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: