There can be little doubt that deep within humankind’s make-up is a gene that makes our desire for a beer rise in direct correlation to the temperature. As soon as the first scorcher of spring hits, we find ourselves drawn by an irresistible force to the nearest bar.
And why fight the urge? There’s little that can compete with wiling away the hours with friends in a beer garden. So here’s a dozen of Victoria’s finest courtesy of James Smith of The Crafty Pint.
Goldmines Hotel, Bendigo – When new owners took control of this faded hotel in 2011, they weren’t content with just breathing new life into the building. They ripped into the overgrown mess at the rear, creating a series of beautifully landscaped lawns.
Portsea Hotel, Portsea - Expansive views over Port Phillip Bay, a wraparound beer garden that flows downhill towards the beach and copious beer, wine and food. What’s not to like?
Jamieson Brewery, Jamieson - Not long ago, Lake Eildon was dry, robbing this beer garden of some of its appeal. Now the water has returned, and with it the boats pulling up to the shore where their passengers enjoy beers on wide lawns on the edge of the mountains.
Bright Brewery, Bright - Major expansions at Bright are due to be completed before Christmas, adding to the appeal of a beer garden that invites you to dip your toes in the Ovens River between sips.
The Local Taphouse, St Kilda East - If you want your beer garden with a huge range of the world’s best beers, look no further.
Deco Wine Bar, North Fitzroy - Blink and you’ll miss it, but try not to as this gem of a bar has a gorgeous little garden at the rear and an incredible range of drinks inside.
The Alehouse Project, Brunswick East - A new addition to Melbourne’s burgeoning craft beer scene boasts a rejuvenated courtyard at the rear that’s set to burst at the seams this summer.
Mt View Richmond, Richmond - Hot off the press! A new addition to Melbourne’s rooftop scene: a timber and brick affair with impressive 360 degree views across the city.
Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Road, Brunswick - Head there at night when the lights woven through its timber frames are glowing and be transported far away from inner-suburban Melbourne.
Village Brasserie, St Kilda Road - The former Belgian Bluestone Cafe has rebranded, embraced global craft beer and remains one of the city’s best (and biggest) spots for all fresco quaffing.
Great Northern Hotel, North Carlton - This classic suburban corner pub has been reinvigorated in every sense in recent years, not least its large beer garden.
The Standard Hotel, Fitzroy - A genuine inner Melbourne classic, whether you’re there for drinking, eating or listening to live music.
James Smith is the creator of The Crafty Pint, Australia’s leading online guide to craft beer, a founding member of Victoria’s annual Good Beer Week festival and a regular writer on beer for national publications.