As recounted last week, there’s plenty of beer experiences to be had in the Hunter Valley and they aren’t all on the Hunter Valley Beer Trail. That doesn’t even count Newcastle – which is part of the Hunter – it is just a fair way from my part of the Valley near Wollombi and Laguna. I had to travel to one beer haven to get to another beer experience.
In the sprawling Hunter Valley Gardens complex (owned by the Roche Group) is a bottle shop called the Garden Cellars. It is also a sprawling complex albeit largely underground. It features the “world famous Tunnel of Beer”. The Garden Cellar’s fridge and shelves groan with over 800 domestic and international beers (and wines and ciders). The Tunnel of Beer is more like a low rooved corridor with a dead end. It serves as an educational museum to styles of beer with helpful explanations and examples of the style for purchase. I think there’ll always be an @untappd unique available for purchase here.
I had one main reason to visit the Garden Cellars and that was to get my hands on another Hunter Valley brewer’s beer. Dusty Miner Craft Brewery operates out of Aberglasslyn, which is a north western suburb of Maitland. There’s currently no cellar door so it’s either find a bottlo or catch them at a beer event if you want to have a taste.
According to @untappd, Dusty Miner has produced 9 beers since seeking its first beer in 2015. There’s 4 staples to their range (all available online) and they’ve produced some other styles from time to time. Saison Du Dusty was one these occasionals and was in the Garden Cellar’s fridge. Very nice too. The “always-on” range of beers are:
- Shaftman Pale
- Black Bones Dark Ale (AIBA award winner)
- 3 Daughters Red Ale
- Stook IPA
I really enjoyed the Stook IPA, partly because I knew it was bottled on Christmas Day and partly because it was a warming, resiny IPA. Perfect for the evening when the chill sets in, which it does at this time of the year in Wollombi/Laguna. Looking forward to following Dusty’s progress and trying some of his stuff on tap one of these days.
The Garden Cellars: Hunter Valley Gardens, 20-21 Broke Road, Pokolbin, NSW
Dusty Miner Craft Brewery: 7 Hampton Court, Aberglasslyn, NSW