Whether you are one of the 95,000 football fans heading to the AFL grand final kick-off on Saturday or just want to kick back on a rare Friday off, the Yarra Valley boasts one of the finest craft beer and cider regions and it’s just 35km from the grandstands of the MCG. One of the best ways to plan your visit is to check out the popular Yarra Valley Cider & Ale Trail. This route comprises more than 10 cider houses and breweries and all are within a 20km radius.
You will find most of the cider makers use fruit grown in their own orchards and the handcrafted beers are top notch. Tasting paddles are available at many venues as are meals and snacks showcasing the best fresh Yarra Valley produce. So grab a grazing or cheese platter to go with your brew of choice.
Once you sample any of the many ciders on offer at places such as St Ronans Cider in Badger Creek or the Napoleone Ciderhouse in Coldstream, it’s easy to see why the Yarra Valley is kicking goals as one of Victoria’s oldest cider regions. Not to be missed is Detour Beer. With a family history of farming in the Yarra Valley, they've made things get real intersting!
Kellybrook, in Wonga Park, is famous for its annual cider festival and its Kelly Brothers Cider but they also added Riders Brew Co beer to the cellar door a few years ago. Check out the beer specials throughout the GF weekend and grazing plates available with local cheeses and charcuterie.
For more premium handcrafted beers stop by The Public Brewery in Croydon where they are staging their own Oktoberfest on the pre-AFL public holiday. The popular brewery will be serving Germanic food and have German-style beers on tap made on site and by neighboring Yarra Valley brewers.
Any more time to spare? Head to Healesville to catch up with Watts River Brewing. Brewer Ben Hamilton says their cellar door will be open right through the long weekend with six beers now on tap, bar snacks and a jaffle food truck. Also attracting a loyal following is Coldstream Brewery on Maroondah Highway which has become so popular the production is now off-site.
All of the venues are open during GF week so plan ahead, take some time to make a plan and add the Cider & Ale Trail in the stunning Yarra Valley to your timetable. You won’t be disappointed.
Apart from the German styles on tap during Oktoberfest celebration on Friday, September 30, the brewery stocks 60+ Victorian beers and ciders. You can also make a booking to try your hand at making your own brew.
Address: 13 Lacey Street, Croydon, VIC 3136
Phone: 9725 5864
Enjoy tastings in the barrel room of Kellybrook estate, the home of Kelly Brothers Cider.
Address: Fulford Rd, Wonga Park VIC 3115
Phone: 9722 1304
The range of beers is varied from the most delicate Hefeweizen, through to a deep, rich and intense Russian Imperial Stout. The beer-friendly food is fresh, tasty and made to order using local produce. Check their Facebook page for open to the public times.
Address: Lilydale Cavehill Industrial Estate
Since late last year beer and ciders have been produced using traditional methods. The beers, which include two styles: a lager and a pale ale, are made from pure rain water heated by solar panels. Closed on Friday and only open for lunch on Grand Final day (Saturday).
Address: 1548 Melba Highway, Dixons Creek VIC 3775
Phone: 5965 2444
Watts River is about to celebrate its first year of operation. Owners Aaron Malmborg and Ben Hamilton are busy adding three special brews to their regular blonde, IPA and stout. Bar snacks available. BYO food welcome.
Address: 7 Hunter Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
Phone: 5962 1409
The cider makers use traditional processes for their unique range of methode traditionelle or “MT” ciders or try a real Australian cider - a lightly carbonated apple cider. Why not try their unique blueberry wine as well.
Address: 1 Garnook Grove, Badger Creek VIC 3777
Phone: 5962 1601
Built on the site of a 19th-century dairy, the brewery and cider house are surrounded by apple and pear orchards and stunning valley views. The fruit is crafted into cider on site, and “living” beer (unpasteurized and unfiltered) is brewed daily.
Address: 12 St Huberts Rd, Coldstream VIC 3770
Phone: 9738 9100
8. DETOUR BEER Co
Take a Detour because thats when things get a bit different. Black Spur Draught, IPA, SPA and Trail Ale are stops along the way!
Address: 19-21 St Huberts Road, Yering VIC 3770
Phone: 9739 0461
This microbrewery started in 2007 and now their brews are available far and wide. Their cider is made from 100% Victorian apples that are crushed and then cold fermented. A tasting paddle of four beers and two ciders is available.
Address: 694 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770
Phone: 9739 1794