One of the brave few fighting the craft beer cause in Victoria's west, Camperdown's Red Duck is also responsible for some of the state's boldest beers. It was founded in a converted dairy in the grounds of Purrumbete Homestead but now operates from a brewery in Ballarat, having made the move late in 2011. Using tanks once named after characters in Kath and Kim but now bearing those of the world's leading footballers, brewer Scott Wilson-Browne takes a no-holds-barred approach, specialising in full strength and Imperial versions of predominantly traditional British and European ales.
Opened in 2005 by Scott and wife Vanessa after they left Melbourne for a change of pace, and named after the Shelducks that inhabit nearby Lake Purrumbete, it was for a while the only brewery between Geelong and Adelaide. Using a self-designed system, the focus is on quality over quantity: many of the beers in the Red Duck range are only produced in limited 500l batches, making them hard to find, but well worth the effort.
In late 2009, they opened a Provedore in Camperdown's main street that offered their beers on tap and in bottle as well as a range of gourmet goods sourced from the finest local producers. Then, following the move to Ballarat and an ever-increasing production schedule, they decided to sell up in October 2013 to focus on beer and brewing.
That said, you can call into the cellar door in Ballarat to check out their current brewing setup, pick up bottles from a range that often tops 30 beers, have a chat to the brewing team and discover just what madcap experiments they've got bubbling away.