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The South Coast Bike Ride that takes in 19 breweries

What happens when a keen bike rider discovers a Craft Beer trail? Well he turns it in to an epic Craft Beer Ride of course. Patrick Keogh from Canberra loves riding almost as much as he loves Craft Beer so he always looking for ways to combine his passions. When he heard about the South Coast Ale Trail he started putting together a bike ride that would take them in.  The Ale Trail includes 8 Breweries and covers 370 km's from Wollongong to Pambula but that is by road of course. Due to the distance, the catch phrase of the trail is that "It's a journey" and that you should take your time to discover all of the amazing activities on the South Coast, not just the breweries. But the trail was always meant to be discovered by car and nobody every really considered traveling the trail by bike, except Patrick of course.

Patrick explains,  "I have turned the South Coast Ale Trail into a cycling route. Nearly all of the ride is staying OFF the Princes highway with a mix of sealed and unsealed roads, with some of the unsealed roads being sandy. There are a couple of short hike a bikes if you are not set up for riding on sand and one quite steep climb for 4km near Pretty Beach. The ride actually takes you past or through the doors of 19 craft breweries over the 510 km's which is a bit longer than traveling by road.

The northern segment offers the greatest concentration of breweries covering 11 in 147 km's, 6 in greater Wollongong and then another 5 in the second half. There is some lovely riding including the Kiama to Gerringong walking track and sections of the coastal cycle path (paved) from Bulli down to Kiama. This segment has the additional advantage that there is a train from Bomaderry to Wollongong and so you can do one direction without a car shuffle. For me at least, eleven breweries in one day is a bit of a stretch.

The middle segment offers just 2 breweries both around Milton/Ulladulla. It does have some excellent scenery, specially the section south from Bawley Point.

The southern segment offers enough breweries to keep hydrated, but is the longest with the most climbing and all the "adventure" of crossing lake mouth sand in several places (may be impossible depending on rainfall). However it is very scenic."

Patrick hasn't ridden the trail yet but hopes to attack it this summer after completing an 1100km ride in Italy coming up in the spring. He thinks the entire trail "Looks like a leisurely week's ride to me."

You can see the bike ride broken down in to 3 segments on the Ride with GPS website.

Nathan Longstocking

First customer to complete the South Coast Ale Trail

The South Coast Ale Trail only launched in December 2021 but one keen beer lover has already competed the trail from top to bottom. Nathan Leicht who lives nearly Wollongong had already visited a number of the breweries around him but he hadn't ventured to far South. When heard about the trail he was keen to make the journey and tick them all off, so he started planning his trip and managed to fit a few of them around a family holiday.

Below is Nathan's personal account of his visits and his assessment of each of the venues.

The catch phrase of the South Coast Ale Trail is that “It’s not a destination, it’s a journey” and this is entirely the truth. Whether you choose to visit these craft breweries as a one off, in a group of a few or as a larger collection over several days is not that important, what is important is that they all share similarities but have their own unique differences making visiting them all more and more enticing.

Resin Brewing
The furthest north geographically and being in Wollongong’s Northern suburbs and in the restored Bulli Railway Guest House this is probably what I consider the “fanciest” of the bunch. This place screams class with a great dining experience and good beers. Don’t be put off by the fanciness though, its still a great place to spend a few lazy hours on a weekend with some quality brews in a cool  atmosphere

Reub Goldberg Brewing
One of the more hidden spaces of the bunch, tucked away in downtown Tarrawanna (I will give you a moment to Google where Tarrawanna is) this place is just a great place to kick back, grab some food from one of the close by venues (the next door Tacos and  next to that Thai are legit next level) and sink some quality beers. Everything they do is good but as a core range beer their Kolsch is excellent and is getting more and more available with the addition of beers in cans to their repertoire.

Seeker Brewing
Seeker is both the new kid on the block and a Wollongong mainstay at the same time, having taken over the previous Bulli Brewing location the boys at Seeker have rebranded, renovated and reinvigorated the space in the industrial area of Unanderra. Fresh, vibrant and cool describes both the location and the beers and they nail the execution of everything from opposite ends of the scale from the ultra-low ABV Maxi Smalls at 1% ABV to the Triple Double IPA at 8.1% ABV.

South Yeast Brewing
Another of the “tucked away in the industrial area” variants of craft breweries this is a cool little space with the option to grab a good ale, play a game of darts, indulge in a local food truck option and let the kids run around in the car park under a moderate level of supervision. One that is close to me and will be on the list to put some more time into.

Jervis Bay Brewing
The Huskisson and Jervis Bay area is all about a chilled, relaxed, seaside atmosphere and despite being located in the industrial area on the edge of Husky, these guys deliver 100% on the coastal chill vibe with a large beer garden, great rotation of food trucks and most importantly excellent brews. If you are looking for somewhere to spend a sunny afternoon knocking back some high-quality  beers then this is the place for you.

