“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza” – Dave Barry
The Great Ocean Road conjures images of white sand, rugged cliff faces, territorial surfers and Australian Bushland – mostly. Lately the region has exploded in a shower of delightfully hoppy craft beer – no longer the property of bearded hipsters in suburban Collingwood, craft beer has now been embraced by Geelong and the Surf Coast Region.
Here are some of the best craft beer venues to toast a beer in while travelling through one of Australia’s most breathtaking regions.
Embrace your inner hipster at Blackmans Brewery Bar and Restaurant
Blackman’s Brewery recently won 2019’s Champion Small Australian Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards (and they proudly sit their award on the bar for all to see). The brewery is located on the seaside surfer’s haven Torquay and their philosophy is simple- we love good beer. A locally owned brewery they’ve created a perfect venue for enjoying good beer, good food and enjoying a relaxing day at the pub. With beers such as ‘Espresso Martini Kölsch’, ‘Blackberry Gose’ and ‘Smokey Porter’ on offer you are always going to get something to knock your socks off. Their recent spin off – the Barrel Farm is making some outstanding sour beers (see definition of sours here) that will make you seriously re think your concept of beer. The Pizza isn’t half bad either!
Location: 26 Bell St, Torquay
Our Favourite beer: Juicy Banger. 5.8% IPL
When a brewery names one of their Beers “Cranky Mrs” you know you’re going to have a good time (it’s a 8% double IPA FYI). Like a story inspired by ‘the castle’ – Aireys inlet pub was a closed down pokies driven, mainstream beers driven venue and in the hands of real estate developers before a group of locals jumped in and saved the day – and it shows. You can feel the local spirit as soon as you walk in the front door to the beer garden out the back where the kids are playing footy and the dogs are resting at your feet. This venue embodies the local surfing spirit. With the help of a tasting paddle and a wide range of amazing craft beers you’ll find something for every palate.
Location: 45 Great Ocean Rd, Aireys Inlet
Our Favourite beer: Cranky Missus. 8.2% Double IPA
Worth the stop at Wye Beach Hotel
You would be forgiven for driving right past this Surfside venue mistaking it for another carlton draught swilling country pub – but it is not, at all. Wye Beach Hotel is one of the best coastal pubs in Victoria and it has one of the most versatile and interesting range of craft beers (all regional) on offer you can find. Sit on the balcony directly overlooking the great ocean road, listen to some local tunes, drink a local triple smoked raspberry stout and stay forever.
Location: 19-21 Great Ocean Rd, Wye River
Our Favourite beer: Wye Beach Hotel Lager 4.5%
You can’t see the beers for the Forrest Brewing Company
Forrest Brewing Company promotes itself as equal parts microbrewery, eating place and mountain bike hangout. Located in the renovated general store in the country town of Forrest it neighbours the Otway Ranges rainforest and is famous for mountain biking. Enjoy local seasonal produce for lunch whilst pairing with Forrest’s very own brewing company beers. You can even peek through the window to see the brewing process happening. Nothing quite tastes like a craft beer coming straight from the tank to the tap.
Location: 26 Grant St, Forrest
Our Favourite beer: Untamed Turkey. 7.5% Imperial IPA
Chase the Black Panther at Otway Estate Prickly Moses
The Otway Estate Brewery is home to Prickly Moses Handcrafted Beer and Forbidden Fruit Ciders. Situated in Barongarook in the beautiful Otway Ranges this brewery is an experience all on it’s own. If your particularly keen to go down the local rabbit hole – ask them about the local black cats that inspired the Black Panther IBA….. Taste the difference drinking craft beer made from pure Otway rainforest water while surrounded by the stunning natural environment- you’ll never want to leave!
Location: 10 Hoveys Rd, Barongarook
Our Favourite beer: Black Panther 6.2% IBA
Ask them about Babe at Sow & Piglets Brewery
The Sow and Piglets Brewery is named after the original name for the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Port Campbell. It’s located meters away from the main beach of this stunning coastline and a definite destination brewery. They are dedicated to using local produce and are growing with the farmers in the region, but do have a decidedly international taste to their beers. Well worth the drive! Sadly I didn’t see one single pig though, just putting that out there, slightly misleading.
Location: 18 Tregea St, Port Campbell
Our Favourite beer: Marzen. 5.8% Amber Lager
Catch some Waves with Bells Beach Brewing
Inspired by Surf and Beer – this is the quintessential Torquay Craft Brewery. One of the newest breweries to open it doors to the local craft beer scene is Bells beach. Brewing beers since 2016 they made their offical home in 2018 next to Rip Curl and Quicksilver. With the beers named after local surf breaks (Southside Saison, Bomboras Blonde, Impossible Point IPA and Point Addis Pale Ale) and a large projector screen showing an endless stream of surfing events you can see how they have quickly become an integral part of Surf town Torquay’s flourishing craft beer scene.
And FYI they also make some pretty amazing Gin
Location: 2/22 Baines Crescent, Torquay
Our Favourite beer: Southside 5.2% Saison
Toast to the Gods at Valhalla Taproom
In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. In Geelong Scott Hunt rules over the Valhalla Taproom, not an enormous hall but the beers certainly are majestic. Although brewing since 2016 the Valhalla taproom is another new addition to the local craft beer scene having opened its doors to the public in 2018. With 8 beers dedicated to Valhalla beers and 4 taps showcasing independent Australian craft beer its a venue not be missed. Be adventurous, try something you have never tried (or heard of), with a range of IPA’s and Sours that are unlike anything you have had before you will not be disappointed
Location:12-14 Union St, Geelong
Our Favourite beer: Galactaphonic Tonic 5% Pale Ale
Experience a little rabbit creature at Little Creatures & White Rabbit Brewing
After their huge success in Fremantle, Little Creatures decided it was time for the east coast to experience all they had to offer. With the most efficient brewery in the Southern Hemisphere they’ve opened one of the most exciting and welcoming brewery bars you’ll find. Having built inside shipping containers and quirky landscaping and interior design, half the fun is getting to the bar! Whether you’re going on their brewery tour or enjoying Andy’s shout you’ll be putting this down as a place to visit again
Location: 221 Swanston St, Geelong
Our Favourite beer: Little Creatures 6.4% IPA
Experience all the craft beer with Andy’s Trails Craft Beer tours
Now they all sound so good the first question is “but how do I see all of these places while not getting pulled up by the local fuzz for drinking 24 pints of IPA?”. The answer is simple – book a tour with Andy’s Trails and let Andy be the driver. Andy’s Trails are full immersion tours across Andy’s most loved parts of Victoria’s Surf Coast. A passionate local team dedicated to giving people the best local craft beer experience possible makes the Ale Blazers tour the perfect way to experience the regions craft beer scene.
Pick ups from Lara to Torquay. Book Now