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Wangaratta to Beachworth & Boorhaman Hotel Circuit

Early one Saturday, Rod, Clair and Salina told us about a few little breweries off the beaten track in Northeast Victoria not far from Wangaratta. Needless to say with the promise of a great lunch and the chance to sample a few ales we eagerly climbed on our bikes and headed east out Wangarratta towards the Beechworth-Wangaratta road and our destination the historic town Beechworth some 37 kilometers away.

The route affords some great riding though undulating farmland, with plenty of bends to keep the ride interesting. This time of year countryside is vibrant with the blossoms blooming and rich green fields.

The Bridge Road Brewery in historic Beechworth, is hidden down the Old Coach House Brewers Lane off the main street. Indecently the lane was used by the Cobb & Co horse and coach wagons back in the day and brewery is located in the same building that housed the coaches.

We discovered that Beechworth was famous for its major growth during the gold rush days of the mid-1850s.

In its golden heyday from 1852–1857, this was a fabulous gold region and centre of government; but its power, wealth and influence were short lived.

It was here at Beechworth gaol that twenty-one men, suspected Kelly Gang supporters, relatives and other sympathisers were held without trial or evidence for over 3 months, by the Chief Commissioner of Police Captain Standish, under the Outlawry Act.

Incidentally, Robert O'Hara Burke, leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition was stationed in Beechworth as Senior Inspector of Police from 1854 to 1857.

The Bridge Road Brewery - Beers:

Hefe Weizen, 5.0% alc/vol.
Cloudy, quirky, smooth and refreshing, this German styled wheat beer is one for all. Bridge Road Brewers can trace its inspiration for this beer back to Europe, through its brewer, Ben Kraus, who cut his teeth brewing in Innsbruck, Austria. Bridge Road Brewers have re-created a German style hefe-weizen that conjures memories of German bier halls, giant pretzels and busty bavarian girls in traditional dresses....

Australian Ale, 4.4% alc/vol.
The Beechworth Australian Ale is Bridge Road’s original brew. A perfectly balanced ale and a great introduction to the world of craft beer. Australian Ale is a beer style that can trace its roots back to English style Pale Ales. The Aussie version developed into a style that better suits our warm climate, though not bland and still holding its own in the character department. Traditional Australian styled ales had all but been forgotten since the advent of lagers. Thankfully, however this beer style is enjoying a revival. Bridge Road's “Aussie Ale”, as it is affectionately know by the locals, is a true “session beer”, We hope you enjoy our Aussie Ale as much as the locals do!

Beechworth Pale Ale, 4.8% alc/vol.
Bridge Roads benchmark ale, the Beechworth Pale Ale is a beer dominated by its aromatic hop profile. Often the yard stick of microbreweries, this beer is based on classic American styled Pale Ales, crisp and refreshing, a mouthful of aromatic hops. Beechworth Pale Ale is bound to satisfy hop heads and make a definite impression on those new to the craft beer scene. Beechworth Pale Ale is a hand crafted "new world" pale ale. Dry hopped with both U.S and N.Z hop varieties, we constantly tweak this beer from season to season to get things just the way we like it. We hope you will too. Enjoy your Beechworth Pale Ale alone, or match it with spicy and oily foods.

Celtic Red, 5.3% alc/vol.
Originally brewed for Beechworth’s annual Celtic festival, the Celtic Red Ale is now a Bridge Road staple. The Celtic festival is held in November each year and aside from the music, having a few ales is a big part of it. The Celtic Red Ale is classed as an Irish Red Ale in beer speak. It presents a wonderful deep red hue and a creamy off white head. The Red Ale has a big malty body owing to the use of caramalised malts and roast barley. The flavour is slightly roasted with smooth notes of chocolate, toffee or Jaffa, bringing back childhood memories of the occasional Jaffa that was actually consumed and not just thrown at the back of someone's head. The malts are back up with the use of noble hops to provide a good lick of bitterness. At 5.3% this one is sure to make you merry.

Robust Porter 5.2% alc/vol.
Big chocolate, roasted and mocha notes are the key to this style. A wise country football coach once said, "there’s no point half doing something". And in making this porter we've taken his advice on board, our Robust Porter uses plenty of roast barley and chocolate malt to give you a big porter that wont leave you asking for more. Try this one with dark chocolate and liquorice. Bridge Roads Porter, like many of its beers, pulls no punches. Make no mistake, the Robust Porter is big and bold, yet its smooth roasty texture makes it one to convert the non-dark drinker. Match it with rich chocolate deserts, cold winter nights or freshly shucked oysters.

Bling India Pale, 5.8% alc/vol.
Bridge Road Brewers have created their own take on a more traditional beer style - India Pale Ale, originally a heavily hopped beer developed for the long haul from England to India by boat. Fresh hops were added to the barrel and the alcohol was bolstered to ensure the beer went the distance on the high seas. Bling, is a huge beer, with all the bells and whistles. This ale is armed to the teeth with hops and studded with 24 carrot modified malts. At Bridge Road we've gone all out to make an IPA that screams hops and malt but still keeps balance in mind. Try matching this beer it with anything spicy or enjoy this malt and hop mouth full on its own. We love it, and hope you can too.

Chestnut Pilsner (Our Favorite)
A unique Australian Pilsner, brewed in Beechworth from Chestnuts grown locally in the Beechworth and Stanley hills. The Chestnut Pilsner also uses Galaxy hops from the Rostrevor Hop Garden in the nearby Ovens Valley. As with any of the worlds best pilsner the most important ingredients is time, and we have allowed this beer plenty of it, with each batch aged for around 3 months before release. Bridge Road Brewers have created a gem of a beer through experimenting with local produce, a truly local brew! 
This unique lager is very pale and presents a crisp 'pilsner' like profile combined with a distinct nutty character owing to the use of Chestnuts in the mash. The crisp clean profile of this beer lends itself to the summer months and can be paired with seafood or lighter dishes.

Later that afternoon we headed west towards the town of Chiltern near the Hume Freeway then on to Rutherglen for a fuel stop before heading for our final destination, the Boorhaman Hotel. The pub is completely surrounded by farming land and provides an oasis for those in the Boorhaman district as the nearest town of Wangaratta is around 20km away.

It is a typical country pub but with its own brewery and great meals, its even been voted by AHA as Victoria's Best Country Pub without gaming. Furthermore we’re told that if you come on any day then your likely to find the locals sitting out the front having a yarn about the weather or cattle & wheat prices.

We tried their Ginger Beer and it was pretty good, and decided to come back another day to sample all their beers.

November 17, 2011 | Posted in: On Road Tours, Victoria