How many great ideas are concocted between mates over a few beers every time the AFL Grand Final rolls around? And how many do you reckon actually reach fruition? Not many, I’d wager. So tip your hats to the guys behind the Mornington Peninsula Brewery whose “Let’s open a brewery!” conversation as the Hawks downed the Cats in 2008 became a reality in just two years.
Built inside a factory once used to manufacture exploding golf balls, the brewery is about a kilometre from the Mornington Racecourse and the same distance from the town itself. It has become a serious destination for beer lovers with the brewing side of operations headed up by Andrew “AG” Gow, whose pedigree includes stints at Mountain Goat, Matilda Bay and 5 Islands in NSW.
Designed to offer beer lovers the great combination of beer and wood-fired pizza, you can also soak up the atmosphere with live music played every Sunday afternoon while your pizza (made with dough using beer!) is cooking in the impressive stainless steel oven. For those more into the brewing side of things you might even catch the brewers at work as you gaze out over the brewing system from the mezzanine area.
Mornington Peninsula’s regular range includes a Belgian Witbier, American Pale Ale, and an English Brown Ale with an American IPA and English Porter usually available. However, it is the specialty beers with which Mornington are really ‘kicking goals’, beers as varied as their Imperial IPA and Sorachi Kolsch are being created under the ‘seasonal’ title and you’re always likely to find a new one just around the corner. With wine barrel tables and plenty of seating too, Mornington Peninsula Brewery has become a great destination for beer lovers on the Peninsula.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery Beers
- Mornington Peninsula Belgian Pale
- Mornington Peninsula / Ale Stars Bonzer IPA
- Mornington Peninsula Mosaic IPA
- Mornington Peninsula Czech Pilsner
- Mornington Peninsula Marzen
- Mornington Peninsula English IPA
- Mornington Peninsula Scottish Ale
- Mornington Peninsula Russian Imperial Stout
- Mornington Peninsula ESB
- Mornington Peninsula Imperial Amber
- Mornington Peninsula White IPA
- Mornington Peninsula Aussie Ale
- Mornington Peninsula Oatmeal Stout
- Mornington Peninsula Falconer's Amber
- Mornington Peninsula Imperial IPA
- Mornington Peninsula Saison
- Mornington Peninsula Sorachi Kolsch
- Mornington Peninsula Hefeweizen
Mornington Peninsula Pale
Pouring a cloudy golden yellow with a tightly packed white head, Mornington’s Pale takes its lead from the American style of Pale Ale with prominent citrus and stone-fruit aromas, showcasing the American and Australian hops added late in the brewing process. It’s a good example of the style that’s been gently tweaked since the brewery opened, with the late hopping increased to boost the aromatics and lighter hop flavours, while maintaining bitterness at a level that keeps the beer sessionable.
Style: American Pale Ale
Mornington Peninsula Brown
Brewed using classic imported English ale malts, the Brown that first hit taps at the brewery is closer to those found in the north of England, full of nutty malt characteristics backed up with some toffee, chocolate and hints of raisin. It’s a rich, full-flavoured beer, pouring a reddish brown that, as brewer AG develops the recipe, will begin to display more of the toffee flavours found in English Browns from the south of the country.
Style: English Brown Ale
Mornington Peninsula Witbier
Pouring a hazy pale straw colour with a densely packed white head, the Mornington Peninsula Witbier is brewed with both wheat and barley malts, with the traditional additions of coriander and dried citrus peel. It’s a bold interpretation of the style that matches the brewer’s description: “A powerful citrus aroma is supported by spice and pepper notes. Coriander and zesty citrus flavours abound on the palate, with lively carbonation and a lightly tart finish making this a refreshing ale.” A refreshing ale with bigger flavour contrasts than often found in Australian witbiers.
