Lot 100: a thriving epicurean delight

In the middle of a cow paddock and beside an apple orchard in the Adelaide Hills, two very large, very modern sheds represent an exciting new development in how outstanding local epicurean fare is made and presented.

Lot 100 brings together a host of the brightest beverage and food talent in this state as co-habitants in a versatile production space and a huge, open plan tasting pavilion, located within the Ceravolo family’s 84ha property in the quiet Hay Valley, just outside of Nairne.

It’s the $4.5 million shared home of The Hills Cider Company, Ashton Valley Fresh juices, Adelaide Hills Distillery (producers of 78 Degrees gin), Mismatch beer and the storage facility for Vinteloper wines.

The size and scale of this smart collaborative venture has made an instant impression on hordes of visitors since Lot 100 opened in December 2018. However, most don’t realise this has been five patient years in the making – and that Lot 100 is determined to keep growing.

Lot 100 during the Adelaide Hills Crush Festival in January, 2019.

The latest step is to open a mezzanine bar in the production shed, built by carpenter Sam Weckert, above the amassed beverage production equipment. At spacious tables and benches, visitors will be able to participate in masterclasses, tastings and blend-your-own workshops presented by the various producers.

“These hands-on activities will be great fun, very educative and also give the participants a very clear idea of just how much production activity is happening inside this vast insulated shed,” says Lot 100 co-partner Toby Kline.

Participants will be exposed to a variety of new taste sensations, especially when presented with Adelaide Hills Distillery’s experimental Native Grain Project, which is working through trials of making spirits from such native ingredients as wattleseed, kangaroo grass and saltbush seed.

The epicenter of the production shed is Mismatch’s 35 hectolitre Premier Stainless brewhouse, which brewers Ewan Brewerton and Leigh Morgan installed and began operating a year ago, while the remainder of the facility was still being completed.

While the space is now humming with activity, there is still ample room for the producers to expand their operations. For instance, Vinteloper winemaker David Bowley continues to make his wines elsewhere in the Adelaide Hills, due to his preference for wild yeasts during fermentation posing a threat to the brewery’s production requirements – but he will store his wine barrels at Lot 100.

The open plan tasting pavilion.

A facility of this size needs significant resources to keep it operating, and its designers have addressed sustainability and efficiency issues at every step of its construction and operation.

The most expensive shed on the property is also the smallest – a $750,000 water treatment facility that extracts water from two bores, removes its salts and minerals via reverse osmosis, then feeds it into the shed for use by each beverage producer. Wastewater is fed back into the system, treated and then used to irrigate crops, grass and trees, including the Ceravolo family’s adjacent orchard, which produces fruit for Hills Cider and Ashton Valley Fresh Juices.

Spent grain from the distillation process is recycled as feed for local livestock and used in the Lot 100 kitchen to bake bread. Electricity used on the site is provided by 1700 square metres of solar panels, creating a sizeable a solar farm on the production shed roof.

While the visiting public doesn’t see this, they do get to sample a huge array of drinks in the company of food within the adjacent tasting pavilion. A bar with 40 taps is designed to swiftly serve big numbers of visitors, with 30 pouring Mismatch beers, six for Hills Cider and four for Adelaide Distillery spritz.

Pizzas are on the menu at Lot 100, as are smaller roasted dishes, local produce plates and pastas.

Adelaide design company Frame (which creates product labels for Mismatch and Adelaide Hills Distillery) has dressed the cellar door interior with raw timber slats rising to the high ceiling and polished-concrete floors. This room opens to broad timber decks and rolling lawns that accommodate many more diners and drinkers under the shade of towering gum trees.

A sustainability message follows through to food served in the cellar door dining area, prepared by chefs Shannon Fleming (formerly of Adelaide’s esteemed Restaurant Orana) and Tom Bubner (of Pizza e Mozzarella and Chicken & Pig). The menu is built around a relaxed Italian style of eating – from pizza to pasta and roasted treats from a wood-fired oven, but the intention is to place locally sourced ingredients on a pedestal.

