Duration: 3 nights, 4 days
Total distance: Approximately 470 kilometres
Start: King Valley (around 3 hours from Melbourne)
A road trip best taken over four days, the High Country Brewery Trail offers an ideal way to explore the region's spectacular scenery and range of craft beers made from locally grown hops.
Day 1 Melbourne to Rutherglen
Start your journey in the heart of the picturesque King Valley, home to generations of winemaking families producing Italian wine varietals. King River Brewing is housed in one of the High Country's historic tobacco kilns. Order lunch and take in the spectacular views from their extensive beer garden, as you sip on a fresh brew from one of the six rotating taps.
Drive on to Taminick Cellars at the foot of the Warby Ranges just outside of Glenrowan and drop into Black Dog Brewery. Brewer James Booth specialises in handcrafted small batch brews, produced using traditional techniques. Enjoy a tipple in the 100-year-old cellar building, or grab a takeaway pack to enjoy later with your designated driver.
Head north towards the mighty Murray River, to stay in one of Australia's oldest wine regions, Rutherglen. The town is also home to the Rutherglen Brewery, known for its small batch beer crafted on-site using hop profiling to reflect seasonality. Choose from six ales on tap and enjoy with house-made bread or gourmet pizza within the heritage building, or the beer garden.
Day 2 Overnight in Mitta Mitta
Pull into the historic town of Beechworth to stop into Billson's Brewery. One of Australia's earliest breweries, it dates back to 1865 and was built on a natural spring. Billson's uses pure alpine water to create its range of tonic waters, gin, vodka, cordials, classic sodas and of course, beer.
Just two minutes away on Beechworth's main street is Bridge Road Brewers, housed in the 150 year old Coach House and stables. Choose from more than 20 house-brewed beers on tap, alongside a packed out list of local wines. Stop for lunch and a tasting paddle, or time your visit with the brewery's daily tours, where you can meet the makers and learn what goes into creating a unique craft beer.
Make your way to the far north-eastern reaches of the High Country, via picturesque Yackandandah and Tangambalanga, to end your night at the family-owned Mitta Mitta Brewing Co. Hops are grown on site without the use of chemicals and water drawn directly from the property, Cuddle up by the cosy fire indoors, or settle in their beer garden, to raise a glass to Mount Bogong in the distance.
Day 3 Overnight in Bright
Hop along to Mt Beauty. Make a stop at High Country Brewery Trail newcomers Crank Handle, for more picturesque views of Mount Bogong.
For even more stunning scenery, plan a stop at Tawonga Gap while on your journey to Bright. Make a beeline for Bright Brewery, located by the banks of the Ovens River. Take lunch or dinner in the brewery's sunlit beer garden, against the backdrop of Victoria's dramatic Alps.
Spend the night right in Bright, before you make your way back to Melbourne the next day.