Style: Belgian Witbier
Mornington Peninsula Porter
When Crafty first visited the brewery, Mornington Peninsula’s brewer AG – ever the optimistic Saints fan – said their first specialty release would be a porter called the Premiership Porter. Things didn’t quite pan out for St Kilda but, he says, “thankfully it’s not taken on any sour characteristics (unlike the brewer)”. Instead, he says it possesses a “rich, smooth mouthfeel” that’s “long in the palate” and has chocolate and coffee notes “from areshole to breakfast”. And there we were thinking it was Pies fans who were uncouth… It was the first beer to appear on tap outside the brewery and is now a permanent fixture on the brewery’s roster. Crafty tasted a later batch mid-conditioning from the tank and it truly is big on the creamy chocolate notes. Surprisingly 6%.
Available: [Mornington Peninsula Brewery](/beer/brewery/mornington-peninsula-brewery/)
Mornington Peninsula IPA
The third limited release from the fledgling brewery is their biggest yet. An IPA that, like their Pale Ale, takes its lead from those coming out of the US, brewer AG says it’s “light orange-tinted amber in colour” and features the stone fruit aromas – peach and apricots – you’d expect from a beer given generous late kettle additions of Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo hops. “An initially sweet malty palate opens up to a fruity mid-palate flavour and an evermore prominent bitterness,” he says.
Available: [Mornington Peninsula Brewery](/beer/brewery/mornington-peninsula-brewery/) [The Local Taphouse St Kilda](/beer/bar/local-taphouse-st-kilda/)
Style: American IPA
Mornington Peninsula Belgian Pale
AG’s going easy on old Crafty these days. Where once the Mornington Peninsula brewer would crank out another new beer with his team every couple of days, he’s been taking things at a more sedate pace recently. That said, with such a vast range already on offer and a voracious and appreciative following, it’s not as if they’ve not been kept busy. However, they’re back this week with the second release in a Belgian trilogy. According to AG it’s “Pouring a light amber hue with a tightly-packed off-white head”, features Styrian Goldings hops and a Belgian yeast strain that “emit aromas of spice and baking bread.” Expect low bitterness and hop presence that allow “a delicate and lightly fruity palate to announce itself [before a] lingering malty sweetness and nutty notes round out this easy drinker.” Sounds almost poetic, no? Look out for part three of the trilogy – a Belgian Strong – post GABS.
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Mornington Peninsula / Ale Stars Bonzer IPA
The crew at the Local Taphouse Ale Stars clearly got a taste for the brewing lifestyle when they created their 13 Hours On A Bus beer with Bridge Road Brewers a few months back. Because they’ve been at it again, with the St Kilda crew heading down to Mornington Peninsula Brewery for a brew day and the Darlinghurst mob trotting along to Hunter Beer Co in the Hunter Valley to create another. First to hit the taps was the Bonzer IPA created by the St Kilda Ale Stars. The Bonzer is a Belgian IPA, of which Mornington’s head brewer AG says: “It weighs in at 7.7 per cent and uses all Pacific Rim hops – Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy – including a heavy dose of dry-hopping to compete with fruity and spicy Belgian yeast esters.” It was tapped for the first time at March’s St Kilda Ale Stars session and will be a feature beer at the Mornington Peninsula Brewery’s Hopulence showcase from March 21.
Style: Belgian IPA
Mornington Peninsula Mosaic IPA
In all honesty, we were getting rather concerned that something terrible had happened on the Mornington Peninsula. Fully two months had passed since we’d been notified of a new release from the prolific team at Mornington Peninsula Brewery. Should we notify the emergency services or start calling round the hospitals? Thankfully, normal service has resumed with the arrival of their Mosaic IPA. And, while it’s a new beer, it’s one that shares a trait with some of their past releases. One assumes that AG, the head brewer, must have a flashing red Batphone in his brewing cave that goes off every time a new hop variety is released commercially as, once again, he’s amongst the very first in Australia to get his hands on one. This time it’s Mosaic, which The Crafty Pint was previously told was the “son of Simcoe” by Prickly Moses but, according to Mornington Peninsula, is the “daughter of Simcoe"… Either way, this seahorse-like hop delivers an IPA in which "stone fruit aromas of peach and apricot abound, and lead into a palate bursting with passionfruit and ably supported by pine and grassy notes” – a fruit salad wrapped in a forest wrapped in an enigma taking pot shots at JFK. Or, as AG puts it more succinctly: “Lip-smacking.”
