Many travellers come to the Mornington Peninsula for its Mediterranean climate, warm, sandy beaches and wide array of vineyards and wineries.
However, the area is also home to several of the region's top breweries. Whether you're a beer aficionado or just enjoy a cold drink, head to this beautiful destination and clear out an afternoon for a guided or self-led tour of these top Mornington Peninsula breweries.
Red Hill Brewery
Red Hill Brewery is located on Shoreham Road in Red Hill South, a quaint rural town known as the hinterland of the peninsula. It’s an independent microbrewery that sits atop its own hop garden that provides the ingredients for its European-style beers. Stop by for a tasting or to order a glass of your favourite ale. You can also come during during one of the many cellar door open days, when guests celebrate beer outdoors amongst the hop vines (they’re more common in summer but usually occur at least once per month).
The brewery crafts a core selection that’s available year round and includes a golden ale, wheat beer and pilsner. Another regular is the popular scotch ale, which has a burnt copper colour and tastes strongly of caramel. The recipe, which took seven years to develop, is heavy on the malts but balanced by hop flowers from the on-site garden. The brewery also offers a variety of seasonal options. Autumn often sees the release of the Hop Harvest Ale, while winter is the time for an imperial stout. In 2013, the brewmasters created the Weizenbock, a one-batch German beer with rich flavours of chocolate and hints of nut and clove.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
As the namesake brewery of the Mornington Peninsula, this location is a favourite among the locals. In fact, the brand can be found at restaurants, bars and retailers all over Australia. The on-site bar is open Thursday through Sunday, and there’s live music every Sunday by local acts like Blues Mountain and King Catfish. Visitors can choose from the main beer menu, which is comprised of six regulars: pale, brown, porter, IPA, witbier and the short-batch specialty. A popular one is the Sorachi Kolsch - it has a clean, crisp flavour and hazy yellow colour for a drink that is delightful but not overwhelming.
The specialties and newer beers are developed and hand-crafted by head brewer Andrew Gow. This renowned brewmaster has years of experience in the industry and came to beer fame thanks to his work at Mountain Goat and Matilda Bay in New South Wales. Mornington Peninsula Brewery also hosts a brew club. This membership gets you access to special tasting events and premiere nights as well as first pick of limited release ales, so you can get the newest beers well after you return home from your holiday.
Head to the suburban town of Dromana to sample the flavours of Hix Beer. The brewery is run by the same people who create the wines of Hickinbotham of Dromana, and it’s located right there on the vineyard grounds. You can find the locally-famous beers of this producer all around the Melbourne area, or go straight to the source by visiting the cellar door. It’s housed in an old steamship building and offers both wine and beer tastings.
A house favourite is the pilsener, a simple, German-style ale that combines malted, imported and Australian grains. It has a subtle effect on the senses - the bread-like flavour is balanced with bitter floral flourishes and a high level of carbonation. While you’re here, don’t miss out on the pale ale. The European hops and secret techniques create a unique blend with a copper colour and sweet caramel kick. In fact, this beer won the gold medal in 2011’s International Beer Awards. Other regular options include the brown ale and Irish stout.
Located just north of the Mornington Peninsula, True South focuses on simple recipes and the freshest ingredients it can find. The year-round selection includes a summer ale, New World pilsner, pale ale and a rich, brown porter. Try the Red Truck lager a dry marzen crafted in the German style with a burnt orange colour and sweet, malty flavour. The brewmasters also mixes up a tasty apple cider: Little Miss Muffet. It has a spritzy, refreshing texture with hints of sherbert.
Visitors can sample these drinks in the brewhouse. There are also guided tours of the building, which shows you the behind-the-scenes process that incorporates a steam-jacketed brew kettle, vapour condenser, heat exchanger and propagation tank. While you’re here, pick up a few growlers to enjoy from the comforts of your inn or back home after your holiday.