Published on 26 November 2020
Under the label Sailors Grave, they make beers that are akin to wine in their expression of place. Down She Gose is made with salt harvested from the Bass Strait and seaweed sourced from nearby, while various beers in the limited-edition range have been made with plums from the local Picnic Point Farm, heirloom cucumbers from the couple’s own farm and, in a special brew for the Wild Harvest Seafood Festival, sea urchin. A recent collaboration with Indigenous author, historian and activist Bruce Pascoe led to the creation of a Dark Emu dark lager, brewed with roasted mamadyang ngalluk and burru ngalluk grass seed from the Far East.
My defining food moment in Orbost was having fresh-caught Aussie salmon and kingfish side by side and realising that the Aussie salmon was better. In fact, most of my favourite food memories involve local seafood caught and prepared by members of my family: my brother’s ceviche, my mum’s barbecued abalone on white bread, my own Singapore chilli crayfish, the list goes on.
I know I’m in Orbost when I drive into town after being away and see the rail bridge on the Snowy River Plains. Nothing beats that feeling of being home.
The first place you should go when you visit Orbost is the bottom pub, aka The Orbost Club Hotel. A visit to its front bar is a true-grit introduction to Orbost.
The best new thing I’ve found is the samosas at Orbost Bottle Shop and Fuel.
There’s no better value in Orbost than the bottom pub lunch deal; I’m partial to the porterhouse steak with added garlic prawn sauce.
And when I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to sit on the deck at the Marlo Hotel, overlooking the mouth of the Snowy with a pot of our Sou’East Draught in hand.
In the mornings you’ll find me wrangling kids, finding shoes and hats, and having filter coffee from our new Moccamaster.
The most underrated thing in town is Salt Organics. Ondi Meek is an amazing cook and she can make you sourdough bread and doughnuts to order.
If you looked in my fridge, you might be surprised to find lots and lots of kimchi.
The last awesome Victorian thing I drank … is hard to narrow down, but I love all the wines from Momento Mori, as well as William Downie’s pinot noir, the syrah from Entropy Wines, the Lightfoot and Sons rosé, Sandcastle Heart from Future Mountain brewing and anything hazy from Mr Banks or Bodriggy.
My local is Marlo Hotel, because it’s so beautiful. It overlooks where the Snowy River enters the ocean, and has a huge lawn where kids can run around. It’s perfect for sundowners.
If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be a farmer’s market for Orbost. There’s a lot of old cockies here growing what are practically market gardens and I wish their produce was available to everyone. Can someone please set up a farmer’s market? I’d do it, but I don’t have the time to run it!
But the one thing I hope never changes in Orbost is the little country schools, and sharing the roads with tractors – the rural fabric of our area.
Visit Gabrielle and Chris at Sailors Grave (7 Forest Rd, Orbost) by making an appointment: 0466 331 936, sailorsgravebrewing.com. Or see the latest brews and their beautiful can designs at @sailorsgravebrewing.
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