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Alehouse Project
Beer DeLuxe Fed Sq & Hawthorn
The Fitzroy Pinnacle
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Mornington Peninsula Czech Pilsner
With the mercury rising and holiday season on the way, the Mornington Peninsula boys are serving up a pilsner for your delectation. Their latest seasonal is the brainchild of brewer Matt Inchley, designed to be as true to style as possible: all Saaz hops, pilsner malt, unfiltered. According to the man behind it, the beer is: “Deep burnished gold in colour … with a dense, snow white head. Rich and complex aromas of grass and soft spice interweave with bready yeast notes. A spicy hop presence imbues the palate underpinning a delicate malt profile and spicy hop notes. Rich and rounded with solid bitterness and impressive palate length. For the purists.” Hmmm… “interweave”, “imbues” – someone’s been getting into the Christmas spirit early, it seems.
Style: Czech Pilsner
Mornington Peninsula Marzen
To mark their Oktoberfest, the brewers at Mornington Peninsula Brewery have concocted a rarity among their beers – a lager. And because it’s Oktoberfest time, it’s a Marzen, the richly malty German lager found pouring at the Munich fest itself. Described as “light copper in colour with a densely packed head of foam” it has “nutty aromas [that] lead into hazelnut notes, [with] Vienna and Munich malts providing a mild bready backdrop.” The brewers say it’s: “A mildly hopped, malty soft beer that sits lightly across the palate.” And it’s pouring now.
Mornington Peninsula English IPA
The unstoppable brewing force that is AG is back with another limited release. Not just that, but he’s announcing the next one in line at the same time; something tells us there must be more than one brewhouse down on the Peninsula… Anyway, before the Marzen lands, his tour of Europe that commenced in Scotland last time around heads south of the border for an English style IPA. That means a blend of traditional English hops and toffee-like malts to create a golden amber ale that, according to the brewers “delivers sweet aromas of caramel and spiced bun”. There’s a little chocolate and raisin too, some earthy and floral hops and, as there should be, a “soft yet assertive bitterness”.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
The Park Hotel Werribee
The Alehouse Project
Deja Vu (former Biero)
The Gertrude Hotel, Fitzroy
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Local Taphouse Darlo
Style: English IPA
Mornington Peninsula Scottish Ale
You have to wonder how long it will take the brewers at Mornington Peninsula Brewery to run out of beer styles to brew for their specials. In less than two years, they’ve banged out everything from a series of Imperials to a White IPA and much in between. Latest cab off the rank is a Scottish Ale, one which we’re told is based on the 80/– (or 80 shilling style) – the sort we used to pour down our throats in Rose Street pubs when we were a lad after watching rugby at Murrayfield. Brewer AG says to look out for “lovely toffee malt flavors with subtle Scottish ale yeast notes” in a beer that’s “had a good month conditioning”. He says it’s “deep ruby in colour … delivers aromas of dates and fruity esters [with a] rich, malty palate that underpins lovely toffee and dark fruit flavours, and finishes with a subtle smokey note.”
