Hops were first grown in the Yarra Valley in the early 1800s, and those pioneering farmers would raise a glass to the Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail of eight artisan producers (www.ciderandaletrail.com.au
Handcrafted beers include pilsner, bitter, lager and dark and pale ales, and there’s an emphasis on good eating in the micro-brewery revival. Tuck into long lunches made from delicious local produce at Coldstream Brewery and Hargreaves Hill, or drop into White Rabbit for a classic weekend sausage sizzle. Buckley's Beer will take you on a beer-making tour at weekends.
Sample five beers at the Mornington Peninsula Brewery, while winery Hickinbotham of Dromana has four top drops which you can match with beer-friendly food. Red Hill Brewery sells its range at the Red Hill Market, and local liquor stockists, restaurants and cafes.
Rusty Water Brewery Restaurant & Bar is home to Phillip Island's only handcrafted ales and, in a great spirit of generosity, features a selection of ales from other likeminded craft breweries.
Kellybrook cider has been a tradition for 50 years, and visitors now continue on to sample cider at places like Giverny Estate, St Ronan’s Cider and Napoleone & Co at Punt Road Winery in the Yarra Valley. On the Mornington Peninsula, head to Mock Orchards and Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm.