Since Batch Brewing opened Marrickville's first craft brewery on Sydenham Road in 2013, the inner west suburb's craft beer scene has exploded.
"It's become a destination in its own right," says Mike Clarke, president of the Inner West Brewery Association and founder of Mitchell Street brewery Sauce.
"Marrickville attracts breweries because it's the closest suburb to the city that still has industrial land available, and the population is very receptive to what we're doing."
The suburb's latest drawcard is the 1200 square-metre Bob Hawke Beer and Leisure Centre on Sydney Street, a spectacular homage to the late Prime Minister and 1980s Australiana.
Hawke's Brewing co-founder Nathan Lennon says choosing Marrickville was "a given".
"It's a one-stop-shop. People know they can come to Marrickville, walk no further than a kilometre, and hit six or seven breweries," he says.
Meanwhile, Mixtape Brewing & Bar opened its lush indoor beer garden – featuring 28 skylights and dozens of plants – on Victoria Road in late February. Co-founder Jason Newton says the location gave the brewery an immediate boost in visitor numbers.
"Self-guided brewery tours are a big thing here, so there are lots of groups just flowing from one brewery to the next," he says.
"We haven't done a lot of advertising, but we've been busy. It's just word of mouth."
US-born co-founder of Wildflower Brewing & Blending Topher Boehm says the brewing community in Marrickville is unlike anywhere else in the world.
"I've travelled extensively for beer and what we have as Sydneysiders and brewers in Marrickville is totally unique," says Boehm.
"There's strength in numbers. Having a lot of breweries located really close to one another allows us to develop our own spaces and our own brands a little bit more, rather than needing to cater for everyone."
The close proximity has fostered a sense of community between brewers, as they help each other with technical questions, stock shortages, and the ever-important beer tasting.
"I've heard it described as 'co-opetition'," says Clarke.
"What's good for one is good for all. It's kind of like a wine region in that everyone is working together to encourage more people to visit."
Those considering a brewery crawl are spoiled for choice. Where abandoned Marrickville factory walls once reverberated with the bass of underground rave parties, they're now pumping with some of the most unique beers in the country.
Last week, punters were welcomed back to the refurbished cellar doors of Wildflower's converted 1890's metal foundry. The walls are lined with French oak barrels, where beer fermented with yeasts foraged from nature are aged for up to two years, creating a "very different flavour profile", says Boehm.
"So many people come into our brewery saying they don't drink beer and end up leaving with something in their hands, maybe because the archetype of beer they have in their head is so different to what we're offering," says the brewer.
"And if that's not what someone is looking for, we can recommend other breweries to visit."
For the less adventurous quaffer, Hawke's head brewer says he makes "beer for beer drinkers".
"We're a good introduction for people who might otherwise be intimidated by the idea of going to a brewery," says Lennon.
"We wanted to create a positive experience so people can then go to other breweries in the area with confidence and share the love."
Back on Victoria Road, Newton plans to "have a bit of fun" brewing experimental, small-batch beers at Mixtape, but says his brewery deliberately caters to all tastes, with a full bar also stocking spirits and wine.
"I find going to a brewery can be quite alienating for people who don't drink beer, so I wanted to have something for everyone," he says.
Craft beer enthusiast and Inner West Council mayor Darcy Byrne says the more people who get on board with the breweries, the better off the suburb will be.
"It's a big part of our local identity and our cultural life," Cr Byrne says.
"The fact that the density of breweries in the inner west continues to grow gives me a lot of optimism as to what's to come over the next decade. There are big opportunities for us to attract more people as tourism opens back up.
"This has the potential to be an ongoing boon to the inner west economy as a whole."
Inner west breweries for a craft beer crawl
Sauce Brewing Co
1a Mitchell Street, Marrickville, 02 8580 3555, sauce.beer
The Grifter Brewing Co
1/391-397 Enmore Road, Marrickville, 02 9550 5742, thegrifter.com.au
Batch Brewing Company
44 Sydenham Road, Marrickville, 02 9550 5432, batchbrewingco.com.au
Wildflower Brewing & Blending
11-13 Brompton Street, Marrickville, wildflowerbeer.com
92-98 Sydenham Road, Marrickville, 02 9199 9655, philterbrewing.com
The Bob Hawke Beer & Leisure Centre
8-12 Sydney Street, Marrickville, 02 9199 9655, hawkesbrewing.com
Mixtape Brewing and Bar
142A Victoria Road, Marrickville, 0402 813 035, mixtapebrewing.com.au
Stockade Brew Co
25 Cadogan Street, Marrickville, stockadebrewco.com.au
Batch Brewing Company Nanobrewery
292 Stanmore Road, Petersham, 02 9518 1398, batchbrewingco.com.au
Hopsters Cooperative Brewery
198 Enmore Road, Enmore, hopsters.coop
White Bay Beer Co.
26C Mansfield Street, Rozelle, whitebay.beer
Young Henrys Craft Brewery and Tasting Bar
76 Wilford Street, Newtown, younghenrys.com
15 May Street, St Peters, brickworksbrewing.com.au
Willie the Boatman
Precinct 75 Suite 601, 75 Mary Street, St Peters, 02 8556 7528, willietheboatman.com.au
The Sausage Factory, 380 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, 0405 274 867, thesausagefactory.com.au
Wayward Brewing Co
1 Gehrig Lane, Camperdown, 02 7903 2445, wayward.com.au
Malt Shovel Brewery
99 Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown, maltshovel.com.au