By Joe DeMarini
Don’t let winter get ya too down! It may be cold, windy and dreary out, but have I got the cure for you: booze! And lots of it. Melbourne has several fun brewery tours, and even more winery tours. Though the winery tours are probably more fun in summer, who cares!? A few glasses of wine in a pleasant environment is enough to warm even the coldest of bones.
Melbourne has four major winery areas surrounding it: the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges and Bellarine Peninsula, with the Yarra Valley probably being the most popular option due to the number of choices. For example, if a winery tour isn’t enough for you, how about a winery tour and a ride on a steam train? If that still isn’t enough for you, why not throw in a ride in a hot air balloon?
For those that consider themselves a bit of a “foodie,” there are also several winery tours supplemented with gourmet food pairings. A more relaxing option would be the winery tour and hot springs day trip, where you can start the day off by sitting in the springs before the tour. The list of options goes on and on and on and…
Well, that’s enough about wine, eh? I’m more of a brewery tour guy, myself, and I think an indoor tour with some hearty beer complements the wintry weather better than a now-barren vineyard, don’t you? While the wine scene in Melbourne is more extensive, the beer scene doesn’t lack for fun, either.
The Carlton Brewery in Abbotsford is the largest in the city, and presents an interesting look at how macrobrews like Carlton Draught and Victoria Bitter are created. A more intimate option not far off in Richmond is the Mountain Goat Brewery, whose beers have no additives and no preservatives—their best selling beer, the Steam Ale, is even certified organic.
Maybe you’re hardcore, though—maybe one brewery a day isn’t enough for you. Fear not, for there are tours that hit multiple breweries all in one go! Best of all is that they drive, so that you can safely get yo’ drink on. These tours are put on by two companies: Aussie Brewery Tours and Ben’s Brew Tours. Each company has a breakdown of tours as well, so you can choose day tours, night tours, and tours of different parts of Melbourne. They also allow private group bookings, so maybe ask your teacher if your class can go on a brewery excursion. What better way to practice English than to loosen your tongue a bit, eh? Enjoy responsibly, and keep yourself warm this winter—happy boozing!