Alehouse Project, Brunswick East
The Park Hotel, Werribee
Junction Beer Hall
Odyssey Tavern, Torquay
Young & Jacksons
Style: Scottish Ale
Mornington Peninsula Russian Imperial Stout
Things are getting dark on the peninsula. Very dark… as AG prepares to unleash the Mornington Peninsula Russian Imperial Stout around Australia. The third in the brewery’s imperial range – all of which will be packaged together from August for those of you who like your beers big – it’s “deep espresso in colour with a thick, tan head” says the man behind it. He add: “Enticing aromas of coffee and dark chocolate lead into a complex and moreish palate. Liquorice, cocoa and dark fruit flavours are underpinned by a roasted malt finish.” It’s lightly carbonated and late-hopped with Amarillo for a fruity flourish too. And it’s coming your way right about now…
Deja Vu (formerly Biero)
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Local Taphouse Darlo
Alehouse Project (opens this Friday – look out for story on Crafty)
Belgian Beer Cafe Eureka
Chapel St Cellars
Junction Beer Hall
The Scratch, Brisbane
Werribee Park Hotel (new venue, not yet opened – look out for story on Crafty soon)
Odyssey Tavern, Geelong
Blackhearts & Sparrows (growler fills)
Swords Select South Melbourne (Growler fills)
Brunswick Cider House
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Mornington Peninsula ESB
They don’t hang about at Mornington Peninsula Brewery. Since racing out of the traps less than two years ago, they’ve released all manner of beers into the Aussie beer world. And now here comes their first English ale. Word from the brewery is it’s deep orange in colour and delivers “sweet malt aromas of toffee and raspberry, underpinned by an earthy hop bouquet”. Intriguingly this is followed by “sweet marmalade and fruit bun flavours” plus some nuttiness and bitterness. Given we were told by one bottleshop owner that sales of British ales are on the rise, perhaps there are more people looking away from tropical hop bombs as we head into the cooler weather. Or perhaps we’re all secret monarchists quaffing pints of bitter while gazing upon our shrines to old Queenie.
Mornington Peninsula Imperial Amber
One of a handful of beers that was debuted at the 2012 Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular that looks like becoming a semi-regular release from its brewery is the second Imperial beer from Mornington Peninsula. The Imperial Amber sees pretty much every element of the beer ramped up to 11, with brewer AG describing it as “burnished copper in appearance, its aromas of caramel and fig jam are melded with subtle citrus hop character. The lashings of American hops used in this beer are balanced with rich toffee driven malt flavours, resulting in a luscious mouthfeel and a smooth lingering bitterness.” Given the popularity and success of the Imperial IPA – already out in bottles – don’t expect this to be the last biggie from the peninsula…
Style: Imperial American Amber
Mornington Peninsula White IPA
We’ve had straight IPAs, double IPAs, black IPAs, rye IPAs. Now it’s time for Australia’s first White IPA. The latest cab off the rank at Mornington Peninsula is a hybrid between a Belgian Wit and an American IPA that brewer AG first read about in an American brewing magazine. Apparently it was first brewed as a collaboration between Deschutes and Boulevard Brewing, who specialise in Belgian beers. He says: “The idea is too have a souped up version of a witbier, citrus hops complementing coriander and spice, with the beer presenting as a witbier colour wise.” The result is aromas “of coriander and citrus hops leading into a crisp, rather dry palate and an ever-present bitterness supporting tart grapefruit and spicy notes.” After the success of the equally unlikely Bridge Road / Nøgne Ø India Saison hybrid, we can’t wait to have a taste.
Style: White IPA
Mornington Peninsula Aussie Ale
Over the past 12 months, the chaps at Mornington Peninsula Brewery have proven themselves as adept at brewing quality limited release beers as conjuring interesting images to go with them. None, however, has been quite as interesting as that drawn up for this, their Aussie Ale, a beer made with all Australian ingredients that’s been tapped at the brewery bar just in time for Christmas. Deep golden in color, brewer AG (when not dipping his toes in Port Phillip Bay) told us that “the Australian yeast-strain offers a cloudy backdrop. Yeasty esters and fruity hop aromas lead into a crisp palate of mild hop bitterness and soft bready yeast. Moderate carbonation with a medium to light body.” He also added: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…” You know the rest.
Style: Australian Ale
Mornington Peninsula Oatmeal Stout
Not too long ago, it seemed you couldn’t go a week without Mornington Peninsula sending another quality treat our way: IPA, Double IPA, Falconer’s Amber and so on. Having given us just about enough time to catch our breath, they’re back with an Oatmeal Stout. Resisting the temptation to go BIIIIG as many Aussie micros have done this winter, the aim instead has been to create a smooth, luscious beer. The man behind it tells us it’s “deep, dark brown in colour, pouring with a tan head”, has “lightly sweet aromas of banana esters from the yeast, cocoa beans and a rich, smooth palate”. The 20% oatmeal beefs up the mouthfeel, while he says to expect “full-bodied, malty, sweet notes, some vanilla through the palate, all finishing with a mild roasty flavour”. Sounds delectable.
