A true phoenix from the ashes tale: Hargreaves Hill is the Victorian craft brewing scene's great survivor. When bush fires tore across the state on Black Saturday in 2009 this brewery in Steels Creek was destroyed along with most houses in the region.
The following weeks saw an outpouring of support for Hargreaves Hill from the craft beer community. And, just six months later, a new brewery was re-established in Lilydale, with a larger brew length, greater process control and improved bottling facilities. There, Simon and his brewing team have recommenced making old favourites ESB, Pale and Hefeweizen while experimenting with new styles, from Scotch Ales and Stouts to German Kellerbiers, an unfiltered lager style rarely seen in Australia, and more recently an Imperial Red Ale.
They have also taken part in a number of collabrative brews during Victoria's annual Good Beer Week festival. In 2012, they hosted a Masterclass of Champions with Californians Moylans and Norway's Nogne O, invited Brazilians Bodebrown to the brewery in 2013 and in 2014 took to the dining carriages of Puffin Billy with Oregon legends Deschutes. Early in 2014, a new head brewer, Kai Dambergs from White Rabbit, joined after Glenn Harrison moved to Temple, tweaking much of the existing range and adding new releases, including the brewery's first double IPA.
Visitors to the Yarra Valley can sample their full range as well as one-off specials while enjoying fine dining at the Hargreaves Hill restaurant and cellar door in Yarra Glen. Classically-trained pianist Simon and opera singer wife Beth converted the town's beautiful former National Bank building in 2007, turning it into an oasis for lovers of the grain in the heart of one of the world's foremost wine regions.