Bring a designated driver, the road ahead is paved in liquid gold! Whether you’re looking for a hydration station as you take in the spectacular landscape of the Great Ocean Road, a beer-matched long lunch or a weekend pub crawl you’ll be delighted by the beautifully crafted beers and small-batch spirits from the region’s best microbreweries and distilleries.
You know you’ve arrived when you have a pint of ‘Lost gold’ in hand at the Forrest Brewing Company. Brewed with the crisp, pure waters of the Otway Rainforest it’s no wonder this is how locals describe the much sort after, small batch beers that can be a little hard to get hold of elsewhere. Don’t worry, brewing and bottling happens onsite so there’s no chance the friendly owners and beer makers will let this pub and 600L brewhouse run dry of their year-round, seasonal and special release brews.
You won’t just find great beer here. It has equally great food too. The team serve up fresh, locally sourced informal pub classics as well as international dishes in their warm, rustic and relaxing dining hall. Bike friendly, dog friendly, family friendly – Forrest Brewing Company is a Forrest favourite that is friendly all round!
Your traditional accommodation at the historic Forrest Guesthouse is only metres away. You’ll feel instantly at home in the country with the long veranda and lush gardens. And the boutique décor is a history lesson in itself – our bedrooms walls were lined with the local newspapers dating back to the days when the guesthouse was built, fascinating! The quiet country air, comfortable room and full bellies made for a great night’s sleep, perfect for getting us ready for our next day’s adventure!
Start your Saturday at the start of the Great Ocean Road with a brewery tour of one of the newer breweries on the block. Bells Beach Brewing are bottling the Torquay surfing spirit with 8 signature beers (and a number of special releases) inspired by the landscape of the surf coast and named after the famous local breaks – it’s a surfing safari on tap.
Founders Jono and Adam set out to make local beer as sort after as the local waves and co-owner and sports photographer Jeff photographed the local beaches for the labels. The beers look as iconic as the landscapes themselves! After the tour relax in the brewery’s street art flanked courtyard with a Hell’s Bells XPA in one hand and a burger from local food truck Gypsy Burger in the other.
Next up, cheers the locals that rescued their iconic Airey’s pub from bulldozers and a housing estate. These savvy surfers pitched in to buy it and now no international big wigs are going to tell them what beers to sell in their pub! 100% independent these guys aren’t sending their towns money oversees to multinationals, they keep it local and brew by the beach. So paddle out and try their wide range of custom shaped craft beers, enjoy a gourmet pub meal in the three huge dining spaces or enjoy an award-winning cold one with some local live music every weekend in the huge beer garden.
Let a gin flight transport you to the secret garden and tasting room of the Great Ocean Road. The Surfcoast sourced botanicals of kelp, salt bush, coast daisy, honey and gums will take your tastebuds through native forests, sparkling rockpools and to the tops of windswept cliff. All while you sip on gin cocktails, snack on cheese, dips and olives whilst sitting in the lush hidden garden of this vintage treasure trove.
Pull up a stool and enjoy a paddle at the #1 craft beer destination on the Great Ocean Road – a tasting room serving over 100 Australian beers. Their mission is to help locals and tourists alike to get ‘Tastes of the Region’ promoting fellow makers in the Otway and Great Ocean Road region. The friendly staff love a chat and sharing their knowledge about Australian craft beers (pouring 15 on tap), the brewing process and their tips for the best local produce.
Sample them for yourself with a choice of three delicious tasting platters or head into the brewery’s award-winning bistro for a pub classic meal. This is one of the oldest hotels on the Great Ocean Road and the seasonal menu features local farmers and producers too.
Over 700 ill-fated voyages give name to The Shipwreck Coast, the treacherous stretch from Cape Otway to Port Fairy. Toast these lost vessels with the nautically inspired handcrafted gins created in their honour at Apollo Bay Gin Distillery – SS Casino Dry, Speculant Grapefruit, Captain Chapmans Navy Strength & Amphitrite served with a 2ooml Fever Tree Tonic, ice and garnish.
They are distilled onsite using local botanicals which pairs perfectly with a freshly made woodfired pizza. Sit back on the deck and take in the ocean and mountain views, it’s great that Apollo Bay Distillery is keeping the nautical spirit of Apollo Bay and the Shipwreck Coast alive.
Venture 15 minutes inland from the Great Ocean Rooad to the historic railway shed that’s been converted into a vibrant, award-winning whisky distillery and café. Inspired by Timboon’s illegal 19th Century whisky trade the two onsite copper pots produce three award winning single malts as well as vodka, schnapps, limoncello and coffee cream liqueur. They’re sure to put a fire in the belly, soon to be satisfied with the restaurants generous share plates starring local produce.
Finish your tasting tour at this craft brewery, distillery and café is tucked away in a refurbished motor garage. It was created by two mates Noodles and Doof with a love of making quality, creative craft beer and spirits. The tap list is constantly evolving – with exciting small batch brews and adventurous spirits. Their unique flavour profiles are born from the collaboration with local Aboriginal Corporation, Worn Gundidj using their expert knowledge of the native local botanicals such as correa alba, lemon myrtle and mountain pepper.
The on-tap surf safari and brewery tour at Bells Beach Brewing
Toasting the Salt Brewing Co surfers that saved their Aireys Inlet pub
Entering the secret gin garden at Great Ocean Road Gin Tasting Rooms
Tasting the region all in one a place at Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
Sipping an award-winning single malt and listening to stories of the illicit distilling history in Timboon
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, past present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.