With a growing reputation as as a craft beer hub in a nation that is increasingly appreciative of good beer, it’s little wonder the Great Australian Beer Festival is growing in popularity. Each year the Geelong Racecourse is transformed into Australia’s largest alfresco beer garden for the festival, with punters able to sample from the 200 craft beers and ciders on show and chat to brewers along the way.
Geelong’s burgeoning brewing industry welcomed a big player in December 2013 with the opening of Little Creatures Brewery. The Fremantle-based brewer extensively renovated an historic woollen mill in South Geelong, having outgrown the one brewery on the west coast. This new base incorporates brewing facilities, a restaurant and large bar serving up the range of Little Creatures offerings including Geelong’s own beer, a refreshing ale named Furphy.
18 months later the brewery is going from strength to strength, supplying all of east coast Australia. Production of White Rabbit beer will soon move from Healesville to Geelong, the on site canteen dishes up tasty, simple food that shares well (including brekkie on weekends) and there’s a local craft market each month.
Little Creatures joined a thriving local scene, which includes Odyssey Tavern & Brewery, a craft beer restaurant with an adjacent microbrewery in Geelong. Odyssey’s popular Calypso Pale Ale was recently voted onto the Top 100 Aussie Beers list, the first locally owned beer to be included. There are plans to upscale production, start bottling and increase distribution over the coming year.
Those with a taste for cider must visit the spectacular new Flying Brick Cider House in the heart of the Bellarine, home to the fastest growing cider brand in Australia. It is the perfect destination for a refreshing cider on a sunny day, with a large alfresco lawn space and lunch available from the restaurant seven days a week, dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. The Flying Brick range of apple and pear ciders launched three years ago, and the quirky name comes from the yellow tailed black cockatoo, a playful Bellarine local.
Mount Duneed Estate is well known for hosting the iconic Day on the Green concerts, but it is also now part of the local brewing scene. Their new label, Pettavel Road Brewing Co, produces pale ale, amber ale and golden ale in small batches, with apple cider to come this year. Alongside the beer production facilities the estate is also home to The Barrel Hall, a rustic family-friendly cafe where the range can be sampled on tap.
Southern Bay Brewing Co. has made a big impact in the craft beer world, once again representing this great beer region we have. Housed in the original Geelong Brewery, the history of beer mixed with modern techniques has created some great products including,Southern Bay Australian Lager , Southern Ocean Pale Ale, Requiem Pilsner, Hop Bazooka and and limited release specialty beers. It is an exciting time for the Brewery with new branding being developed and Pubs, Bars & Restaurant's all over Victoria helping their great beers reach the mouths of many.