More plans for Lot 100 are already in motion. Hop plants are growing, so their flowers can eventually be used in Mismatch beers, while a kitchen garden will provide a range of vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, to keep reducing the distance from paddock to plate. An eventual aim is for the cellar door to include produce sales as well as beverages – “a one-stop shop for everything delicious,” as Toby Klein explains.

The makers of 78 Degrees Gin, Adelaide Hills Distillery, operates at Lot 100.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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SA wine labels pour in heart of city

Internationally renowned brands and smaller boutique labels from 17 South Australian wine regions will gather in the heart of the city this weekend.

The Adelaide Convention Centre will host the annual Cellar Door Fest from March 15-17, giving visitors the opportunity to learn not only about the state’s winemaking talents, but also the hottest craft breweries, distilleries and premium produce on offer in SA.

“Cellar Door Fest is all about celebrating the best of SA and showcasing our state’s vibrant food and drink scene,” says Adelaide Convention Centre general manager Simon Burgess.

“We’re delighted to be celebrating the festival’s ninth year and the fact that the event has established itself as a permanent fixture on our state’s festival calendar.

“With so many of our state’s principal wineries in attendance, Cellar Door Fest continues to be a terrific illustration of SA’s global reputation as a Great Wine Capital of the World in addition to highlighting our state’s emerging craft beer and distillery producers.”

Thousands of wine lovers are expected to descend upon the Adelaide Convention Centre over three days for the 2019 Cellar Door Fest.

Festival highlights include two long table dining events, the Jacob’s Creek Long Table Dinner on March 15 and the NOLA New Orleans-inspired Long Table Lunch on March 16.

For those wanting to immerse themselves in the world of wine and gin blending, a series of masterclasses will unfold including a cheese and sparkling session (sold out), a gin blending session with Settlers Spirits, a pinor noir wine blending session with Tomich Wines, and a cheese and wine session with Sheree Sullivan of Udder Delights and wine educator Rhys Howlett.

The Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Discovery Space will explain how Adelaide, SA, is ranked alongside some of the world’s top wine regions in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. GWC Best of Wine Tourism Award winners will be on hand for tastings and free masterclasses, including Chapel Hill Winery, Whistling Kite, Penfolds, d’Arenberg, Elderton, and Hentley Farm Wines.

Two long table dining events are among the festival highlights.

Wine lovers wanting to sample up-and-coming drops can head for the Emerging Winemakers Zone – introduced last year – to learn about a selection of labels that have been in the industry for three years or less. Emerging winemakers include Artis Wines, Auld Family Wines, Beklyn Wines, Blewitt Springs Wine Co, Dewey Station Wines, Eight at the Gate, Junnare Wines, Peter Teakle Wines, Peter Thompson Wines, Poppy the Frenchie, Saint & Scholar and The Hydropath Society.

Cellar Door Fest organisers say this year’s event is proud to highlight eco-friendly producers including those offering certified organic, biodynamic and vegan friendly products, as well as those who use sustainable packaging.

“We’re thrilled to be back and to once again provide a platform for SA producers to showcase their amazing wares and connect with consumers,” says Cellar Door Fest director Alex Bradford.

“Our team is proud to have assembled another fantastic program this year, including a great assortment of immersive experiences for guests to enjoy, from tastings to long table dining, masterclasses and live cooking demonstrations in Jessie’s Kitchen and the Wintulichs Beer Garden.”

Beer drinkers can visit the Wintulichs Beer Garden to taste a selection of local brews.

Jessie’s Kitchen will keep foodies satisfied with a series of free, live cooking demonstrations hosted by Adelaide food identity Jessie Spiby and other producers. Visitors inclined to sip on a fresh G&T will appreciate the popular Distillery District, showcasing many of the state’s emerging craft distilleries including Never Never Distilling Co, which took out the title for World’s Best Gin Classic at the World Gin Awards in London recently.

Beer drinkers can head for the Wintulichs Beer Garden to spot a showcase of top breweries and cidermakers. A new addition this year is the Dude Food stage, featuring a series of free lessons in grilling, smoking and searing meats. Burgers, tacos, hot dogs and sizzling steaks – we say no more.

To view the full Cellar Door Fest program and to purchase tickets visit the website.

