There are any number of small breweries around Melbourne, the trick seems to be finding them, and finding when they’re open. Leaving work a little bit early, today I had my sights set on Beach Hut Brewery – named in a way that implies a bay-side location, but tucked away in Scoresby near the corner of Ferntree Gully road and the Eastlink freeway.
A quick check of the map and it looks as though I can head east along Wellington road until it meets Dandenong creek and the Eastlink freeway, then follow the bike track alongside the freeway all the way up to the corner. What could possibly go wrong….
The bike path alongside Wellington road is a bit of a mixed blessing, at 4.30 pm it gets you out of the near grid-locked traffic on Wellington road, but being set back 4m or so from the edge of the road it means that at every single driveway of every single industrial building you have to pause or risk being flattened by drivers heading home – riding on the road they’d have to give way to you, riding on the bike-path they simply drive over you. There’s also a few nasty teeth crunching ramps where the bike-path drops onto the road then slams back up again, one caught me unawares a few years ago and blew out my front tyre, at least today all it did was make my teeth slam together and jar my neck.
At Eastlink there’s a bike path north on both side of the freeway, I suspect that on the eastern side it goes all the way through, but as I found out, on the western side it goes halfway to Scoresby then curves around and starts heading off through the wetlands to take you back to the southern end of Jells park. Not to worry, there seem to be a few gravel service roads through the wetlands, twisting and winding their way around the ponds and between scrub, so I took the most likely looking one. Eventually it seemed to curve back in a direction I didn’t like so I paused for a cheating glance at Google maps, and followed a piece of old single-track across the paddock to the next dirt road. All the while the wind above is whistling through the high-tension powerlines and there’s the distant rumble of traffic on the two main roads. Lots of birdlife around despite the wind, including a flight of pelicans that cruised low overhead like landing aircraft.
This track became more and more overgrown and I found myself having to squeeze through wattles and past blackberry thickets, then eventually found myself at Ferntree Gully road. Only one small problem… or two actually. I was the wrong side of a large farm gate and I now had to cross six lanes of Ferntree Gully road traffic to get to the other side. First challenge was the easier of the two as I hoiked the AWOL over the fence and climbed through, the second took a bit more time as I had to wait for a suitable gap in the 80+ km/hr traffic to cross the first three lanes, then sit by the traffic island and wait to turn up the Chesterfield farm driveway. Perhaps next time I’ll try the eastern side of the Eastlink, maybe the path there takes a more direct route!
Dead simple from here though, north-east up the bike path, under the Eastlink freeway, then turn left at the first set of traffic lights. If you’re not sure where the turn, the brewery has helpfully put up a sign to direct you.
Day light savings is over so I had to be mindful of the time, which was a shame given the variety of beers on offer – I’ll definitely be returning on a day with more time to sample. A pot of “Dirty Amber” Amber ale this time, then time to head home. As if by magic, the longneck bottles fit quite snugly in a bidon cage so I took an ESB for later, then back outside and ride home. The ride home my more well travelled route following the bike path around to Jells Park then up the hill through Wheelers Hill and follow the signs to Mount Waverley and back home.
One beer, twenty eight kilometres, two hours, lots of fun. Why take the boring route home when you can do this!