Yarra Valley Cider & Ale Trail
Just when you thought you were getting to the end of your Yarra Valley 'must-visit' list, along comes the Yarra Valley Cider & Ale Trail with its seven enticing artisan cider and beer producers. Clear your calendar and free a day for touring the trail, pronto.
A long history of beer and cider
There's a rich history of beer in the Yarra Valley. Just as the verdant land was ripe for the grape picking, so it was for hops, which was a major farming activity in the early 1800s.
Cider production lagged behind until at least the early twentieth century, but it announced its arrival on the world stage with much fanfare thanks to the combination of winemaking techniques and cider pressing in the 1930s and the invention of Australian Champagne Cider in the 1960s.
Forging a place in the future
With such a rich history, the craft breweries and cider producers in the region are working hard to ensure beer and cider remain an important part of the Yarra Valley's gastronomic identity.
While the journey out to Wonga Park to stock up on Kellybrook’s cider has been on the radar for 50 years, visitors now know to continue onto places like Giverny Estate, which has a way with kiwi fruit. At Napoleone & Co at Punt Road Winery ciders and perries are made from Aussie eating apples and pears using traditional winemaking techniques to award-winning effect.
Beer food and beer tours
There's an emphasis on good eating to go along with the micro-brewery revival in the Yarra Valley, and you can tuck into long lunches made from delicious local produce at Coldstream Brewery and Hargreaves Hill, where the driver's looked after with a paddle of beer tastes that don't exceed one standard drink. White Rabbit serves up a classic sausage sizzle on the weekend, and Buckley's gives you a choice between that and none on taking a beer-making tour.
Beer and cider to complement the wines
While you'll never be done with the pinot noirs and chardonnays made by Yarra Valley's renowned wineries, veering in a different direction can be illuminating. In this case, deviating off to the Cider and Ale Trail is a welcome diversion.