A Trip To The Seaside

Everyone knows that feeling you get when you come back to something you haven’t had time for, only to realise that it’s been so long that it’s been made all the more difficult, right? Well this is me digging my heels in and making it happen. Allons-y.

I was recently propositioned by my parents to make a trip to our beachside shack and catch up, and as an added bonus, the suggestion of a brewery hop along the way seemed like an obvious choice of activity. Trouble was, breweries located an achievable distance away from our vague route to Golden Beach were few and far between. The only ones one I could think of were Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North and Red Hill Brewery (in Red Hill, duh), but as they have grown into pretty big players in the craft beer scene, we set off for the seaside with eyes bright and tails bushy.

First on the list was Grand Ridge. I can safely recommend making a trip out there for the scenic journey alone. Spectacular views and greenery. The brewery itself is a large old barn-like building that apparently used to be a butter factory, which houses all the brewing equipment and the bar and restaurant. Strangely enough the bar and restaurant did have a TAB feel to it, but I guess you have to accommodate the locals. (One patron had the gall to request a Carlton Draught. At a craft beer brewery.)

We didn’t order food as we weren’t sure how much time we had up our sleeves, but all the dishes we saw looked and smelled amazing. Instead, we each order a tasting paddle which included the Brewer’s Pilsener, the Natural Blonde, the Gippsland Gold, the Yarra Valley Gold, the Hatlifter Stout and if memory serves, the Moonlight nut brown ale. Having tried most of these before at the Grand Ridge showcase at Chloe’s Bar, the paddle was just a refresher. Everything in the paddle had a very similar flavour (mainly the hop profile) when compared side by side, and seemed to have tasted a lot better by the pint back in Melbourne. I did get a pint of the Moonlight nut brown ale as I hadn’t had it by the pint before, and it was big on flavour but a little overbearing.

Having stepped down as driver for the remainder of the trip, my father ordered a pint of the Moonshine. He was as surprised at the $20-per-pint price tag as I was the difference in flavour from the previous beers. The Moonshine blew me away. It might have been the 8.5% alcohol content, or the added care for what appears to be a limited release, but my god it was brilliant. I had to pick up a bottle ($14 at the brewery) and its big brother the Supershine to review. Interestingly, the Supershine I bought came not from the brewery, but a small boutiquey cafe, which charged only $12.

Grand Ridge Moonshine

Pours thick, nice dark head that falls away leaving patchy lacing. Rich sweet, caramel nose. Deep roasty flavours – burnt toffee that blends perfectly with the mild, herbal hops. Also some fruit, such as cherry or plum. Very big, just how I like it. Leaves a dry, burnt flavour in your mouth that makes you want another, and another. Definitely more a scotch ale than a barleywine. Can see how they can charge $20 for a pint.

Grand Ridge Supershine

Less carbonation and head the Moonshine. Possibly a little lighter in colour. Similar sweet, rich nose, but not as strong. Very little carbonation in the mouth, but very smooth and creamy. Alcohol noticeable (11%) and very warming. Flavours aren’t quite as deep but they’re definitely strong. A little bit of candied citrus peel, well-blended bitterness, and the same burnt ending after each sip. As it warms it becomes smoother, but the alcoholic phenols become a lot more pronounced. They made a big beer bigger and did a great job of it.

Having filled up on Grand Ridge’s offerings, we continued on our destination, stopping only to pick up our drinks for the stay. My partner managed to find an incorrectly labelled six-pack of Duvel at Dan Murphy’s and scored it for $16, while I grabbed some Gage Roads IPA, Brew Dog Punk IPA and Baron’s ESB. The Duvel was much better than I found it previously, managing to hide an abv of 8.5% flawlessly. The Baron’s ESB was full of caramel malt (as expected), and the Punk IPA was a little rough. The Gage Roads IPA was a stand out as I’d not had before (and hadn’t really expected much, judging by the macro-styled label) and was pleasantly surprised. It was a solid, well-balanced IPA and I can easily recommend it.

