It seems Wollongong and its surrounding suburbs are having a mini craft beer revolution. The Illawarra Brewery (Formerly Five Islands…yes it seems these guys have taken a liking to the number 5) has been the staple brewery for the region for years now, but along the way a handful of cool little craft beer bars like Three Chimney’s, Dagwood and The Little Prince have helped stamp their mark on the South Coast’s craft beer map. Hop Dog Beerworks subsequently opened in Nowra and a brand new brewery called Bulli Brewing is also about to open up in Unanderra. This is all without a mention of the brewery we’re actually writing this piece about – that is Five Barrel Brewing. Phil honed his skills as a home brewer for a few years before opening the doors to his own brewery on Keira Street, Wollongong (roughly a 5-10 minute walk from the train station) earlier this year. It’s a small, family run outfit with a core range of four tasty and super sessional beers consisting of a Golden Ale, a Pale Ale, an ESB and a hoppy Amber Ale. The latter being his flagship beer, is sensational. The Pale Ale and Golden Ale are nice and hit their mark and the ESB is a solid interpretation of the traditional English Bitter. There were also four extra taps pouring his limited and seasonal brews – a west coast IPA, NZ IPA, an Oyster Stout and a Milk Stout. The west coast IPA needs a bit of work and the NZ IPA and the Oyster Stout were enjoyable but the Milk Stout hands down was the best of his seasonal beers. He also hinted towards an enthusiasm for barrel aging and has recently purchased a couple of wine barrels and intends to brew a few “interesting beers including a R.I.S and a Flanders Red to start with.” So watch this space. The other space to watch over the coming months is the neat little tasting room. A couple of little renovations to the already laid back and cozy feel of the place will include a removal of part of the wall that separates the bar from the brewery so the patrons can feel even closer to the brewing process. Even though she’s only brand new this little micro brewery looks destined for bigger things and we can only hope that it happens for them.