I live in Newcastle and we have some top pubs, maybe Shawn can add a few more but The Brewery at Queens Warf is the place to start for a top Ginger Beer. Then head over the train lines to Finigans (irish pub) or up on Hunter st try the Great Northern. You can't go wrong anywhere in town.
Head down Darby st to the Delany and keep going down to the Price Of Wales or give me call and taste some of my creations? I am out at Edgeworth/Cameron Park
SJ has covered a few of the better pubs in the city in Newcastle. 'The Brewery' in particular is worth a look in terms of interesting beer. Other than there though there aren't really any 'brewpubs' in Newcastle as such. The Exchange Hotel in Hamilton has JS Pilsner on tap (or did not so long ago) and quite a few around the place have the new local Bluetongue beers (a Lager and a Ginger Beer) as well as JS Amber Ale and Pilsner and Coopers beers but the only other place with really good microbrewed beer on tap around here is the old Potters Tavern near Cessnock which has the St Arnou beers which are excellent. Worth a drive up there for the beers and to drop in on the Hunter Valley wineries while you're there. Newcastle hasn't really developed a strong microbrewery culture as such yet I'm afraid... but it does have some great pubs/nightlife!
Something else you might be interested in is the Bluetongue brewery tours - they have a brand new 'middle-sized' brewery on the outskirts of town that is brewing their own beers plus a lot of contract beer for other micros/small breweries. I'm planning on a tour next Tuesday night or the one after and have been told it is really worth a look. Personally I'm not really blown away by their Lager - not a bad beer, just pretty 'safe' and dull if you know what I mean - but the brewery has Tyrells wine money behind it and is supposed to be really top notch. You need to ring first but they are happy to show you around.
If you'd like we could meet up for a beer when you're up here it is up to you. Maybe SJ would be keen as well and we could have a mini AHB gathering at the Brewery on the wharf in town? Let me know if you are keen.