Wednesday, October 29

Crafty Urban Ale

Adelaide beer lovers have been given a practical lesson in modern agronomy. A new strain of barley grown in the heart of the city has been used to create a truly original craft beer called Botanic Ale. The one-off brew is a collaborative effort involving SA brewer Coopers, Lobethal Bierhaus and Joe White Maltings. Alistair Turnbull, head brewer at Lobethal Bierhaus describes Botanic Ale (5.6%ABV) as a mid-strength beer in the tradition of modern American Pale Ales. “It’s a full character typical craft pale ale,” he says. “Not too bitter and little bit floral.” Alongside the special Botanic Gardens barley, Alistair has used two types of Australian hops and a special French hop, recommended by the team at Coopers. The beer has a dark coppery hue and a pleasant frothy head. But punters who are keen to get their hands on a bottle need to be quick – only 12,000 litres have been made. Botanic Ale is only available at the Lobethal Bierhaus, in the Adelaide Hills, or the Botanic Gardens Restaurant in the city. The new beer was officially launched last night by Stephen Forbes, the director of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, who came up with the idea in 2013. A plot of land within the gardens, The City Crop, was planted with Navigator barley, a variety developed by the University of South Australia – the special crop was sown and harvested by the South Australian Research and Development Institute. “Barley is the second largest crop in Australia,” he says. “Botanic Ale illuminates the technology in cultivating a crop and processing it into food, or in this case beer.” The special barley crop was sponsored by Coopers, Australia’s last major brewery still in local hands. Dr Tim Cooper, the company’s managing director, says Botanic Ale is a great way to connect the community with plants, agriculture and food. “Using the barley to create a special one-off craft beer seemed a good way to complete the project,” he says. Judging by the enthusiastic reception at the launch, Stephen and his colleagues at the botanic gardens should begin planting another crop of Navigator – and soon. For more information visit:

Thursday, October 23

At Home With The Fuzz

Is there anything better than a mid-week tour around the Clare, surely Australia’s prettiest wine region? Even better when you get to spend a few minutes holding up the bar at Hop & Vine, a delightful shabby chic shrine to craft beer and boutique SA wines in the main street of Auburn. Kym Deckart, brand ambassador for Clare Valley Brewing Co, introduced me the brewery’s new mid-strength offering called The Fuzz, a crisp coppery drop created specially for the Queensland market. “It’s just hit the ground in Queensland and the signs are promising,” Kym says. “It’s a good tasting beer.” This new offering joins the brewery’s established portfolio of ales and ciders, including King Kong Stout, Bulls Eye APA, Monkey’s Uncle Red Ale and Miss Molly Malone Grape Cider. Kym tells me the initial 15,000 litres of Mills Molly (released in October 2013) sold out in four weeks. “We’ve just enjoyed really good times,” he says modestly. Already a fan of the ballsy King Kong I was keen to taste the limited release Bring Out The Gimp—a wicked mocha stout. Now that’s what I call a beer. Clare Valley Brewing Co is great South Australian success story. Since the release of its first beer in August 2013 the company has established a strong niche in the domestic market and is already making forays into the eastern states. Its cellar door, Hop & Vine is a really cool place to hang out – apart from the full range of CVBC beers it also showcases some of Clare’s more boutique wines, including Good Catholic Girl and Jeanneret Wines. Visitors will enjoy the eccentric mix of Victorian furniture, industrial design and theatrical props, such as the painted bulls horns and chandeliers. But Hop & Vine is not the only good news story. Just up the road the highly respected Pikes winery is putting the finishing touches to a new state-of-the-art brewery, which should be coming on line in early 2015. There are similar expansion plans at Knappstein winery, where brewer Melissa Fettke is looking towards a bright future for regional players like themselves. “The craft beer world is an exceedingly exciting place to be,” she says. For more visit: