Bridge Road Brewers
Ben Kraus originally trained as a winemaker but his head was turned in the direction of craft brewing during a stint working in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. The cluster of microbreweries in this famous wine territory sparked his interest and led him to study brewing at the University of Ballarat. Appropriately enough, he acquired a pre-loved brewing plant from another wine region – Coonawarra, South Australia – where it had previously produced beer at Lawrence Victor Estate, and he set up Bridge Road Brewers in his hometown of Beechworth. In just his second year of operation, Kraus emerged as a rising star in craft-beer circles by snaring one gold and seven silver medals at the 2007 Australian International Beer Awards. His Beechworth Australian Ale won gold and topped the Australian-style pale ale category and, more importantly, is his best-selling beer at the brewery-door bar. ‘We’re in a small regional area and I wanted something moderate but wellbalanced that would open people’s minds to our other beers,’ he says. It’s a sensible approach and suggests that while Kraus is happy to win awards he realises the importance of his bottom line, though he has resisted the temptation to brew a dumbed-down lager. Kraus’s 10-hectolitre microbrewery operates out of a former coach house, tucked away behind Tanswell’s Hotel, which is run by his parents. And while you can find his beers on tap there and at other Beechworth pubs, why wouldn’t you drink them as close as possible to the brewery, especially when freshly baked beer pretzels are on the menu.
Bridge Road offers a sound selection of ales, ranging from the easy-drinking Australian Ale, right up to more extreme styles like saison and biere de garde, branded under the Chevalier label.
Beechworth Australian Ale
Behind the Label
Notorious bushranger Ned Kelly was tried and sentenced at the Beechworth courthouse and his armoured figure adorns all of Bridge Road Brewers’ labels. ‘Such is beer’ is the motto on the label, echoing: ‘Such is life’ – Kelly’s famous utterance on being condemned to death. The most recent version of the Australian Ale label incorporates the Southern Cross on a patriotic blue background, while malt and hop ‘profiles’ indicate degrees of flavour. The brewery’s distinctive labels and logos were created by graphic designer Korinne Kraus, who just happens to be the brewer’s sister.
Old Coach House Brewers Lane, Ford Street, Beechworth 3747 Tours by appointment; bar; food; takeaway sales
- Holgate Brewhouse
- 3 Ravens Brewing Company
- Foster's Group (Abbotsford Brewery)
- Jamieson Brewery
- Matilda Bay Garage Brewery
- Bright Brewery
- 2 Brothers Brewery
- Mountain Goat Brewery
- Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company