It’s been a busy twelve months for the seemingly ever expanding team at Billson’s Brewery, Beechworth in High Country Victoria. After successfully restoring an 1800s mineral spring water well on site and reviving a secret stash of historic beer recipes, owners Nathan and Felicity Cowan have this week launched a cafe menu featuring the venue’s iconic brews, classic sodas and cordials as key recipe ingredients.
Also included on the menu are salad dressings, pickles and sauces that gain their flavour profiles from the inclusion Billson’s of classic sodas like Sarsaparilla and Portello; and while the dishes appear deceptively simple – like the mac and cheese jaffle with bacon jam and hopped tomato relish – the wow factor flavour punches and select small producer High Country ingredients make the menu a winner.
Billson’s new all day breakfast menu currently features two muffin choices: poached pineapple and star anise with shaved coconut; and raspberry, pink lady apple with white chocolate – each mimicking the fruit flavour ingredients of two recently launched small batch, preservative free cordials. Jams that go with the locally baked Silver Creek Sourdough fruit bread also share unique cordial flavour pairings and offer a sense of place also showcasing the nearby fruit orchards of Stanley.
More filling options include Silver Creek Sourdough’s insanely good handmade crumpets topped with locally smoked rainbow trout and a rich egg tartar; a softly spiced Shakshuka chickpea dish with baked egg; and a house made toasted seed and nut muesli that’s to die for, topped with Greek yoghurt, spiced Stanley apple compote and Beechworth Honey’s premium raw honeycomb.
Billson’s recently revived Heritage Stout plus new brews: Pale Ale and (alcoholic) Cloudy Ginger Beer make their way into new signature pies and pasty range – made exclusively for Billson’s by Rutherglen chef Kate Akrap, formerly of Jones Winery. Diners can choose from a Cloudy Ginger Beer braised chicken and vegetable pie, served with Billson’s hopped tomato relish; a rich and flavoursome Heritage Stout beef ragu pie, served with Billson’s sarsaparilla ketchup or an authentic Cornish Miner’s pasty that offers both a main and dessert within the one pastry. A slow cooked Pale Ale sauced pulled pork is the savoury (main) ingredient, while poached apple with cinnamon and sweet chestnut purée make up the sweeter, dessert ‘pointy end’ of the pasty.
Other choices include a Ploughman’s plate featuring Gamze smokehouse leg ham, and David Brown’s select Milawa cheddar, also featuring Portello pickled onions, cornichons, celery, apple, piccalilli and ciabatta. There’s a deluxe High Country cheese burger, and for the penny thrift, a collection of $9 ‘Hipster Jaffles’ that’ll have you coming back for more. We particularly loved the French-style béchamel sauce within the seemingly humble mac and cheese jaffle with Apple Cider bacon jam; plus the vibrant colour of pickled onions in the classic Reuben featuring local pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and a rich Russian dressing. Vegan and vegetarian diets are also catered to with a killer herbed breakfast baked beans jaffle, with or without mozzarella; plus a range of thoughtfully crafted salads that taste great, also forming sides to the signature pies and pasty.
Billson’s Brewery was founded in 1865 and was once so busy making beer for North East of Victoria that a glass bottle factory was built next door. Billson’s was famous for its Australian ale and porter well into the 1950s, it then became better known for its non-alcoholic cordials branded as Murray Breweries – these are still made in small batches on the same site today.
Billson’s tasting room is open 7 days a week between 9am and 5pm and Billson’s café is open 7 days from 9am to 4pm. Visit to experience the rich heritage, sample artisan cordials, small batch sodas, craft beers and spirits; and to unwind with cracker new affordable food menu.
29 Last Street, Beechworth
Tel 03 5728 1304