What is a wine festival without a selection of local Brie cheeses to wash it all down.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Pirate Life’s Port Adelaide brewery open for business

Popular craft brewer Pirate Life will celebrate the completion of its $15 million new Port Adelaide brewery and canning facility this month, coinciding with the business’s fourth birthday.

The new brewery will allow Pirate Life to brew eight million litres of beer at the Port to keep up with national demand, compared to the three million litres at its current Hindmarsh facility.

The original site at Hindmarsh will still operate, dedicated to creating new and innovative beers, while the Port Adelaide brewery will take on the big sellers lager, pale ale, and IPA.

Pirate Life co-founder Michael Cameron says the brewery intends to brew between 40 and 45 new beers this year.

It’s been a big couple of months for Pirate Life, which was bought in November 2018 by Carlton and United Breweries, a subsidiary of Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Pirate Life’s new facility in Port Adelaide will allow for a significant boost in production volumes.

“We’ve been working on Pirate Life at the Port for more than 12 months and we’ve come so far,” says Pirate Life co-founder Michael Cameron.

“While our original Hindmarsh brewery, bar and shop will remain open for business, the Port brewery represents a vital injection of cultural at an exciting time benefitting the area’s resurgence.

“Our new brewhouse in the expansive, proud old 1938 Dalgety Wool Store really is a sight to behold. From the brewery to the bar, the food offerings and our ongoing events schedule, we reckon you’ll love being there as much as we do. We’re just four years old but we’ve got a lot to celebrate.”

Pirate Life will celebrate the completed expansion at a free public event on Saturday, March 9, unveiling the new tap house with a 22-yard main bar, the size of a cricket pitch.

A line of eight new limited release birthday beers will be revealed, complementing old favourites and newer creations.

Pirate Life founders Michael Cameron, left, Jared Proudfoot and Jack Cameron.

Pirate Life was founded four years ago after its three founders Jack Cameron, Jared Proudfoot and Michael Cameron said goodbye to their lives in WA, driving across the Nullarbor to make a new home SA and launch their new venture. All three had built established careers in craft breweries and in the beer market.

Pirate Life CEO John Phinney says SA beer lovers have shown the company a “great deal of respect and support” since its establishment.

“On top of that, we’ve had incredible backing from the State Government, our colleagues at Carlton and United Breweries, and our new neighbours at the Port Adelaide Council, and we’re very appreciative of that,” he says.

“Now it’s time for us to share the love … and we encourage everyone to drop in and stay a while.”

The Pirate Life’s fourth birthday celebrations are on Saturday, March 9, 2–5pm. Grammy nominated brass band Hot 8 Brass Band will perform, touring all the way from New Orleans.

Free buses will depart from the Port Adelaide Train Station, Gilbert Street Hotel and Adelaide Train Station to the brewery. For more details on the event click here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Hop on – the ultimate Fleurieu craft beer trail

Hop to it, beer lovers. South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is the place to be, with a number of well-established brewers and newer, boutique operators calling the region home.

With its outstanding wines, white sandy beaches and alfresco cafés, the Fleurieu has long been appreciated for its delectable food and wine offerings, but it’s time to give the stouts, ales, and pilsners a pour.

So, grab a designated driver and buckle up. Head for McLaren Vale, the heart of brewery territory and further south into Willunga, before visiting a few watering holes on the outskirts and along the coast. Let the ultimate beer trail begin!

1. Victor’s Place
62 Victor Harbor Road, Old Noarlunga

This restaurant, cellar door and brewery is a three-in-one delight set in an old 1870s stone barn, rebuilt with rustic charm. If the sun is shining, head for the outdoor area with a pint in hand and enjoy the views overlooking the Onkaparinga Valley. As far as beer goes, the Sour Cherry Berliner Weisse is a relatively new release and worth a try, as are the rest of its range including the Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Saison and Summer Session Ale.

Inside Victor’s Place.

