THERE are 14 gourmet burgers sitting pretty on a solid timber table in the middle of the Brewland dining room.
The deliciously-pungent smell of blue cheese hangs in the hops-infused air.
The burgers are Tuesday's staff lunch at Bridge Road Brewers; this ritual of eating together is as natural to them as the Beechworth brewery's down-to-earth owners themselves.
Ben Kraus, who founded Bridge Road Brewers 14 years ago in his dad's shed with his wife Maria, apologises for smelling of blue cheese before joining us to talk about their upcoming overseas sabbatical.
On Tuesday, Ben and Maria and their three children will fly out of the country for a "gap year" in Austria.
They are heading to Maria's childhood home at the foot of the Austrian Alps until July 2020.
Fifteen years ago Maria moved to Beechworth to start the brewery with Ben from the small Austrian town of Umhausen, which lies in the heart of the nation's biggest mountains in Tirol.
She left behind family, friends and a unique Tirolean culture; her region's German dialect is so distinct it's on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It was Ben's idea for the family to spend a good chunk of time together in Austria within easy reach of Maria's parents and two brothers, instead of only their fleeting, annual visits.
Ben and Maria's children - Lilyana, 9, Maurice, 7, and Louis, 18 months - have everything to gain from this immersive, cultural experience.
"Maria left behind her family and culture back in Austria," Ben says.
"We really wanted to make sure the kids have the chance to work on their language skills and learn the culture.
"It's also a chance for Maria's parents to really get to know their grandkids; when their grandparents only see them so little they have to say 'yes' to everything," he quips.
The eldest two children will attend the full European school year, from September through to July.
Lilyana's German is more than adequate; "Maurice is an expert in sign language!" according to Ben; and baby Louis may even end up more fluent in German than English.
"My parents don't speak English," Maria explains.
"Louis' first language might even be German; we'll just have to wait and see about that."
The family will be based in the tourist town of Oetz, which has a gondola lift in the village for easy access to alpine skiing.
"Oetz is a great family town," Maria says.
"It's a skiing area in winter and the mountain lake freezes over for skating.
"It's great for swimming in summer; I swam there as a youth."
From humble beginnings in Ben's Dad's backyard shed, Bridge Road Brewery has turned into an award-winning brewery and hub for the people of Beechworth.
Five years ago Ben and Maria made a plan to shape the business to let them spend a year away in Austria, while retaining full ownership of the brewery.
They have grown their team significantly since then.
"One year ago we locked in the date (for Austria)," Ben says.
"It's been 14 years since Maria and myself opened the doors to our Beechworth brewery, Bridge Road Brewers; at the time we were both 25.
"Since then the business has grown to over 40 employees and our own family has grown from two to five, there has also been awesome growth and changes in the Australian beer scene, particularly from our indie brewers.
"We wanted to take a break after 14 years of hard work, but at the same time we remain as passionate as ever about our brewery and industry and didn't want to say goodbye to any of that."
We wanted to take a break after 14 years of hard work, but at the same time we remain as passionate as ever about our brewery and industry and didn't want to say goodbye to any of that.
It's apt that Ben and Maria are returning to the Austrian Alps, where they first met in 2001. Maria was a ski instructor while Ben worked in hospitality.
"Ben lived in Austria for three winters after university," Maria says.
"I first came to Australia for a holiday on a tourist visa in 2002 and got permanent residency in 2004; I was homesick at the start when I shifted here but now this is my home.
"When I go on this trip it will feel like I'm leaving my home; I'm going to really miss my mountain bike community."
In Oetz, Maria wants to gain "work experience" in an Austrian patisserie while Ben has beer projects on the go.
Maria is looking forward to spending some time off with her family and rediscovering the mountains.
"I'd like to travel too because I haven't seen much of Europe - I have always been in Austria or Australia," she says.
Last month Bridge Road Brewers "seceded" from Australia, declaring itself Brewland and calling out global beer companies for their stranglehold on the beer market.
Most likely the fun froth on top of an innovative, five-year business plan, Bridge Road Brewers seems entirely well-placed for the future.
Staff will keep breaking bread together and the flavoursome craft brews will flow.
"I'm confident we'll see Bridge Road Brewers continue to grow, maintain our culture and passion and probably do even better in our absence with the awesome team we have!" Ben says.
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