Planning a trip down the Mornington Peninsula this summer? Why not stop off at a few breweries along the way? The wineries are often viewed as the major attractions but there’s a few breweries making a name for themselves too. Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula and Hix of Dromana, are all within a short distance of one another and produce a stellar range of beers to try.
Red Hill Brewery
I made my trip down the Mornington Peninsula on a cool damp Melbourne Cup day. Sitting outside at Red Hill, amongst luscious green surrounds, breathing cool fresh air, and drinking a lovely Belgian-style ale – Temptation.
Temptation is a sexy golden ale, housed in a Red Hill goblet, with a tantalising aromas of fruit, spice and yeast. The first sip sets off a chorus of flavours dancing on the tongue, which quickly join together in unison as they slide down the throat. The smooth finish tempts the drinker to take another sip, and another, but you’ll realise that you’ve danced with a devil afterwards when its hefty 8% abv catches up with you.
The Red Hill Brewery has a beautiful rustic feel, its brewhouse, a simple set up in a shed, while outside, you’ll find lovely green surrounds, where they even grow their own hop vines.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
This is about as homely a brewery as you can get. Set in an industrial area of Mornington, you simply walk up a gravel driveway and park yourself at long wooden rectangular tables and order up beers from Mornington Peninsula’s varied selection (Witbier, IPA, Hefe, Dunkelweizen, Brown and Pale when I was there). On an upper level balcony, couches with floral patterns straight out of Grandma’s house, look out over the brewery, while head Brewer Andrew Gow works away on the tanks below. If you’re hungry, the bar staff cook up pizzas in a real woodfire oven, made with dough using their very own Witbier.
I had the Dunkelweizen, which was filtered through a Randall filled with grapefruit. The Randall, pictured right, is a filter designed to add flavour and is now installed in a number of great beer venues around like the Local Taphouse and The Wheaty. While drinking beer through grapefruits might sound strange, the result was a surprisingly tasty and drinkable beer, as the bitterness and citrus of the grapefruit balanced nicely with the flavours of the Dunkelweizen.
Mornington Peninsula are building up an impressive lineup. I also tucked into a bottle of their porter only a night later and the luscious mouthfeel, the strong chocolate aromas and taste, made me wonder whether (gasp) the Holgate Temptress Chocolate Porter, finally had a worthy adversary for the title of best porter in Australia.
And finally, one that I ran out of time for on this trip, but is on the cards for the future, is the dual winery and brewery estate, Hickingbothams of Dromana, which produces the excellent range of Hix Beer. You can check out there setup here on The Crafty Pint.