2. Swell Brewing Co.
168 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale

This new brewery and taphouse is the newest kid on the block to join the gang of McLaren Vale’s fellow craft brewery hotspots. Swell Brewing Co.’s new McLaren Vale space is the project of winemaker Corrina Wright of Oliver’s Taranga and her brewer husband Dan Wright. Coastal inspirations and a love for surfing are evident in the brand’s name and overall style, with the brewery offering a selection of its own beers, as well as others, and complemented by classic beer-matching eats such as burgers, chicken wings and sweet potato chips.

Inside Swell’s new taphouse. Photo by Kate Elmes Photography.

3. Vale Brewing
Within the Beresford Tasting Pavilion at 252 Blewitt Springs Road, McLaren Flat.

You can find these guys within Beresford Estate (so it’ll please wine lovers) in McLaren Flat. Have a go at the $15 tasting of the refreshing and sessionable lagers including the Vale Mid Coast, Vale Ale, Vale Lager, Vale Knee Slapper and Vale IPA. Vale has a decade-long history of brewing in the region, starting with small run releases of its original Vale Ale before expanding the core range and growing into a craft beer label well-recognised on SA shelves.

Cheese and beer among the vines at Beresford Estate.

4. Goodieson Brewery
194 Sand Road, McLaren Vale

Family owned and operated Goodieson Brewery is run by Jeff and Mary Goodieson whose property overlooks a tree-lined creek, vineyards and the valley. They’re serious about beer, with the pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer, brown ale, red ale, Maiblock, Christmas ale, autumn ale and stout on offer (although some of these are seasonal styles and have limited availability). Feel free to bring your own picnic snacks and nibbles to enjoy in the outdoor space overlooking the big beautiful gum trees and vineyards.

A beautiful setting on a sunny day.

5. Ekhidna
67 Branson Road, McLaren Vale

This cellar door features beers, ciders and wine from winemaker Matt Rechner. Ekhidna’s traditional Aussie ginger beer is highly sought after, with its strong ginger flavour, hit of spice and hint of sweetness. A restaurant is also on site, offering share plates, heartier mains, and desserts for those who need it. A great all-round experience that will tick boxes not only for beer lovers, but wine lovers, foodies and those partial to a crisp cider too.

Try the beer paddle at Ekhidna.

6. South Coast Brewing Co.
1/11 Jay Drive, Willunga

Beers and beaches – the perfect combination. South Coast Brewing Co. recognises this ideal match and brews its beers with the coast in mind. Three blokes Scott, Brett and Mark are behind this independent operation, with a line of Southern Session Ale a crisp, summery beer that’s almost too easy to drink, the Porties Pale Ale, named after Port Noarlunga, and the Maslin’s Red Ale, named after Australia’s first nudie beach. There’s also the Butter Sou’Westerly, a dry hopped brew that pays homage to winter time’s bitter, cold winds, and the Earl of Seaford Bitter, a delight for true beer appreciators.

The South Coast Brewing Co. trio. Photo sourced from Facebook.

7. Shifty Lizard
33 High Street, Willunga

A relatively new kid on the block, Shifty Lizard owners Lee and Danny opened this new venture in an old butcher’s shop in Willunga about a year ago. The beer bottle and can labels alone are impressive, featuring quirky characters and label names by the likes of the Bruce Lee-zard IPA, Stouty McStout Face and the Lizard’s Dinner. This microbrewery features outdoor dining nestled in the heart of Willunga. Definitely a spot for those who appreciate simple yet stylish interiors and something a little quirky.

8. Smiling Samoyed
Hansen Street, Myponga

Recognised not only for its beer, but the brewery’s two white and fluffy Samoyed dogs, Mia and Hoppy, who will greet you upon arrival. Smiling Samoyed, south west of Willunga, like many breweries is laid back in its style and offers much to look at with small, rustic trinkets and memorabilia scattered throughout facility. Beer wise, the brewery offers both award-winning and limited release brews including the Poppet, Kolsch, Dark Ale, IPA and 12 Paws. Rumour has it that they’ve just re-released the popular Hop Bandit, but be quick because it won’t last long! Grazing plates feature local cheeses, smallgoods and other nibbles while wood oven pizzas, some smaller snacks, and desserts are also on offer.

The fluffy Samoyed dogs are a real crowd-puller.

