Victoria is the clear leader in hand-crafted beers in Australia. There are plenty of options when you visit pubs in Melbourne, but the wide variety is not reflected north of the border. Fortunately the boys at Porters Balgowlah are rectifying that a little bit, by stocking a new one (for this BotF correspondent anyway) to try. Holgate Brewhouse has been around since 1999, and they’ve developed a thriving business out of a restored pub in town called Woodend in Victoria. 45 minutes from the Melbourne CBD apparently.
There’s 4 varieties available all year round, including the one I tried last night. Mt Macedon Ale is described as an American Pale Ale. It certainly has that hoppy flavour that the US microbrewers love. Pours a little darker than I would have expected. In addition to the permanents, there are seasonals in bottles and on tap during the year. BotF looks forward to doing a lap of the taps at the Holgate at some stage.
Whilst Victoria leads the way, there are some notable brewers in NSW doing some very good things. There’s just not as many as in Victoria. 4 Pines, who have featured a couple of times on these pages, have expanded their range of take-away beers and are penetrating the shelves of insular peninsula bottle-shops well. Their latest and 4th stubbie is a flavour laden Hefeweizen. BotF loves a cloudy beer, and even in the amber bottle, you can see the opaqueness clearly (that’s got to be an oxymoron). Get into this – it’s bloody good.
Both brewers are worth many visits.