We did the holiday thing and relaxed by the ocean, eating at local fish and chipperies and then just as we’d started to settle in it was time to head off for the return leg of the journey. I was quite excited to finally be visiting Red Hill Brewery as it had never failed to deliver an enjoyable product, but this was an extra special day. Not only was it the day of the Melbourne Cup (umm, woo!?), but the Red Hill guys had organised a special gourmet BBQ. There’s more – in addition to the good beer and good food, we were also dining with fellow beer bloggers Gem and Tristan of Eat, Drink, Stagger, and James and Jen of Beer, Bar, Band.

Red Hill had their Golden Ale, Belgian Blonde, Scotch Ale and Temptation available, all of which we tried (and loved). We also managed to sample the now released Bohemian Pilsner, which was light, fruity and very sessionable. We indulged on pork, ale-marinaded porterhouse, salmon and chicken snags until we were full to bursting, and then took a stroll around the hop field. That’s right, hop field. Excellent beer and excellent food in the middle of picturesque countryside AND they have a hop field. If there’s any way to fault them (and I’m trying really hard here) it would be that my own 3 hop plants have an extra 7 feet of height over Red Hill’s, so there.

We made an exit and headed back to Melbourne, feeling fully satisfied and very sleepy.

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9 thoughts on “A Trip To The Seaside

  1. Thanks for coming in, what a great beery weekend. Our hops had just been whipper snipped to the ground. Supposed to even out the growth & the first shoots aren’t supposed to be productive. It’s a theory anyway! Cheers again

    • The Salving Font says:

      Interesting! I’ve not heard that myself, but time will tell. How old are yours? Mine are just babies, so I’ve been told to just let them go for it.
      Thanks for putting that day on, you really lived up to your reputation. You’ll have to let me know when the next event is on!

    • Bridge road Brewers says:

      Hi Red Hill, did you get the whipper snipper tip from the Rostrevor guys, i just did the same thing this week. Lets hope it works!!
      Nice Blog Salving Font, ive not been too nor seen much about Grand Ridge. Thanks for the insight!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beer Men TV (Aust), Bridge Road Brewers and Jourdan Keillor, The Salving Font. The Salving Font said: Oooof! There it is: http://bit.ly/cHy36s In this post I visit Grand Ridge and Red Hill. […]

  3. James says:

    I am somewhat SHOCKED that you have to pay $14 for a bottle of the Moonshine at the brewery, when you can pay $8 for a Moonshine bottle in Dan Murphys! Am also curious about the “limited” nature of Supershine…considering it has been in constant regular supply at Dan’s for the 2 years that I’ve been paying attention.

    And mmmmmmmm…such beautiful memories of Cup Day @ Red Hill Brewery…especially because of the pint of Scotch Ale with the bbq lunch. Brilliant.

    Great to see you blogging again! We all need to do it more often…


    • The Salving Font says:

      Yeah, I guess they just do smaller batches? Bit of a rip-off, but I guess they have to make their coin somehow.
      I don’t know why it took me so long to post, but now I have I can’t wait to put up my next post. Maybe I’ve come out of hibernation?

    • Bridge road Brewers says:

      I would’nt compare prices from the big chains with anywhere, be it from other outlets or even direct from the producer. Such chains will take losses that no one else could afford to either move product or stamp out some competition.
      Almost all small brewers are taking very low margins on their products, despite prices that may seem high.
      $14 for a top end beer is way cheaper than a similar volume of a top end wine.

      • The Salving Font says:

        That’s part of it though – I scored the Supershine super cheap from an independent coffee shop that wasn’t ever beer-focussed.

      • James says:

        Ahhh now that is understandable. Thanks for the insight, it certainly helps the appreciation level.

        I do love buying products direct from the producer, but I am also an average poor consumer with a Dan Murphys in throwing distance from my home, so on an average week, accessibility wins.

        Anyways…must visit more breweries and buy more beer.

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