9. Forktree Brewing
935 Forktree Road, Carrickalinga

With stunning views over the ocean, Forktree Brewing is housed in an old shearing shed – the perfect location for downing a beer, right?! The beers are currently contract brewed, but hopes are to one day have a brewery on site. The froths include the Sunrise Pale Ale, with its citrus and tropical fruit hop aroma, and the Sunset Ale, a fuller bodied, malt driven red ale. The food menu is simple yet satisfying, with burgers enjoying names such as The Ringer beef burger, the Roustabout lamb burger, the Flamin’ Galah chicken burger, the Squeezer pork burger, and the Guesser sweet potato and chickpea burger.

How’s that for a sunset?

10. Meechi Brewery Company
The Wine House, 1509 Langhorne Creek Road, Langhorne Creek

A little out of the way from the other Fleurieu breweries (but still within an hour or so’s drive) is Meechi Brewery Company in wine region Langhorne Creek. Meechi’s winemaker owners proudly launched this small-batch brewery from their backyard shed because “we think every wine region needs a beer label”, and we agree! They were the Creek’s first craft beer label and have been a perfect addition within The Wine House, a wine tasting and dining venue where you’ll also be able to crack open one of Meechi’s handcrafted beers. Meechi is an Aboriginal name for the Bremer River, which runs through the town and then into Lake Alexandrina.

Share your Fleurieu beer trail experience with us on Facebook or instagram by using the #ichoosesa hashtag!

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Craft beers creating top brew of SA entrepreneurs

A heady mix of top South Australian creators of beer, gin and wine are about to launch a unique Adelaide Hills cellar door with two of the state’s leading chefs running the kitchen.

“Lot 100 is being launched on December 8 and I’m getting married there next Friday,” Mismatch Brewing and group brand manager Leigh Morgan says.

The ambitious, all-in-one brewery, distillery, cellar door and restaurant just outside of Nairne will showcase produce from Mismatch Brewing, Adelaide Hills Distillery, Adelaide Hills Cider, Vinteloper and Ashton Valley Fresh.

The creators of the $4.5 million production facility and cellar door want it to be a memorable experience. From the entry gates to the sprawling 84 ha property, a driveway sweeps up the hill to a modern barn-style cellar door featuring raw timber and concrete, surrounded by 100-year-old gum trees.

Inside Lot 100 at Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.

Inside, the kitchen will be overseen by acclaimed chefs Shannon Fleming formerly from Orana and Tom Bubner from Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, Chicken and Pig – and there’s enough space to host weddings of 660 people.

Next Friday marks its first outing with 226 guests arriving to celebrate Leigh tying the knot with Adelaide occupational therapist Hayley Foreman.

“We won’t be honeymooning yet, I’ve managed to convince my beautiful soon-to-be wife we should escape winter next year instead, which gives me six months working with the team,” Leigh says.

It’s been a jam-packed few years for the co-founder of successful online wine company Vinomofo after joining forces with Mismatch Brewing head brewer and founder Ewan Brewerton full time earlier this year.

All will be revealed at Lot 100 on December 8.

Having launched in 2013 as a gypsy brewer using space in other facilities, Mismatch last year built its own brewery alongside the Adelaide Hills Distillery company famed for its hand crafted spirits.

Its first beer was completed in December 2017 and, in June this year, it took out the Champion Trophy at the prestigious Australian Independent Brewers Association Awards.

At Lot 100, Leigh says the team wants to create leading products but sustainably. There are solar panels and water from two onsite bores is put through a reverse osmosis system and any waste is used to irrigate surrounding orchards. Plans are also afoot to plant a market garden and hops for the brewing process.

“We’re doing this for our children’s children, if more companies think that way it’s going to be so much better for everyone,” Leigh says.

The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery in the Riverland is another craft brewery operating sustainably.

It’s a similar theme in the Riverland, where Tom and Sarah Freeman first opened their craft brewery, Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, in a 100-year-old shearing shed overlooking the River Murray in 2009.

At that stage, only five other SA businesses were operating in the niche market.

“Now I think there’s about 37 craft or independent brewers in SA alone and another 11 or more applications are with councils,” Tom says.

