By Jed Lanyon
Healesville Sanctuary hosted Hop Fest highlighting the Yarra Valley’s best craft beer brewers and all that the sanctuary has to offer.
Visitors had the opportunity to meet the makers and sample their brews, in a celebration of the Yarra Valley’s rich brewing history.
As a special treat, Watts River Brewing created three new beers especially for the event, taking inspiration from some of Healesville Sanctuary’s residents – the blue-tongue Lizard, helmeted honeyeater, smokey mouse and, of course, the brush-tail rock-wallaby.
Watts River co-owner and brewer Aaron Malmborg said, “We’ve brewed for beers for this event and we’ve based them on native species.
“All three of them are endangered species and one of them is the blue-tongue lizard, which we have a lot of at the brewery.
“For the bush-tail wallaby we did a hoppy wheat beer based on their diet and what the keepers told s they feed on.
“For the blue-tongue, we’ve done a beer sour ale, i’m told they really like their berries.
“We did a smoky lager for the smokey mouse and also a big 12 percent farmhouse wheat wine for the helmeted honeyeater.”
The wildlife inspired beverages were brewed exclusively for Hop Fest.
“Today has been really good, it’s been pretty steady. There were heaps of people here even though it’s really wet. Good on them,” Mr Malmborg said.
As well as a great day out, Hop Fest was for a good cause too, with event tickets contributing to the recovery of the brush-tailed rock wallaby.
Changes to habitat and the impact of feral cats, foxes and goats has led to the isolation of the few remaining populations of the brush-tailed rock-wallaby.