Style: Oatmeal Stout
Mornington Peninsula Falconer's Amber
We await being shot down by a disgruntled brewer somewhere telling us we’re wrong, but we believe this is a hoppy first for a commercial brew in Australia. Mornington Peninsula’s latest beer takes its name from the Falconer’s Flight hop pellet developed in tribute to US brewing legend Glen Falconer, a man who plied his trade at Rogue and Wild Duck in his time, winning back to back golds at the Great American Beer Festival in 2002 and 2003. Released in December 2010, it’s actually a blend of several US hops – including Citra, Simcoe, Sorachi Ace and several other experimental varieties – designed to create the characteristics of a typical Northwest US IPA, the beer that inspired many of the Aussie IPAs you know and love. Here, however, brewer AG has created an American amber ale, which he says has “a pillowy off white head, aromas of jam preserve and tropical fruits, a malty palate, moderate carbonation and notes of biscuit and burnt toffee” with “a final citrus flourish”.
Style: American Amber
Mornington Peninsula Imperial IPA
Given the reception the brewery’s recent IPA got, there’s going to plenty of people awaiting the arrival of its big brother. The latest specialty beer from Mornington Peninsula is an Imperial IPA, tipping the scales at a hold-onto-your-hats-folks 8.5% ABV. Brewer AG says it’s “burnt orange in colour” and “delivers ripe stonefruit and rock candy aromas through the lavish additions of American aroma hops”. As for the palate, he says the hops are in charge there too – “citrus, earthy and floral” – with the malts there in support. He says it’s “rich and resinous” with a powerful bitterness that you’d expect from a beer clocking in at 120IBUs (International Bittering Units). In brief, he describes it as “an IPA on steroids”.
Style: Imperial IPA
Mornington Peninsula Saison
The latest specialty release from Mornington Peninsula will be hoping to catch the last of the summer as it’s their take on the Saison style brewed in Belgium for the benefit of thirsty harvest workers. We’ve yet to get Crafty’s smackers around it, but if the quality of its predecessor, the wonderfully full-flavoured IPA is anything to go by, we won’t be wasting any time in doing so. According to brewer AG, the beer “pours a hazy orange colour with an off white head” with “tart and fruity esters on the nose, giving way to a funky, citrusy palate” while “peppery notes round out this dryish, uniquely refreshing ale”. Sounds like a bang on take on what’s becoming an increasingly popular style Down Under. Can’t wait to find out.
Mornington Peninsula Sorachi Kolsch
One of the first beers commercially brewed in Australia to feature the Sorachi Ace hop developed by Japanese brewery Sapporo, this is also the latest special from the fledgling Mornington Peninsula Brewery. This Kolsch style beer is described by brewer AG as “a clean, crisp, delicately balanced beer” it has a compact snow white head and displays “subtle aromas of grass and lemon”. It’s got a light, smooth mouthfeel and has a lemongrass tang on the palate from the Sorachi Ace. AG says it’s “subtle, summery and refreshing”; you may also have read about it here. Find it on the lineup for the next Ale Stars session at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda too.
Mornington Peninsula Hefeweizen
The second special to appear from the tanks at the fledgling Mornington Peninsula Brewery is a hefeweizen, which is being tapped for the very first time at pretty much the exact second this description appears on Crafty. Which means we haven’t tasted it yet. However, brewer AG says it’s got all elements you could wish for in a hefe: banana, cloves – even a hint of cinnamon. He says it’s got a tart finish, making it very refreshing. However, he also claims it’s based on an old family recipe passed down through the generations from his Germanic ancestors, with this version the first to be brewed outside of Bavaria. Whether this is actually true or not, you’ll have to ask him when you head to the brewery to try it.