On the first weekend of May, the famous ‘Scrumpy’ is ready for drinking, live bands are swinging to blues and soul under the great Oak tree, and the new beer garden amongst the Kellybrook vineyard beckons.
Kellybrook planted their first vines in 1962 and was granted the Yarra Valley’s first vigneron’s licence in 1969. The family business then expanded into cider and more recently beer. The Kellybrook Cider Festival offers the opportunity to taste all of the Kellybrook brands: Kellybrook wine, Kellybrothers Cider and Riders Brew Co. beer.
People from all walks of life enjoy the cider festival weekend. An opportunity to share a wide range of cider with friends, listen to a great line up of bands, picnic in the beautiful Kellybrook gardens and vineyards as well great street food. There is plenty to do for young kids including roving magicians, pony rides, storytellers, face painting and games.
What makes it Special!
There is a growing interest in cider and the ever increasing range of ciders available on the market, but it takes a brave person to brew a ‘Scrumpy’ fermented to perfection, timed to be consumed at the festival. Phil Kelly, one of the Kellybrook brothers, spends countless hours/weeks prior to the festival, pressing the juices of their locally grown apples, using no preservatives or pasteurizing treatments to create the freshest apple juice, highly alcoholic and cloudy in appearance. Scrumpy is poured straight from the fermenting tanks into your container to share with friends. A visit to the Scrumpy and Juice station is a critical part of the experience and the where the cider festival culture begins.
But what is scrumpy?
Scrumpy originated as an alcoholic drink made by fermenting juice from apples that have fallen from the trees. The verb “to scrump" is the act of collecting the fallen apples (often stolen from orchards).
Without giving away too many secrets Phil explains his process of making Scrumpy. “We start with quality local apples (not stolen) and after pressing, we ferment the fresh juice, timing it so it is perfect for drinking over the weekend of the cider fest. Our scrumpy is only considered ready when we reach the perfect balance between sweetness, alcohol, acidity and fresh juice flavour. This process cannot be rushed. We add yeast to the fresh juice and let nature takes its course”.
At the Kellybrook Cider Fest, it is typical that you share your scrumpy with friends while enjoying delightful surroundings, the festive music, entertainment and food on offer.
“From a production point of view, it is an honour to have the scrumpy making role bestowed upon you at Kellybrook. One that carries considerable responsibility, for the fun of the festival lies squarely on the shoulders of the scrumpy maker” says Phil.
Scrumpy is never available throughout the year and cannot be packaged in a permanent container. It is a living fermentation and it changes daily. Therefore, the first weekend in May is your only chance to experience our famous scrumpy.
A new Vineyard Beer Garden and Record Bar
Set amongst the old Kellybrook vines, the Riders Brew Co beer garden beckons.
Take a seat in the Autumn coloured vineyard taking in the rolling hills and Australian bush backdrop. Here you can listen to, or take part in the brewers forums held by Kellybrook’s head brewer Shandy Gargan, try the special release beers being brewed by the Riders Brew Co. and listen to some of your favourite vinyl.
Share Scrumpy under the Oak listening to great bands
You’ll need to be quick to stake your claim under the great old oak if you want prime position in front of the main stage. All you need is a picnic rug and you’re set. No cider fest visit is complete unless you have spent some time sharing scrumpy and watching the great live bands under the reaching boughs of our ancient oak.
With headlining band "The Teskey Brothers” doing their famous blues and soul originals, along with support acts The Scrimshaw 4, Velvet Lounge, Mission Brown and Ginger Pony, the oak will be rocking all weekend.
Sample Kellybrook’s famous wines
The festival also offers a place to get some time out from the crowds at the cider festival wine lounge. Here you can chat drink, taste or buy estate grown wines made by Kellybrook alongside a range of Kellybrothers Ciders and Riders Beers.
All of Kellybrothers favourite ciders on tap
As you enter the festival, along the main bar and food boulevard you will be greeted by a generous array of food offerings and the central cider festival Bar which has all the favourites on TAP.
Fun for the young ones!
Roving throughout the festival are the Morris dancers, entertaining young and old as well as ‘Geoff the Roving magician’ putting smiles on the young ones faces. JJ the Story Teller keeps the imagination flowing, and if that is enough fun, there is face painting, pony rides and kids games.