Holgate Brewhouse continues its legacy of sharing premium boutique beer to its many fans. The one hour drive from Melbourne CBD is immediately justified with a pint of any of their hand crafted, all malt, real ales and lagers.
Holgate’s specialises in hand pumped, cask conditioned beer. This is how beer used to be (before big corporations started pasteurising and carbonating it) and how beer should be. After years of mass produced, artificially carbonated beer flooding the market and becoming the new ‘norm’ in Australia, hand pumped beer is beginning its resurgence thanks to breweries like the Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend.
We started our day with their tasting paddles (8 x 90 ml samples of each) – An amazing way to drink your way through the eight Holgate beers on tap before deciding which one you’d like have more of.
Since the brewery’s inception in 1999 in Paul and Natasha Holgate’s backyard, Holgate Brewhouse has been producing genuine craft beer from the town of Woodend in Victoria. The beers are made entirely in-house (brewed, bottled and kegged) with uncompromising precision and natural ingredients.
This genuine, English style of beer shows greater complexity and depth of flavour than its artificially carbonated and pasteurised competitors.
A pint of the ale took us right back to the time we spent in the UK.
One of our all-time favourite Holgate beers is the Hopinator. Decadently bold, this beer is an India Pale Ale on steroids that boasts an aggressive bitterness over a smooth caramel malt finish.
Apart from excellent beer, Holgate also serves very good quality food at reasonable prices. They have mastered the Aussie pub basics but are also not afraid to push the boundaries of pub cuisine.
The lamb was, like everything at Holgate, very generous. The high quality pieces of meat were cooked perfectly to a tender and juicy pink. The accompanying beer jus exhibited a marvellous elegance and depth of flavour – overall a skilfully executed, exceptionally flavoursome dish.
The dish of char-grilled roo fillet exceeded our expectations admirably. The accompaniments to the fillet were each delicious – the crispy potatoes were perfectly seasoned and wonderfully flavoured and the green beans provided a thoroughly enjoyable freshness. Of course, the true highlight of the dish were the slices of kangaroo – a light searing ensured that it was lined with a thin crisp caramelised layer. The meat was intense with a deep earthy richness, and texturally it was sublime, with a decadent melt in the mouth, almost buttery consistency.
Whilst we would love to keep it a secret, Holgate’s growing popularity in has shown that the secret is already out. It is an unassuming, unpretentious pub that serves excellent beer and great food.