It just happened to be the very turf on which thoroughbred Makybe Diva trained for three Melbourne Cup wins.
Back in 2001, Peninsula golf course builder (of Moonah Links and Legends fame) Andrew Purchase was approached to build St Andrew’s Beach Racecourse on sandy terrain; a stone’s throw from Gunnamatta Beach. He created a complex that housed up to 80 thoroughbred horses with a 1,200-metre grassed track and a swimming pool.
Little did he know it would be home to more than 100 Group One winners, including multiple Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper champions. To even greater surprise, today he co-owns one of the busiest venues on the Peninsula; St Andrew’s Beach Brewery – awarded best new tourism business in the 2018 Victoria Tourism Industry Council Awards.
Six beers make up the brewery’s core range; all now available in aluminium after the brewery brought in its own canning line to speed up the packing process; Six Furlongs Pale Ale, The Strapper (Australia Lager), Golden Ale, Pilsner, The Farrier (IPA) and The Apprentice Session Ale.
The house style is rich in malt and hop, with seasonal beers testing new flavours – such as a Summer Lager with vibrant citrus, melon and stonefruit notes. Reds, browns and darks return to the menu as we head to cooler months, as well as bigger IPAs and wheat ales.
All year round, the stables-turned-private-booths are full brimming with locals and visitors alike, comparing notes over a tasting paddle, exchanging great horse tales or enjoying a wood-fired pizza.
A fireplace warms patrons in the winter, with high ceilings and behind-the-bar views through to the brewery creating an atmospheric environment.
Andrew’s wife designed the bar and restaurant where everything – from oysters with Golden Ale beer pearls, to ceviche of snapper and green tea soba noodle salad, to more traditional brewery fare; pizzas and burgers – comes with a St Andrew’s Brewery twist.
The menu is complimented with wines from local vine-producing heroes San Pietro, Crittenden, Foxeys, Paringa, Phaedrus, Trofeo, Yabby Lake and Quealy – and TenSixtyOne cider from Moorooduc.
The restaurant and bar spill out onto good to firm turf, both front and back. The front is for groups and families; with private stables, a play park and television screens for racing and other sport. The back is a more intimate experience, reserved for adults only and perfect for couples.
Way out back, it’s stables and paddocks, with chickens, pigs, sheep and vegetable gardens where thoroughbreds used to roam. Alongside 8,000 apple and pear cider trees, fresh hops grow for the beer.
The Brewery is moving towards a self-sustainable model. For now, spent grain from the brews go to local farmers, such as Woolumbi in Tyabb who, in turn, recognises St Andrew’s as its only restaurant customer for the practise of a nose-to-tail approach rather than just selected meat cuts – full circle.
Happy hour Fridays from 4pm, and live music every Saturday and Sunday.