It used to be the case that once you passed Grand Ridge, you entered a craft beer wasteland, with the Mirboo North brewery Victoria's easternmost outpost. Not any more, with Bullant Brewery opening near Lakes Entrance in 2011 and bringing locally brewed beer to the people of East Gippsland.
Located in the heart of Bruthen, it combines a copper clad brewery picked up from a brewery in Richmond, Virginia, with a bright and breezy restaurant and decking looking out across the surrounding farmland. Owners Neil and Lois Triggs, who were already established in the area's tourism business through nearby Stringybark Cottages, have been quick to place their venture at the heart of the town's community, even sponsoring the popular annual Blues Festival, which attracts thousands to Bruthen every February.
Utilising a long background in home brewing, Neil oversees the brewing, producing half a dozen beers named after local landmarks which pour from the eight taps at the brewery - often alongside guest beers and ciders - and are available in longnecks and mini-kegs from the bar, some regional stockists and, increasingly, from outlets around Melbourne.
The kitchen produces a wide range of dishes, from snack size small bites for those dropping in to sample the beers to sharing platters and full meals, with a menu that combines pub classics with pan-Asian-inspired fare. You can catch live music on the deck at weekends too. The Great Alpine Road is generally open all year round so if your heading for Mount Hotham for skiing or touring during the warmer months Bullant becomes a southerly stop for the keen beer tourist wishing to head along the High Country Brewery Trail.