Broulee Brewhouse
Relative newcomer to the Trail and to the South Coast, Broulee Brewhouse just screams “sit back and relax” With the location a couple of hundred metres from the beach, the smell of salt water in your nose, a retro beer garden, good beers and good food, this is the venue that every coastal town needs.

Tilba Brewing Co (Dromedary Hotel)
With the beer brewed by Stoic Brewing and the pub being a 120 year old location this was always going to be a winner. The best way I can describe the Dromedary Hotel in Central Tilba is that it is a classic country pub, public bar on one side, dining room on the other, rooms upstairs and the slatted tables and chairs on the balcony looking down the main street of Central Tilba. Don’t be too presumptuous though, the people are warm, the food is next level, the Palace Pale Ale is well worth the visit and they have an Amber Ale to be added to the lineup very soon.

Camelrock Brewery
For me as a coastal estuary fisherman, when looking for a family holiday location in a South Coast caravan park I have a few standard items, lakeside location, good cabins, a boat ramp and activities for the kids like tennis, minigolf etc. The Big4 at Wallaga Lake meets all of these, add the fact that it has Camel Rock Brewing inside the Caravan Park and its appeal goes through the roof. Add to this that the beer is good, the wings are excellent and the music bangs makes it a definite option for a caravan park holiday

Longstocking Brewery
Geographically the most southern and in this list last but definitely not least, Longstocking in Pambula hits home on so many levels, it’s a nice bunch of things to do on the one eclectic place. Oyster bar, woodfired pizza place, garden centre, art gallery, petting zoo, pony rides, backyard cricket all come together to ensure it has something for everyone. All this plus a hefty range of quality beer and ciders means that you will not leave disappointed.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us Nathan, we have sent you some fresh South Coast beers to enjoy while you remember your journey.

Win prizes: If you are visiting any of the South Coast Ale Trail venues, make sure you Check in via FB, upload a photo at the venue and tag @southcoastaletrail for your chance to win monthly prizes.

 

Sapphire Cellars Logo OUT

Sapphire Cellars serving up Craft Beers on the South Coast.

Sapphire Cellars in Merimbula has been around for a while in one shape or form, but in 2020 it was purchased and rebranded by the new owner Andrew Orman. Previously working in the industry as a Liquor Wholesale Representative, Andrew knew the shop and the local area and was ready to make a move in to retail.
The business was closing down and Andrew took a risk, he purchased the business within days of the doors closing. With an understanding of the industry trends Andrew knew the locals were missing out on the world of craft beer, the response from locals was very positive towards the new craft beer range.

When Andrew meet Nigel Ayling from We Love Craft Beer at the Merimbula Craft Beer Festival they started talking about the growing demand for Craft beer and the rest was history. Andrew started by adding some regional brands like Jindabyne Brewing, Sailors Grave and Tumut River brewing. He then added South Coast breweries like Longstocking, Jervis Bay Brewing, Dangerous Ales & Bulli Brewing. Of course they covered the Canberra region with a full range of beers from including Bentspoke & Capital.

Fast forward to today and they now stock over 45 brands and 200 craft beers. They include the popular brand names like Mountain Culture, Dainton, Hope, Akasha and Hawkers to name a few.  They cover all the styles including Pale Ale, Pacific Ale, Amber Ale, Golden Ale, Pilsner, IPA,  NEIPA, XPA, Sours, Stout, Hazy and Red Ales.

So whatever your taste in craft beer they are sure to have you covered. Next time you are heading through Merimbula, make sure you stop and visit Andrew and the team at Sapphire Cellars. For more information visit their website.

South Coast Ale Trail Printed Map

The South Coast Ale Trail printed map is now available online and will be arriving in South Coast Breweries soon. The map features 9 breweries including

 

 

South Coast Ale Trail Map

  1. Resin Brewing
  2. Reub Goldberg Brewing Machine
  3. Seeker Brewing
  4. South Yeast Brewing
  5. Jervis Bay Brewing Co
  6. Broulee Brewhouse
  7. Tilba Brewing Co
  8. Camelrock Brewery
  9. Longstocking
South Coast Ale Trail Map Page Web2South Coast Ale Trail Map Page Web

 

The trail map contains special offers at each of the breweries including deals on beers, food and merchandise. As a bit of a bonus, if you visit any of our breweries, and “check in” on Facebook and tag  @southcoastaletrail, you will to go in the draw for monthly prizes!

Download your copy here and get traveling. Remember the South Coast Ale Trail is not a destination, it's a journey.

 

 

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