Obviously the Hunter Valley is world renowned for its wines and vineyards. Thankfully, for a beer drinker that’s going to spend an increasingly large amount of time up in the Hunter – a beer culture is growing. And it’s grown to the extent that there’s been is a Hunter Valley Beer Trail created. The Trail has been created by 4 craft brewers that make their beer on their premises.
The four breweries are:
I visited Ironbark Hill on a beautiful autumn Friday and can vouch for it being a lovely place to sample a few brews. They’ve really dropped some coin on the whole place – not just the brewery. The on-site chapel, which can be booked for weddings looks very new. The brewery is still gleaming after it started producing beer in September 2016.
The brewery is in a large aircraft hangar style building which also houses a wine tasting area, 8 taps and a takeaway fridge. There’s a large outdoor dining drinking area which looks to a vineyard and Hermitage Road. All in all a bloody good set-up and a solid pub grub menu as well. I sat in the sun and it was just magnifique. Could have settled, but Wollombi is a fair way from Ironbark Hill so I was glad for the takeaway option.
According to @Untappd, Ironbark Hill has produced 12 different beers and ciders. I’m very keen to try their hefeweizen when they put it back on. The day I visited, the 8 taps featured 7 beers and 1 very clear apple cider. Standouts were the Summer 38 (3.8% ABV) off the tap and a very solid Schwarzbier from the stubbie. All very easy drinking beers.
Just down the road from Ironbark Hill is a Brewhouse that doesn’t make it on to the Hunter Valley Beer Trail. The Matilda Bay Brewhouse has the full range of Matilda Bay, including the previously untried “Sparkling Lager Stout” on tap. There’s also a piece of almost Hunter Valley brewing history there. Blue Tongue was a brewer at Warnervale that controversially disappeared a few years ago. The brewing equipment that remains at the Matilda Bay Brewhouse today brews HVR ginger beer using the Blue Tongue Ginger Beer recipe. Will try that next time.
Ironbark Hill Brewhouse: 694 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin NSW
Matilda Bay Brewhouse Hunter Valley: Hermitage Road & Mistletoe Lane, Pokolbin NSW