Keatings of Woodend — Macedon region’s brew pub

Craft beers are generally at their best from a keg in the brewery – be it a tin shed or luxury pub. On a run through Victoria recently the final pit stop at Woodend, Macedon, involving a wooden paddle, proved the point deliciously.

Keating’s pub, home to Paul Holgate’s brewery, offered a run-of-the bar tasting ‘paddle’ – literally a flat wooden paddle housing seven tasting glasses brimming with Paul’s in-house brews — six from the taps plus one high-alcohol specialty from bottle.

It was a dream nightcap of wheat ale, real ales, pilsener and high-alcohol Belgian-style ale, each one distinctive and a world removed from the bland offerings of the average pub.

A visit to Keating’s is worth the detour on the trip to or from Melbourne – especially for Thursday share-the-mike nights where local musicians get the place rocking. And Dan Murphy stocks the bottled versions of some of the Holgate beers.

Holgate Mount Macedon Ale 330ml $2.99
Paul Holgate models his signature beer, named for nearby Mount Macedon, on the German Kölsch style of pale ale. It has an attractive reddish colour and a smooth, malty richness. Assertive hops seasoning adds a floral note and lingering, zesty, bitter finish. One isn’t enough. But alcohol is a modest 4.5 per cent.

Holgate White Ale 330ml $2.99
On a hot day chilled wheat beer fresh from the tap appeals even to non-beer-drinkers. The high acid, negligible hops aroma and moderate bittering deliver a unique flavour experience unlike that of regular all-barley beers. The luxurious, pure-white head looks a treat, too, especially served in a Champagne flute.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007