Stuart Dew’s brilliant performance for Hawthorn in the 2008 AFL Grand Final has changed the make-up of the Victorian craft beer scene. Dew kicked two goals and set up two others, leading the Hawks on to a win. Meanwhile, Mount Eliza neighbours, Matt Bebe and Malcolm McLean got together to celebrate and, like all of us at some time, talked about how good it would be to open a brewery.
However, Matt turned this ‘pipe dream’ into reality with two years of hard work, when the brewery opened in time for the 2010 Grand Final. Matt had convinced family and friends into becoming shareholders and providing financial and physical assistance to the new venture. At the same time, many in Victoria’s close-knit brewing community assisted with technical assistance and advice.
The brewery is located in a building that was well known for making exploding golf balls in Mornington’s industrial estate. Walking through the gates at the side of the building, you will find yourself in a courtyard beside the roller doors of the brewery. In the courtyard there are tables with bench seats, which are popular in the warmer weather, with a few old barrels growing hop bines.
The small door at the side leads into the brewery and bar. At the bar two gleaming fonts, with four taps each, tempt your eyes not look any further. While the smell of the brewery and the beers were not enough to excite your senses, behind the bar is a large wood fired pizza oven that exudes a wonderful mixture of smells. The Tardis, is a hopinator at the end of the bar, that is used for the occasional specialty brew. On the far side of the bar is the brewery, allowing you to enjoy a view of gleaming stainless tanks as you sip their beer. There is also a balcony running around the back of the brewery that gives you a bird’s eye view of the operations.
Matt managed to snare Andrew Gow (better know as AG) to take over the brewing operations at MP Brew. AG has considerable experience in craft brewing, having worked at Mountain Goat, Matilda Bay, and Five Islands. He is revelling in his roll as brewer here, has no plans of moving on, and has recently bought a house nearby.
The beers consist of four regular brews and few seasonal brews. None of the beers are filtered, but are carbonated in bright tanks before bottling or kegging. The Pale Ale is a light cloudy American style pale ale with lots of late hop character. The Witbier is a fruity Belgian-style wheat with coriander and Curacao. It is a beauty to behold and seems to have an inner glow. The Brown is an English style brown ale with five different malts to add complexity. It’s well made, but no matter how good it is, I still find it hard to get excited by a brown ale, the only beer that wears a cardigan. The Porter is a smooth chocolaty malt beer with lots of roasted malt character.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons are popular with families, locals, and beer tourists alike. Come down and grab yourself a tasting paddle and a pizza. Bottled beers are also available to take away.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery can be found at 72 Watt Road, Mornington, VIC, 3931.
Starting November, they will be opening Tuesday to Fridays 3-11pm, Saturdays 12-5pm, and Sundays 12-9pm. They occasionally run special events, which are well worth attending. To find out about these you need to sign up for the MPBrew Club on their website.
For more information go to www.mpbrew.com.au or call 03 5976 3663.