Wilkadene is 20km north of Renmark with a cellar door overlooking the picturesque river.

It’s 100% family owned with a focus on producing its beers and Utopia range of ales, cider, hard lemonade and the Rude Ruby, a grapefruit drink which the brewery produced 100,000 litres of last year. Its beverages are produced with zero waste, with wastewater used to irrigate the garden, there’s 40kW of solar panels installed and used grain is fed to the chickens.

Rainwater is also used to save on the River Murray with Tom saying as the brewery has expanded so too has the amount of roofs capturing water.

“We have a good relationship with our neighbours who have a packing shed, they give us water and we give them beer,” Tom says.

The Woolshed Brewery is located on the banks of the mighty Murray at Wilkadene.

Tom says ever-increasing consumer interest in craft beers has spurred growth at Wilkadene Station where he grew up before moving to study and work in wine marketing in Adelaide.

It was when his parents were looking to sell the farm and houseboat business that Tom and his wife Sarah came up with the brewery idea.

“I’d developed a real passion for the beer industry particularly the craft industry, and we’d always wanted to do more with the shearing shed,” Tom says.

Over the past seven years the business’s beer production increased by 80% per year and last year by a further 30%, with 70,000 litres of beer now produced on site and another 15,000 litres at other breweries.

Tom’s personal favourite from the Woolshed Brewery is the drop most sought after in the colder months, a dark ale made with locally grown and roasted wattleseed called Judas the Dark.

“We get the wattleseed from just down the road at Australian Native Bush Foods, it’s run by Mark Lucas and he was a wool classer here when I was a kid,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Craft industries

Throughout the months of November and December, the state’s craft industries will be celebrated as part of I Choose SA.

South Australian craftspeople make up some of our most creative thinkers and makers of sustainable and innovative goods. Read more craft stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Shop South Australia is home to a unique collection of over 300 South Australian gifts and goods from more than 70 local makers and producers. Choose local and Shop South Australia.

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Coopers pops top off this year’s Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards

The largest Australian-owned brewery Coopers has good reason to enjoy a pint or two this weekend – it’s taken a swag of awards at this year’s Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards (RABCA).

The 156-year-old South Australian-based brewery’s Sparkling Ale won the Champion South Australian Beer, Most Outstanding Beer in Show, and Champion Traditional Australian Style Pale Ale.

Coopers was also named Champion Large Brewery, while its Mild Ale won Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer and its Sapporo took Champion Other Lager.

A strong field of regional SA breweries also took home awards.

The awards were presented at the Adelaide Showground on July 6 at the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival, which plays host to the largest gathering of brewers in the country.

RABCA chief judge Tony Jones says the awards, run by the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA, recognise the importance of Australia’s $7 billion beer and cider industry.

“This year’s awards attracted 252 entries from 54 brewers of all sizes from across Australia and New Zealand, with all entries judged blind by an expert industry panel,” he says.

Myponga beer lovers Smiling Samoyed Brewery and Mismatch Brewing Company in Adelaide won the Small and Medium Brewery Awards respectively.

The Adelaide Hills’ Lobethal Bierhaus took home both the Champion Pilsener and Champion Stout Beer Awards with Bohemian Pilsner and winter-perfect Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Port Lincoln’s Beer Garden Brewing also found success with its Cage Diver IPA (Champion India Pale Ale) and Section 49 Wheat Beer (Champion Wheat Beer).

Thousands of people will gather at the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival this weekend.

The craft brewers recently made headlines with their new release of a stout beer made with native Coffin Bay oysters.

Local Cider makers didn’t go home empty handed, with Kangaroo Island Ciders winning both the Best Cider in Show and the Best SA Cider exhibit with their Colony Cove Draught Cider.

Hahndorf microbrewery won Champion Hybrid Beer with its SmokeStack Rauchbier.

“Many of the entrants will be exhibiting their beers and ciders at the festival which will provide a great opportunity for the public to discover a range of styles from many different brewers,” Tony says.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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The top 15 things to do in McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale – it has a cellar door around every corner, world-class culinary offerings and the unforgettable d’Arenberg Cube.

