H100: Yarra Valley Brewers

November 26, 2010, by Crafty Pint

H100: Yarra Valley Brewers

The Yarra Valley is known globally for its wine and, in more recent years, has been developing a reputation for beer too. Once home to a single brewery – Buckley’s in Healesville – it now has four: Hargreaves Hill, formerly of Steels Creek, now brews in Lilydale and operates a lovely restaurant / cellar door in Yarra Glen; Coldstream Brewery celebrates two years of brewing in January; White Rabbit, opened by the Little Creatures team, now brews two beers – Dark and White Ales – in open fermentation tanks next door to the Giant Steps cellar door and restaurant in Healesville; and, of course, there’s Buckley’s.

Each brings a unique approach to brewing and together they offer a welcome alternative to the region’s wineries. This week, they’ve given The Crafty Pint their favourite Australian craft beers of 2010 as voting continues for the Hottest 100 poll, being run for the third year by The Local Taphouse.

As in previous weeks, they’re not allowed to select their own beers (which has made for one interesting submission) even though they can vote for them in the actual poll. You can enter here, where you’ll also find rules of entry. Alternatively, you can use these choices and those of previous weeks to refresh your memories of some of the best beers released in Australia in 2010 and hold on until the very end of the year before voting.

So, in no particular order…

Hargreaves Hill


Owner Simon Walkenhorst:

  • Wig & Pen – Kolsch
  • Feral – Barrel-aged Saison
  • Burleigh Brewing – 28 Pale Ale
  • Red Hill – Temptation
  • Mountain Goat – IPA (straight from the bottling line)

Simon wishes to point out that he hasn’t been able to include Bridge Road’s B2 Bomber as he’s still awaiting his bottle…!

Brewer Glenn Harrison:

  • Wicked Elf – Mad Abbot Strong Abbey Ale
  • Lobethal Bierhaus – Devil’s Choice Strong Golden Ale
  • Bright Brewery – Stairhouse Porter
  • Otway Estate – Biere de Garde
  • Knappstein – Reserve Lager


Brewer Alan Harding:

  • White Rabbit – Dark Ale
  • Hargreaves Hill – Pale Ale
  • Mildura Brewery – Chocolate Porter (First offered at Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase)
  • Grand Ridge – Gippsland Gold
  • Jamieson – Raspberry Ale

Alan says he hasn’t had the chance to try many more, stating: “I need a holiday and a driver.” Poor chap.


White Rabbit

A poll of the brewery team:

  • 3 Ravens – White
  • Moo Brew – Pale Ale
  • Coopers – Stout
  • Bridge Road – Galaxy Single Hop IPA
  • Temple – Saison


Owner John O'Callaghan:

“I’ve given up drinking other brewers' beer if I can drink Buckley’s,” he says. “However I find the Sauvin hops in Knappstein’s lager very refreshing.”

Hopefully, there’s a few there to bring happy experiences flooding back. Look out for future picks from managers of Australia’s top beer bars as well as looks at the stories behind previous favourites in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers polls.


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