So you know where to find a quality brew in the city, but what about when you head out of town? Catching up with friends, escaping the city and exploring a new town are some of the reasons we travel, and all of those things can be done over a good-quality beer. Here’s where to find and enjoy the best craft beer when you head out of Melbourne for a daytrip, weekend or longer getaway.
Big Little Baby
29 Victoria Street, Macedon
If you travel north-west for an hour you’ll hit Macedon, and Little Big Baby. It’s a friendly bar and bottle shop serving exclusively Victorian craft beer including Forty Acres and Mornington Peninsula Brewery on tap. Sample its wide selection of bottled and tap beer to find your favourite, and enjoy hand-sliced cured meats, local cheeses and Mount Zero olives. If you’re after something more substantial, you can get pizza delivered from across the road to eat by the wood heater. Little Big Baby is also just a five-minute walk from the train station.
(03) 5426 2501
Bridge Road Brewers
Ford Street, Beechworth
Even if Beechworth wasn’t so picturesque, Bridge Road Brewers would be worth the three-hour drive, with a bar, beer garden, pizzeria and the brewery out the back. Sample its small-batch releases, which sometimes make use of local produce such as Stanley chestnuts or wine yeast from nearby vineyards. Take your pick of baked pretzels or pizzas to go with your Golden Ale or IPA.
(03) 5728 2703
4–6 Tinamba Seaton Road, Tinamba
Dating back to 1874, the old Tinamba Hotel is a solid beer destination in the east. The tap list features a range of James Squire brews. Taste the honey cultivated from the owners’ family farm and listen to live tunes played on the baby grand piano. Afterwards, pay a visit to one of the many local dairy farms or take a walk around the Gippsland Lakes.
(03) 5145 1484
The Royal George
24 Piper Street, Kyneton
In an old bluestone pub established in 1852, you can choose from 16 beers on tap with an emphasis on local Victorian craft beer. The range includes Holgate, Red Duck, Four Pines and James Squire. There’s a pool table, darts, live music and an open fire for those frosty evenings.
(03) 5422 1390
Little Creatures Geelong
221 Swanston Street, Geelong
This converted red-brick mill in Geelong is a great spot for a beer with a group of friends. The food includes wood-fired pizzas and warm cinnamon doughnuts. You can sit in the heart of the brewery, surrounded by barrels of ageing ales and open fermenters that fill your nostrils with all those hoppy, yeasty aromas. Take a brewery tour any day of the week or go to beer school on the first Sunday of every month.
(03) 5202 4009
11a Michaels Drive, Alfredton
The Red Duck Brewery in Ballarat is known for conjuring up unconventional beers. You could try a sour beer, barrel-aged beer or perhaps a brew made with seaweed. It’s a small space designed for more of a quick visit, but you’ll definitely learn something from these truly dedicated brewers. Buy some bottled beers to take back to your weekend accommodation.
(03) 5332 0723
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park, Sassafras
If you’d prefer to brave the cold and earn your brew, travel east of Melbourne to enjoy a brisk day’s hike through the Dandenong Ranges, and finish with a BYO drink in the open air. Start at the Cambarville picnic area for a four-kilometre looped track through picturesque forests and fern-filled gullies. Or, for a shorter walk with waterfalls and a slight climb, begin at the Phantom Falls car park. Go slow and steady to take in all the views, or perhaps use the frothy incentive to sprint through the bushland.
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This article is part of Broadsheet’s Craft Beer Quarterly, produced in partnership with James Squire.