While a day in McLaren Vale is undoubtedly best spent with wine on your lips, we reckon there’s many ways to kill some time in the land of the rolling vineyards.

But first, a few facts.

  • McLaren Vale is only 45 minutes from Adelaide and incorporates 30km of stunning coastline that is worthy of an Instagram snap or two.
  • The region was originally populated by the Kaurna Aboriginal people.
  • John McLaren surveyed McLaren Vale in 1838, establishing two separate townships, Gloucester and Bellevue.
  • Over time these two merged and the area came to be known as McLaren’s Vale. By 1866 it had houses, businesses, a church, a pub and a steam flour mill.
  • The first grape vines were planted in 1838 by settlers John Reynell and Thomas Hardy, with the Seaview and Hardy wineries up and running by the 1850s.
  • Now McLaren Vale is respected as the birthplace of SA wine, is renowned for its favourable Mediterranean climate and is home to some of the country’s top winemakers.

OK, enough. Let’s get into the good stuff.

1. Graze your way through the Willunga Farmer’s Market

Fill your I Choose SA tote bag so the straps are stretched to their limits.

You’ll find the finest SA artisan produce you can get your hands on, from crusty sourdough loaves to pastured eggs, homemade jams, honey, and veggies so fresh they’ve still got the dirt on them.

The best thing about SA farmer’s markets is that you can meet and chat to the local makers and growers in the flesh.

WHERE: Cnr St Peter’s Terrace and High Street, Willunga.

The Willunga Farmer’s Market is on every Saturday, from 8am –12:30pm.

2. Visit the cheese room at Romeo’s McLaren Vale Foodland

Lock us in there and throw away the key!

McLaren Vale Foodland has its own walk-in cheese room offering a selection of bries, camemberts and matured varieties – you name it!

The supermarket also has a sushi bar with its own chef.

In February 2018 McLaren Vale Foodland was crowned international retailer of the year at the IGA’s annual global awards in Las Vegas.

WHERE: 130 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

3. Be amazed by the d’Arenberg Cube

Is it Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? Is it a giant Rubik’s Cube? Nope, it’s Chester Osborn’s imagination at work.

Even if you’re not into wine, this fascinating piece of architecture is a hit to the senses.

The d’Arenberg Cube features a variety of features and art installations that must be seen to be fully understood and appreciated.

The views are also spectacular.

WHERE: Osborn Road, McLaren Vale.

The furniture alone is worth awing over.

4. Venture along the Shiraz Trail

Need to wear off all that cheese and dukkah-dipped sourdough?

The off-road Shiraz Trail links the McLaren Vale wine district with Willunga, offering stunning views of vineyards, majestic gums and livestock grazing in paddocks.

It’s about 9km long, can be journeyed by bike, foot, or horseback and is child friendly.

Time it well on a Saturday morning and end up at the Willunga Farmer’s Market!

WHERE: Begin at the McLaren Vale Visitor Information Centre.

5. Devour a pizza at Pizzateca

If you didn’t Instagram a selfie in front of that pink and green shed did you even visit Pizzateca?

Well, you’d remember your visit anyhow, because their pizzas are quite possibly the best in the land.

Think handmade dough that’s stretched and flipped, scattered with produce and thrown into a fiery wood oven before your eyes.

WHERE: 319 Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale.


6. Appreciate art at the Fleurieu Arthouse

Located within Hardys Tintara is this arthouse hosting 10 resident local artists who create their masterpieces from the studio and workshop spaces.

Take a wonder through the finished pieces in the exhibition gallery featuring sculptures, paintings, pottery and other installations.

WHERE: 202 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

7. Hurl a melon at Wirra Wirra.

Nothing will resurrect your inner child than flinging a watermelon from a giant medieval siege machine and watching it fly through the air before it lands with a spectacular splat.

You can do this Wirra Wirra along with other things, such as sampling wines from the cellar door or enjoying a scrumptious seasonal platter from Harry’s Deli.

WHERE: McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale.

8. Make a move at The Groove Garden

Every Sunday afternoon this alfresco café spreads its infectious vibes, appealing to the young, seniors, kids and everyone in-between.

