Come away from the Hunter Valley with a new sense of reverence after bouncing between its breweries and distilleries.
Whether you’re the type of traveller who likes to have a checklist at the ready, or you tend to be more spontaneous, you will find plenty to entice along the Hunter Valley’s burgeoning craft-brewing scene. Sample the best the Hunter Valley brewery scene has to offer along its epic ale trail.
The Mighty Hunter Valley
It’s a bar, it’s a bistro, it’s a beer garden. This grain-to-glass taphouse, which was revamped in 2020, is where you will find a range of vendors under the Mighty Craft brand such as Foghorn Brewery, Sauce Brewing Co. Jetty Road Brewery, Kangaroo Island Spirits and Slipstream.
Set amid the historic brick beehive kilns in the old Potters Hotel, in Nulkaba, the Mighty Hunter Valley is a hub for craft brewers and distillers and the ideal environment for large groups with individual needs as there’s something for all. Book a tour or tasting at Foghorn Brewery, one of the best breweries in nearby Newcastle.
4 Pines at the Farm
There is something about arriving in the Hunter Valley that invites escape. And while it’s a region best known for its award-winning wines, breweries such as 4 Pines at the Farm are proving a draw for lovers of craft beer, too.
The fact you can stay and play at this family-run Hunter Valley brewery based at the Hunter Valley Resort means you will have a new appreciation for all the great things that are brewing here.
All up, there are 12 quality beers on tap at the family-friendly brewery, which overlooks the crumpled folds of the Broken Back Ranges.
Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley
Go behind the scenes at the Sydney Brewery Hunter Valley, which produced its first batch of beer in 2014.
The independent brewhouse, which has a sister venue in Surry Hills, is a large-scale brewery that is built on the back of Lovedale Bar & Bistro located at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, one of the most family-friendly places to stay in the Hunter Valley.
Enjoy pub classics such as fish and chips alongside a pint of Sydney Brewery Lager while overlooking the 9th and 10th hole of the Hunter Valley Golf course.
Small Mouth Vodka
You’ve booked your group getaway, and all you want to do is hide out in your luxury Hunter Valley accommodation. We get it. Swing by Small Mouth Vodka and pick up a ‘party pack’ of gin, vodka and liqueur so you can go it alone in your holiday home.
The small-batch distillery also has cocktail kits that contain Shimmering Passionfruit Vodka, Shimmering Pina Colada Liqueur, and Shimmering Peach Liqueur. But it’s the signature Small Mouth Handcrafted Vodka that gets our vote.
Book an in-store tasting at the Australian-owned and run distillery or pick up from a local bottle shop.
Be sure to factor in a detour to the distillery door at the Hunter Distillery, which is open seven days a week for sales and tastings. Regarded as one of the trailblazers of Hunter Valley’s distillery scene, the Hunter Distillery opened its doors in 2012.
Drop by the Pokolbin distillery, the only certified organic distillery in the Hunter Valley, to sample signature spirits such as the beautifully branded Copperwave Distilled Gin and the hugely popular Caramel Vodka (which can be poured over ice cream as an indulgent dessert).
Peter Drayton Wines and IronBark Hill Brewhouse
Silence settles like a blanket over this boutique Hunter Valley winery and brewhouse when the crowds thin out and you’ve settled into your villa at the IronBark Hill Retreat.
In addition to being a picturesque place to tap into the Hunter Valley’s craft beer scene, you can taste niche wines such as Tyrian, Montepulciano and Barbera at Peter Drayton Wines and IronBark Hill Brewhouse, located at the foot of the Broken Back Range.
Bookings for The Brewhouse Kitchen are recommended.
Pokolbin Distillery has an ambient soundtrack of birdsong on repeat. And if the owners have anything to do with it, the choir will eventually include the trilling of the regent honeyeater, swift parrot, and Pokolbin mallee, all featured in a mural on the side of its cellar door as part of the NSW’s government’s Saving Our Species program.
Three generations of distillers have informed the style of spirits produced in the copper pot stills and a highlight is hearing that back story of the passion being born in Poland and transplanted to Pokolbin.
Pokolbin Cider House
Pokolbin Ciderhouse now has a 200-seat outdoor area that looks over the gnarled vines of this picturesque property in Pokolbin.
Be sure to book ahead for a paddle tasting and ploughman’s lunch: start with a Pear Perry, progress to Sweet Apple and Passionfruit Perry and onto The Dark Grape at the ciderhouse located in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country.
The ciderhouse hits the sweet spot with its dedicated dessert bar, Sabore, and regular Sunday acoustic sessions.
Hope Brewery, Pokolbin
Lovers of both beer and wine will want to hang out in the Hunter Valley that little bit longer when they visit the completely revamped cellar door at Hope Estate.
If escapades with your tribe include big-ticket music events such as the Gin & Jazz Festival or Big Ram Beer & BBQ Festival hosted by Hope Estate, then this is the cellar door for you.
In addition to the regular roster of music events, Hope Estate has nine brand-new artisan gins, vodka and moonshine to try as well as 15 wines.