The Geelong Otway region has long been renowned for the quality
of its cool-climate wines. Now the area boasts a growing number of
brewers, who are bringing an exciting range of boutique beers and
ciders to the table.
Flying Brick Cider Co launched late last year on the Bellarine
Peninsula, the newest venture from David and Lyndsay Sharp of
wineries Leura Park Estate and Jack Rabbit. Flying Brick produces
three varieties of cider - pear, original and draught - which are
brewed and bottled at Leura Park using the same equipment as their
"Cider is a logical extension to wine because the process
mirrors the wine-making process," says Lyndsay. "Like wine, quality
cider uses fresh fruit that is crushed, fermented, and then
processed using traditional methods."
Despite being in production for only a few months, Flying Brick
cider is now distributed to 75 outlets in the Geelong region,
including bottle shops, bars and restaurants. The range can also be
sampled at the Leura Park and Jack Rabbit cellar doors or on-site
Just down the road, the Bellarine Brewing Co produces lagers,
ales, pilsners and stouts on the same property as its sister
winery, Bellarine Estate. They recently introduced weekly brewery
tours that let visitors touch, feel and smell the ingredients used
in their brews.
Brewer and co-owner Tim Page-Walker says Bellarine Brewing Co
uses as many local ingredients as possible, from their own
estate-grown hops to local honey and filtered Barwon Water. Their
famous Mussel Stout features real Portarlington mussels, its unique
richness recently winning the brewery the 'People's Choice Award -
Best Stout' at the Federation Square Microbrewery Showcase.
Up in the Otways, the brand new Forrest Brewing Company has
helped put the tiny town of Forrest on the tourism map, with its
café and brewery feeding and watering the many mountain bike
enthusiasts and nature lovers who come here.
Run by brother and sister team Matthew and Sharon Bradshaw, the
microbrewery offers four beers - a Pale Ale, Stout, Irish Red and
Silvertop - with one-off seasonal varieties on the way. Although
they have only been bottling their beers for six months, Sharon
says they have already seen strong sales growth and have just begun
distributing their products to boutique retail outlets and bars
both locally and in Melbourne.
Also in the Otways, premium winemaker Otway Estate was one of
the first to venture into craft beer and cider production.
General Manager Janine Rose said the idea to establish a brewery
came from the fact that Otway Estate had so much fresh water it
needed to be drained from their vineyard.
"We saw an opportunity to use the natural Otways water for
another product line and beer famously needs good water," she
In 2007 the winery launched the Prickly Moses range of boutique
beers, and two years later began producing cider under the
Forbidden Fruit label. Their products are now distributed widely in
the Geelong Otway region, and are also available all over
Melbourne, including at Federation Square's Transport Hotel and at
iconic pub Young & Jacksons.
Prickly Moses produces an ever-changing range of beers,
including ales, pilsners and stouts, plus seasonal releases such as
a blueberry wheat beer that is produced over summer using fruit
from local berry farms.
This month, Geelong's new Odyssey Tavern, a specialist beerhouse
selling hard-to-find craft beers, will be launching Prickly Moses'
latest range of Trilogy farmhouse ales, with many of their other
beers also available on tap.