cider.
All of these establishments are independent companies, not owned by one of the huge conglomerates that are so dominant in Australia, and they all take cider seriously. In each and every one of these places you can talk to a member of staff who knows about the different styles and has, god forbid, actually tasted them and can offer you advice and recommendations. If you want to learn about cider then these are good places to start. So, without further ado, here are our best picks:
This is a small chain of independent, family run wine stores. Blackhearts and Sparrows is the passion project of two siblings: Jess and Paul Ghaie (below). Their focus is wine, and the selection is quite spectacular, but they also stock a good variety of craft beers, spirits and ciders. They support independent producers and don’t let the size of the company get in the way of getting them on the shelf. You won’t find any mass market products here, this is boutique only.
Think Willie Smith’s special edition range, French ciders from Normandy and Red Sails from Tasmania, one of Australia’s most highly regarded ciders. There is going to be something here to get your mouth watering. The stores themselves are beautiful as well. Simple, stripped down design, low lighting, lots of wood, it feels nice just being in the space. They have 7 stores in Melbourne, in all the trendy areas.
Source: On The Grid
They are known to go the extra mile in creating a unique customer experience. Last Christmas we visited their Fitzroy store which has transformed into a sandy beach, completed with a palm tree and a sun bed. It definitely got us into the cocktail mood. If you are after a wonderful experience, check out any of their 7 stores:
Brunswick, 379 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 3056
East Brunswick, 131 Lygon Street, East Brunswick, 305
St Kilda East, 186 Carlisle Street, East St Kilda
Fitzroy, 123 Smith St, Fitzroy, 3065
Fitzroy North, 119 Scotchmer Street, North Fitzroy, 3068
Kensington, 516 Macaulay Road, Kensington, 3031
Richmond, 202 Swan Street, Richmond, 3121
This is not a bottle shop, this is a pub that is dedicated to cider. Yes, you read that right, this is Australia’s first venue that is dedicated to cider. If you are looking to try some real cider in Melbourne, then this is the best place to go, hands down. It’s located on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and has a nice design inside; lots of plants and furniture made from wooden pallets, lots of space, a really pleasant spot for a pint or two.
And what about the cider? With the best range of ciders on tap I’ve seen in Australia, 14 different varieties, and over 40 varieties by the bottle, there is something for everyone. Whether you are a cider newbie or a connoisseur, you will find something that you will love here. They even have some traditional hand pumps from England, if you dare to try some farmhouse scrumpy from the old world!
You can try a tasting flight of different ciders, or set yourself up for a few hours and go on a journey through Australian craft cider, with a smattering of international winners as well (picture below). They have everything from really hearty, farmhouse ciders, to more modern Australian styles using different fruits. They also have a great range of perry, or pear cider. And, to top it off, they have a great food menu that is designed to match perfectly with the ciders. They even do a degustation menu with matching ciders. What more could you ask for?
But what if my friends don’t like cider? Do they serve anything else? Yes, they also have a range of craft beers and spirits, boutique wines and they even do cocktails too. There really is something for everyone.
Thanks to TwoSpace The Cider House transforms into a co-working space during the day. And what better way to close a work day than with a pint of the finest cider this country has to offer. The rates are competitive and let’s be honest, since cider is your thing, this is the best bar a co-working space could ever have!
Fitzroy, Brunswick St Cider House, 386-388 Brunswick St, 3065
This is a newer entry into the Melbourne liquor scene and they are smashing it! With 3 stores in Melbourne now they are growing well, and their amazing selection of craft products is one of the reasons. They boast one of the largest ranges of craft beer in Australia and have a pretty impressive range of craft ciders too. A top notch selection of boutique wines goes without saying.
Source: The Wine Rules
The ciders they stock cover a fairly broad range, from the sophisticated, multi-award winning Small Acres, to the more mainstream craft brands like Hills. They also have a smattering of international ciders in the fridges too, from France and England. And if you’re looking for some guidance, the staff are knowledgeable and can point you in the right direction. All in all, well worth a look if you happen to be close to one of their 3 stores:
Windsor, 118 Chapel Street
Fitzroy, 265 Brunswick Street
Northcote, 226 High Street
Have we missed somewhere? If you know of a great cider location that we haven’t mentioned we would love to hear about it. Let us know!