Hunter Valley Beer and Wine Tours …
The perfect Hunter Valley tours for people who don’t like wine?!
It seems like a strange concept doesn’t it? Wine tours for people who don’t like wine! However, Hunter Valley tours aimed at those who are not huge fans of the region’s most famous drop are definitely the trend and we get asked about these options all the time.
If the colour of your favourite alcoholic beverage is amber (or black) rather than white or red, the Hunter has plenty of brewhouses, brewery presentations and spirits to keep you from getting bored if you’ve been “dragged” on a wine tour with the Mrs!
So grab the guys (and their gal pals too!) and check out these options….
Hunter Valley Brewhouses with Beer Tours
If the wine buffs can have a presentation at a cellar door then why don’t the beer lovers (also known as “Zythophiles”!) enjoy a brewery tour? You can have your own Cicerone (beer sommelier …. now we are getting fancy?!) take you on a tour of a couple of Hunter Valley breweries and quench your thirst with a sample of some of the Hunter’s finest craft ales to finish.
Hope Estate’s “Beer Experience” where you can tour their brewery and taste their signature beers made on site is a fantastic way to bond with the lads or take your knowledge beyond that of the average “know it all” home brewer. In addition to the normal lagers, pale ales and porters you would expect from a brewhouse, you can try apple cider and raspberry sours as well (I can hear the ladies cheering?). This experience is one of the Hunter’s premium beer tours and will set you back $40pp however if your budget extends to this it is well worth the investment.
Hunter Valley Brewhouses where you can get straight into a craft beer tasting paddle
Not interested in a presentation or a brewery tour? Just want to get right into the “good stuff”? Well, the Hunter Valley also has you covered….
4 Pines at the Farm (Matilda Bay Brewhouse) is a “choose your own adventure” venue that I love to visit with our tour groups. There is something for everyone… Craft beer tasting paddles with 6 x 80mL tasters and a middy of your favourite included when you return the paddle as well as cocktails and beertails (the biggest range and the best value in the Hunter … cocktails can be notoriously expensive in the valley but here you can afford seconds!). Get excited with the 4 Pines range, change it up with “Dirty Granny Cider” and my favourite alcoholic ginger beer of all time lives here … it’s the perfect mix of sweet and savoury. Get it on tap or take some home in a 6 pack from the Hermitage Road Cellars.
You can even do a wine tasting as well at the Hermitage Road cellars which makes this a fantastic stop that ticks all the boxes on our Hunter Valley Wine and Beer Adventure Tour if you’re looking for a Hunter Valley wine and beer tour for the guys and gals in your group.
A few ales always makes me peckish so gourmet pizzas, gourmet burgers, pastas, pub favourites (they make a mean salt and pepper squid!) and even salads for something lighter are the perfect accompaniment to your ale of choice.
Fancy a little more to try? If you need a taster that is 200mL tall (think 4 of them in your paddle) then you won’t be disappointed at Ironbark Hill Brewhouse. At Ironbark Hill you will find another example of Hunter Valley creativity. By now you’re probably thinking that you’ve tried all the beers the Hunter would have to grow your beer belly? Think again! Ironbark Hill Brewhouse is a “round the world” trip of beers with their American Pale Ale, Black Forest Stout, German Pilsener and English “Hazelnut” brown ale.
What about the ladies (or the simply adventurous)? Try the Wheatermelon (fruit beer), Pear cider or traditional Apple cider.
Here’s the exciting part about a visit to Ironbark Hill Brewhouse … when you find the beer you love you can take home a Growler.
Er… have I gone mad? Is this something to do with dogs????
If you speed type into the online slang Dictionary (click here and I’ll save you the trouble!) you’ll find that a growler is a British slang word (most commonly used from 1840 – 1950 but it is making a comeback with Australia’s strong interest in craft beers) that refers to a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bottle (that looks like a mini-barrel) used as a take away container for craft beers. It can be sealed to keep your beer fresh (your beer should be consumed within 4-6 hours of opening your growler to be at it’s peak) and it’s a great way to save the environment as your growler can be washed and re-used or refilled.
