Victoria’s High Country brewers have teamed up with the North East Victoria Tourism Board to create a pocket guidebook for those wanting to visit the high country. The brewers involved are Black Dog, Bridge Road, Bright, and Sweetwater.
The guidebook has a brief rundown of each brewer, as well as brewery details, location, and opening times. In the guidebook, the brewers let us know what their favourite local mountain bike tracks. They also disclose as a few snippets of information that they have called ‘Frothy Facts.’ Mountain bike enthusiasts will also appreciate a link in the guidebook to the ‘Dirty Dozen’, which is a collection of twelve iconic North East Victoria mountain bike trails.
The iconic St Kilda Local Taphouse held the launch event for the new guidebook. The brewers made nine of their beers available for sampling along with tasting notes. Cheeses, charcuterie, pâté, and bread from the North East Victorian region were made available for tasting, along with the beers. Three of the brewers, James Booth, Ben Kraus and Scott Brandon were able to take time out of their busy schedules to attend the event and provide added insight into their brewing operations. Peter Hull was unable to attend, as he was busy installing his three new fermenters.
One thing that all the brewers seemed to agree on is the fantastic lifestyle that living in the high country affords them. Skiing and snow boarding in the winter, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, and gliding at other times of the year are just some of the activities that they love doing. A number of their staff members have moved to the area to enjoy these activities and to get away from the city lifestyle.
While not open for visitors, the Rostrevor Hop Gardens are included in the guidebook. These hop gardens play an integral part of the daily work of the local brewers. Having the hop garden close by allows the brewers to make fresh wet hopped brews every autumn at harvest time. Visitors to the region in summer and early autumn will see fields of these large bines growing throughout the countryside. A history of hop growing in the area and some hop information have also been included.
Three of the breweries have organised events to coincide with both the North East High Country Harvest Festival and Good Beer Week. Bright Brewery is holding a Brewer for a Day session on Friday 18 May. The next morning, Saturday 19 May, you can head down to Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewers for their Beer & Breakfast event. To round out a terrific long weekend in the country, take a trip to Black Dog Brewery for a five-course Hop vs. Grape dinner on the Saturday night.
The new High Country Brewery Trail guidebook is available from the breweries and from High Country Visitor Information Centres. It can be downloaded as a pdf.
Take Victoria’s High Country Brewery Trail to get up close with four fantastic craft breweries
Beer geeks, beer novices and mountain biking enthusiasts alike can now get up close with four fantastic craft breweries on Victoria’s High Country Brewery Trail in North East Victoria, guided by a pocket guide packed with brewery stats, brewer bios and frothy facts.
Extending from the river to the mountains, the brewery trail weaves a scenic path to some truly lip-smacking, hand-crafted beers at Black Dog Brewery (Taminick, near Glenrowan and the Warby Ranges), Bridge Road Brewers (in the picturesque gold-rush town of Beechworth), Bright Brewery (Bright, along the banks of the Ovens River) and Sweetwater Brewing Company (Mount Beauty, where the Kiewa River emerges from steep mountain valleys).
Visitors are invited to taste the difference in our local craft beers, made with passion, the best ingredients and techniques, and the pristine waters of Victoria’s High Country. See close up where the beers are brewed and learn what goes into crafting a unique beer, perhaps from the mouths of the brewers themselves – Black Dog’s James Booth, Bridge Road’s Ben Kraus, Bright’s Scott Brandon and Sweetwater’s Peter Hull – in family-friendly settings with sunny, outdoor areas.
Keen mountain bikers, each brewer shares in the pocket guide their favourite mountain bike ride in the ranges and hills surrounding their breweries, which also offer breathtaking scenery when touring the brewery trail and feed pristine water into many of our local craft beers.
The brewery trail also meanders past the Rostrevor Hops Gardens, where key beer ingredient, hops, has been growing in the foothills of Mount Buffalo at Eurobin since the 1890s and can be seen as you cycle by on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Brewing in hop production areas, our brewers have the opportunity to make a wet hop beer during the March harvest, which Bridge Road Brewers and Bright Brewery have been doing for a number of years with seasonal releases.
Victoria’s High Country brewers hold brewing workshops and events throughout the year, including Brewer for a Day (Bright Brewery), Brewer’s Beer & Breakfast (Bridge Road Brewery) and Hop v Grape (Black Dog Brewery) as part of the inaugural High Country Harvest (18 – 27 May).
The High Country has long been renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and fresh air, not to mention laying claim to some of Australia’s gourmet producers, most acclaimed restaurateurs and internationally recognised winemakers.
Now there’s another great way to round out a High Country day of savouring local fare, touring wineries and hitting the Rail Trail for a leisurely cycle or feeling the exhilaration of a downhill mountain bike track – and that’s kicking back with a craft brew to drink it all in.