I'm a Melbourne girl, born and bred, and new resident of Geelong. Fantabulous adventures await as I explore my gorgeous new city and the stunning Surf Coast. But don’t worry—I’ll be crossing the bridge regularly to get my Melbourne fix.
Published November 9th 2015
An Odyssey oasis of perfectly matched beer, food and music
There's not a whole lot on the highway in between the outlying suburbs of Geelong and the beachside town of Torquay, other than open expanses of farmland, new housing estates, and a bunch of roadworks as the area continues to develop. But slap bang in the middle, on the right as you tootle down towards Torquay, lies Odyssey Tavern & Brewery.
You shouldn't miss it, as it is well signed, and there's a turning lane off the highway so you don't even have to do a u-turn. It's got some pretty cool plants and trees at the front and some funky sculptures, and the whole place kind of looks like a big shed as you walk towards the front door from the car park. There's a beer garden at the front (with an ingenious way of using empty kegs—turned upside, they make a great stool), but a high fence protects it, so you don't feel too exposed to the traffic as you kick back with your schooner.
As soon as you enter, you feel like you've arrived at a mate's place. Wooden floors, tables with mismatching wooden chairs, music posters and beer memorabilia adorning the walls and shelves (check out the rows of empty beer bottles on the shelf above the windows), and of course, the main attraction: the way cool bar (I'm far too old to use a phrase like that, but it really just sums it up perfectly) against the back wall.
Odyssey Tavern & Brewery are proud of their large range of craft and boutique beers from around Victoria and Australia, and rotate their offerings on a regular basis. Some are on tap, some in bottles, and most have names that are rather off the wall—feel like a Feral Brewing Karma Citra anyone? A Cockies Blonde? A Wayward Fusami? How about a Killer Sprocket Rye? Odyssey Tavern & Brewery also brew their own small range of beer, with their first beer, the Calypso Pale Ale, on tap for your drinking pleasure.
On arrival, our lovely waitress seated us quickly, passed out menus and replenished the water bottles and glasses at the help-yourself water station in the middle of the tavern. Beer and cider is ordered directly at the bar, rather than ordering straight off the menu, which works well. It gets you out of your seat, you can check out the full range on display behind the bar, and the extremely knowledgeable, very friendly bartenders are more than happy to chat and make recommendations.
Whilst I'm not a beer drinker (I know—this is a review of a BREWERY. And I don't even drink the stuff. But let's move on.), my husband doesn't mind the odd boutique beer, so he came back to the table with a cool glass of something or other as recommended by the bartender (of which the name shamefully escapes me) and a sparkling glass of cider for me. I can't talk for the beer (although my husband was pretty impressed with it), but the cider was crisp and refreshing, not too bitter, not too sweet. Appetites now duly whetted, we sat back and enjoyed the relaxed vibes exuded by the staff, surroundings and fellow patrons.
Adding to the laid-back feel of the place is the live music, which features every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Odyssey Tavern & Brewery. The solo singer/guitarist perched on his stool in the corner started playing not long after we arrived, his music relaxed, easy to listen to, not too loud, and the perfect match for a Friday night at the tavern with a beer (or cider) or two.
Odyssey Tavern & Brewery is a great place to meet and catch up with a few friends and share a bowl of the humongous house-cut chips, but they also have a full dinner menu, with pizzas (which can also be ordered to take away), ribs, burgers, beef rib eye, fish of the day, and a range of entrees. There are gluten free options and a separate kids menu, and you can see the chefs hard at work through the opening to the kitchen alongside the bar. We started with a platter of dips and house-made Turkish bread, which was presented beautifully, and tasted just as good. We dipped and dunked while listening to the tunes from the guy in the corner and watched as the steady stream of orders kept coming out from the busy kitchen.
Our mains took a while to arrive—longer than normal apparently, as it was acknowledged by our friendly bartender, who brought us a free sample of beer (matched perfectly with beef) as a bit of a sweetener (not that we really needed one). I'd ordered the beef burger, and even had a sip of the beer (a very small sip), and my husband had a pizza. The burger was delicious—fat and juicy, with pickles and mustard and ketchup, tomatoes and lettuce, the plate piled high with tasty fries. And I have a disclaimer about the photo below—I'm not a fan of bacon, and I have an intense hatred of cheese, so my burger was sans what most people would probably rate as the best bits. The burgers being brought out to fellow diners looked much more burger-ish, with cheese melted over the fat patties, and bacon peeking out from beneath the bun (but for me, the burger was just how I like it).
We skipped dessert, despite how tempting they sounded on the menu, and basked for a little longer. Darkness began to fall outside and strings of golden fairy lights softly lit up the inside of the tavern, getting ready for the night owls to kick on into the evening. Odyssey Tavern & Bar is the perfect place for a casual, relaxed evening, but it's also ideal for functions (booked your work Christmas party yet?), and they have special live music events regularly—keep on eye on their website and Facebook page for updates on upcoming events.
Geelong and the Surf Coast is awash with pubs and bars, restaurants and cafes, but the Odyssey Tavern & Brewery is certainly one to check out if you're after some decent beer, with perfectly matched food, live music, friendly staff and a kick-back-and-relax setting. I'll definitely be back—and maybe I'll even have a beer next time.