Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne, is a very popular spot for Melburnians looking for a weekend break from the city. There is lots to do, from eco tourism at the many national parks, golf at the numerous courses, water sports, hot springs, beaches, breweries and wineries.
On Easter Sunday, me, my fiancée and a few of my other non-Victorian Melburnian friends decided to head down to the area to see what we could do in half a day.
Our first stop was the Red Hill Brewery. Red Hill Brewery is an independent craft brewer who even grow their own hops on site. Their aim is to create sessionable, European-style beers.
The bar and cellar door are open on most long weekends and on monthly “open days”, details of which can be found on the website.
It’s a nice spot, very relaxed with lots of gum trees around.
There are a variety of beers that Red Hill produces – exactly what’s on offer at any given time will depend on when you visit.
There is a cafe that serves food, but today there was also a taco truck so we decided to go for that option. The food was tasty, falling somewhere between tex-mex and authentic Mexican with the highlight being the pulled pork in the third taco.
The main reason that we visited was of course, the beer. I ordered a tasting paddle, which contained (I can’t recall if this was the exact order).
- Bohemian Pilsner
- Golden Ale
- Wheat Beer
- Hop Harvest Ale
I really liked the Wheat Beer and the Hop Harvest Ale (which is the beer that is produced using the hops that are grown on the property). The golden ale was decent, and all of us on the table agreed that the pilsner was the lowlight of the bunch.
A few of us also tried the Scotch Ale, which had hints of caramel and toffee, and that was a big hit – the best of all of the beers we tried at Red Hill Brewery.
I’d definitely head back again to try some of the other beers. The space is really relaxing, and I can imagine sitting outside during winter with the heaters on, the smell of rain on the gumtrees permeating the air.
Red Hill Brewery
88 Shoreham Road
Red Hill South
Most long weekends and monthly open days. Check the website for details.
Next we stopped by the Port Philip Estate winery, which is home to both Port Philip Estate wines and Kooyong Estate Wines. Lured by the striking architecture of the Wood Marsh designed building, with its rammed-earth exterior and wide eaves, we were not disappointed when we got inside.
The back of the cellar door and restaurant opens up to a large deck with expansive views of the grapes vines and beyond. The view is absolutely stunning.
There are a large variety of wines on offer for tasting, both reds and white from Port Philip Estate and Kooyong Estate. Unlike many other wineries that I have been to, there was a really meticulous structure to the way that the wines were presented, with descriptions about the wines, grapes, plots of land, methods used etc all explained to us in great detail.
All of this means nothing if the wines are no good, however the wines at Port Philip Estate were excellent. We came away with a few choice bottles.
The menu looked very good (head chef Andrius Eidukas has trained under Gordon Ramsay at the Savoy Grill in London) and I’ll certainly be back here for a meal and some more wine at a later date.
Port Philip Estate
263 Red Hill Road
Red Hill South
Cellar Door: Mon – Sun: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Dining Room: Wed – Sun: Lunch; Fri – Sat: Dinner
To end our Mornington Peninsula beer and wine trip, we headed over to the Mornington Peninsula Brewery. A shed in an industrial estate was not what we had expected to encounter, however this is exactly what the Brewery is. Regardless, good local beer, a comfy seat and good friends is 99% of what a day like this is all about, and we had all 3.
There is a wood-fired oven that cooks up some very nice sounding and smelling pizzas. We wanted to try some, but unfortunately food is only served until 5:00pm. The brewing equipment is in full view behind the bar and all looks very impressive. There was also live music playing, and the venue had a really chilled out and family friendly vibe about it.
The Witbier, Pale Ale, Brown Ale and IPA are always on tap and are all decent beers. My favourite is the Brown Ale.
Also on tap at any given time are 2 speciality beers, which change according to the season. When we went there was an Imperial IPA and a Belgian IPA. We were all big fans of the Belgian IPA – the definite highlight on the taps. A full range of bottled beers from the brewery is also on offer.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery
72 Watt Road
Thu – Fri: 3:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat: 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 7:00pm
Overall, I was very impressed with the Mornington Peninsula. I barely scratched the surface of what’s on offer in the area, and there are still a multitude of wineries and food places to try, as well as the various activities. Based on this half day experience, I will without a doubt be back down to experience more of this great part of Victoria.