“We might be in the middle of nowhere, but there is an absolute bounty out here,” says Chris Moore, one half of Sailor’s Grave. He’s talking about the nettles, mallow and milk thistle that grows in the paddocks near their Orbost brewery in East Gippsland; he and his wife, Gabrielle, pick them and use them in their beers.

“There are endless inspirations around here,” he continues. “Sometimes, the brief we give ourselves will be to make a beer that smells like a hay shed after a cutting. We take literal and emotional inspiration from the area. If there’s blueberries growing, we’ll pick them and put them in a beer.”

Chris and Gab have a background in food – they used to own the Commons Local Eating House in Sydney – so although they may get creative with their brews, there’s nothing novelty about what they make. They are about drinkability first and foremost.

“There is a trend sometimes in the brew world that bigger is better,” says Chris. “But we’re more about balance and subtlety, and layers of flavour, and the story of the ingredients rather than big and hoppy and high alcohol.”

The core range of beers includes the Down She Gose, Drowned Man IPA, and the Southern Right Ale. Sailor’s Grave also brews a range of seasonal beers (like a mandarin Berliner or grapefruit and marigold saison), and in the same way they forage locally for new ingredients, Chris and Gab also collaborate with local wineries and other producers on special release beers (they made a Pinot beer with Lightfoot & Sons in 2017).

If you don’t include the years of planning and research trips, Sailor’s Grave has only been operating for less than two years. Chris and Gab brew in an abandoned, 1893-era butter factory, which still has much of its original fittings including beautiful blue tiles.

They named their label after a cove at nearby Cape Conran. Sailor’s Grave is a rocky, wild coast, and many ships have been wrecked and sailors’ lives lost there. There’s also rumoured to be some graves in the dunes. Gab’s family had property there when she was growing up, so it made sense to return and set up the brewery.

As the brewery is so remote, there is no tasting room or similar set up for drop-ins. The Moores are always willing to show interested people around and set up tastings by appointment, however. They also host regular events on the property, like the Deep Winter Festival they hosted over three days in June 2018.

Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Sailor’s Grave
7 Forest Rd, Orbost 3888


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