The family ducked up to the Hunter Valley for a few days earlier this week. As many will know, the Hunter is one of the major wine-growing regions in Australia. As such there are absolutely heaps of wineries to visit – and we visited a lot of them (much to the displeasure of Miss 5).
But I came home with just two bottles of wine. And 17 bottles of beer as well – as can be seen in the above picture. Why so much beer in wine country? Well, because I like beer a lot better – so much so that I’m not at all sure why I even bought those two bottles of wine.
Four of them – in champagne bottles – came from Keith and the guys at Hunter Beer Company. The accommodation I’d chosen just happened to be on the same property as the brewery (okay, it was totally intentional on my part) and I made sure to work my way through all 13 of the beers they had on tap. Highlights included the sublime pale ale, the intriguing Geoff’s Indulgence (which features cocoa, ginger and cayenne pepper) and the witbier. Reviews of a few of them will be coming soonish.
The ginger beer is worth a mention too because it’s the first time I’ve had something from that style that didn’t taste like a soft drink. Now I understand why brewers make ginger beers.
The remainder of the beers came from the bottle shop of Harrigan’s Pub and the surprise find of The Garden Cellars in Hunter Valley Gardens. I didn’t expect anything much there but, when I saw the blackboard sign promoting a “tunnel of beer”, I turned to my wife and said “I’ll just go check this out”.
There were more than 300 different beers, including good selections from Australia and Europe. The big score was a bottle of the iconic Worthington’s White Shield, which I didn’t even know was available in Australia.
And in between the beer and wine we even found time for some activities for Miss 5 , so it was an enjoyable holiday for everyone.