The best part? You can enjoy a 1 Litre or even a 2 Litre growler (4 pints) at Ironbark Hill Brewhouse. Purchase one of their branded growlers or bring your own (but please wash it first – you’d be surprised but people do bring unwashed growlers and of course this interferes with the flavour of your freshly poured beer!)
The Mighty Hunter Valley
If you’re a return visitor to the Hunter, you might be familiar with the iconic watering hole, Potters Hotel. Don’t worry, it’s still there and it’s still a beer lover’s dream, but everything’s bigger and better with a refurb and a new name. The Mighty Hunter Valley is now home to a cellar door from those mighty Newcastle beer aficionados from Foghorn Brewery.
Along with the cellar door, there’s a restaurant headed up by local chef, Sean Townsend, with the focus firmly on fresh, local produce. If you’re thinking, “who cares about the food, just bring on the beer,” you won’t be disappointed. Foghorn Sligo Stout was a champion at the 2015 Australian Craft Beer Industry Awards and Foghorn Young Americas IPA was a gold-medalist at the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards. However, the not too heavy, not too light Foghorn King Street Pale Ale is a crowd favourite.
Can’t decide which beer venues to visit? Check them all out on a private hunter valley wine tour ….
Or should we say private hunter valley beer tour?
Our Hunter Valley private tours can be completely customised so we could put together a tour that only includes breweries and brewhouses (the 4 mentioned above if you wish) with a nice pub lunch at Harrigan’s Irish pub or Potter’s Brewery (if you’ve just finished the beer tour on their site then why not save time travelling by having lunch at Potter’s which means more time for beer!). All of this would leave just enough time to pop into the Hunter Distillery for some vodka, schnapps and gin tasting to wake up your palate.
In mixed company? Or you also have some “wino’s” onboard? We can shake it up and visit a couple of cellar doors for wine tastings and a couple of brewhouses if you like? That’s what I love about private tours – they can be completely customised to suit your group. And don’t forget 4 Pines at the Farm (Matilda Bay Brewhouse & Hermitage Road Cellars) and Ironbark Hill Brewhouse (Peter Drayton wines) have mini-cellar doors on the same site so your group can “pick their poison” so to speak whilst here. No-one gets bored when there is something for everyone on tour 😊
Have Beer and Cider Fans Onboard?
Pokolbin Cider House
Is it cider that speaks to you when you’re thirsty for a refreshing hit of fruity, sparkling flavour? It all started with a traditional apple version called Classic Draught Cider, at Pokolbin Cider House. Now, tasting paddles impress adventurous palates with everything from Dark Grape to Passionfruit Perry.
All ciders are made in-house from locally grown fruits blended to a puree, undergoing secondary fermentation and ageing in a bottle like sparkling wines. After a tasting, don’t be surprised if you simply have to take home a bottle of Vintage Zinger, Raspberry and Cranberry or Sweet Apple.
Want to sleep in? Travelling from Sydney (or further afield) to the Hunter in the morning? That’s fine too. Brewery tours (or the mixed wine and beer approach) very much suit afternoon/evening tours. You could choose to start your tour around 12noon or 1pm (remember it’s a custom private tour so you can choose your start time) and include dinner instead of lunch. While the majority of the wine cellar doors start packing up (or won’t take groups) from 3-4 pm onwards, the brewhouses are still open for beer lovers past dinner time!
Psst …. We know of a few cellar doors that will take groups around 4pm or even 5pm of an evening if the group is with a tour guide so just ask and we’ll hook you up with a late afternoon tasting 😊
As you can see, you don’t have to be a wine lover to have an awesome time in the Hunter Valley and if you’re racking your brains to work out how you are going to please everyone in your group, then a mixed wine and beer tour might be the perfect solution or even a beer focused tour that allows the wine drinkers to do some casual tasting (eg. At 4 Pines at the Farm/Hermitage Road cellars or Ironbark Hill Brewhouse/Peter Drayton wines).
These options suit private Hunter Valley tour groups where you have 8 people or more (we can cater for up to 27 guests so bring your whole department for a team building tour to remember!).
Have a group of 8 people or less?
This guide to how to enjoy the Hunter Valley and save money will help your small group to save cash and still have a great time.