Professor Drinks, aka Cara Devine, weighs in on the Victorian beers you might like to try if you’re fond of a straight-up draught.

“I like drinking beer that tastes like beer. I want to try something different and local, but I don’t want anything too crafty. Can you help me, Professor Drinks?” – Hardearnedthirst23

There are heaps of amazing breweries in Victoria – a lot of them independent – and you can find all manner of beer styles, so there’s something for everyone. While there is an abundance of heavily hopped IPAs, fruity sours and dessert-style stouts, there are also plenty of cracking, classic frothies for those who prefer their beer crisp and easy drinking.

Hop Nation Rattenhund Classic Pilsner
Hop Nation in Footscray is one of Melbourne’s most well-respected breweries. This beer won Australia’s Best Pilsner at the Great Australasian Beer Spectacular (GABS) craft beer festival in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Traditionally brewed in a European style, this is a clean and cool lager: maximum quality, minimal fuss.

Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Pale Ale
Beechworth is well worth a visit for many reasons, not least the Bridge Road taproom. This beer is an excellent example of a New World pale ale: essentially a modern take on the beloved pale ale style. This beer placed as Victoria’s top craft brew at the GABS festival this year, and for good reason. It has a lovely balance of malt and hops without going overboard on either. It’s less bitter than a lot of other pale ales, and has a lovely clean finish which makes it a great choice as a sessionable beer.

Love Shack Brewing Extra Special Bitter
An extra special bitter, or ESB, is an English-style pale ale, and generally more malty and biscuity than a regular pale ale. This example from Love Shack in Castlemaine is true to form, with a lovely caramel and raisin note balanced with a light bitterness at the end to keep you coming back for more. Perfect for when you want something warming in cold weather without going as heavy as a stout or porter. And it happens to pair perfectly with a Victorian whisk(e)y as well.

By Cara Devine