Thirsty Thursday: Holgate Brewhouse

Thursday October 04, 2012 Written by smith

Sitting just north of Melbourne in the appropriately woody Woodend, the Holgate Brewhouse (and the beer contained within) is an unexpected pleasure.

Presided over by the house-proud Paul and Natasha Holgate – whose name as well as the bull's head presiding over their labels can be traced back to a coat of arms in Medieval England – the converted hotel is a clear labour of love, where food, beer, ambience, beer and accommodation (if you want to drink lots of beer) exist all of a part.

But obviously, we're here for the beer and the Holgate selection is one that manages to be both surprising and familiar at the same time. The regular range spins from a straightforward German pilsner (the Pilsner) to an American pale (the Mt. Macedon) and a chocolate porter (the Temptress), while seasonal variants come in white ale, north English brown and Indian pale varieties, amongst others. But it's the limited releases where things really kick up a notch. Christmas ales, ancient spiced beers (the fantastically named Gruit Expectations) and mocha porters reign, but if you're really looking for a unique experience, it's hard to go past Beelzebub's Jewels, a 12 per cent Belgian quadrupel beer in a 750ml bottle that will set you back $70. It's pricey, sure, but it's also like no other beer you've ever tasted – ballsy, grape-tinged and a perfect stand-in for a bottle of champagne.