Live music in the form of blues, folk, rock, country and reggae has most people on their feet while others take in the atmosphere with a wine or a cold beer in hand.

The menu is always changing, but usually involves burgers, Indian cuisine, vegetarian-friendly plates and coffee.

WHERE: 133 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

9. Bag some snags at Ellis Butchers

These guys recently snagged third place at the Australian Meat Industry Council’s National Sausage King Competition in the poultry category.

The longstanding butcher supplies to some of the top restaurants (including D’Arenberg) and pubs across the region.

Ellis Butchers is a fan of dry aged beef, a process that increases flavour, tenderness and texture.

They also produce their own ham and bacon, smoked using beechwood and red gum.

WHERE: Lower level, Central Shopping Centre McLaren Vale.

10. Get lost at Maxwell.

At Maxwell Wines, there’s more to do than indulge in wine and nibble off a cheeseboard.

Owner Mark Maxwell has grown a maze at the bottom of the vineyard and it’s bound to keep kids (and the young at heart) entertained.

Cheeseboards are available from the cellar door, but visitors can bring their own nibbles to enjoy on the winery’s picnic ground while sipping a Maxwell drop.

WHERE: 19 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale.

11. Relax at The Vineyard Retreat

The Vineyard Retreat is the perfect spot to sleep off all the adventures, with a little country luxury of course.

It has four guest houses, each with double French doors opening onto their own private outdoor verandah.

The interiors are elegant with luxurious touches such as a complementary mini bar, soft linen, and an espresso machine.

WHERE: 165 Whitings Road, Blewitt Springs.

12. Pitch a tent at the caravan park

With so much to do in the region, it makes sense to stay for at least the weekend.

The Lakeside Caravan Park is perfect for tent-pitchers, caravan owners, pop-toppers or families.

The grounds feature a playground, grassed area, tennis courts, a spa and swimming pool – all the creature comforts!

WHERE: 48 Field Street, McLaren Vale.

13. Grab a roadside caffeine hit

Cruise down the McLaren Vale end of Victor Harbor Road and you’ll spot a black caravan that’s well worth a stop.

The Short Black Caravan is the doing of Dal Mare Coffee, which also exists in café form along McLaren Vale’s main drag.

This boutique coffee roaster is fast becoming the go-to for locals and travellers.

WHERE: Short Black Caravan, McLaren Vale end of the Victor Harbor Road. Dal Mare Coffee, 189 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

14. Smash a toastie at Mullygrub

Hearty breakfasts that take you all the way to lunch without hunger pangs.

That’s what a good brekky is all about, but at Mullygrub Café (which also exists in the form of a food truck) things are done a little differently.

Why do waffles when they can be pumpkin waffles with crispy sage and zoodles?

A new addition is the Cuban sandwich with mojo pork, dill pick, Swiss cheese and Cubano sauce.

WHERE: 114-116 Main Road, McLaren Vale.

15. Crack a tinny at Goodieson

Wine is good, but a cold beer on a hot day? Better.

Setting up operations in McLaren Vale, Jeff and Mary Goodieson offer everything from barrel aged stout to golden IPAs, imperial pilsners, pale ales, wheat beers and Indian red ales.

Enjoy a coldie or a paddle of four beers on the terrace overlooking a tree-lined creek, vineyards, and a roo or two.

The “lazy old red dog” will melt your heart before you even sit down.

WHERE: 194 Sand Road, McLaren Vale.

Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.

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Crafty thirst quenchers crack open success

By Melissa Keogh

Father and son duo Michael (MC) and Jack Cameron and his best mate Jared (Red) Proudfoot are South Australia’s most dedicated hop heads.

Almost three years ago the trio packed their bags in their home state of Western Australia and headed for Adelaide – all in the name of beer.

In the beginning the lads behind Pirate Life Brewing in Hindmarsh were the new kids on SA’s brewing block.

But now their brews are on the lips of beer lovers here and overseas, with beer production volumes hitting the millions.

Pirate Life Brewing was born through the mateship of Jack and ‘Red’ who met while undertaking apprenticeships at Scottish craft brewery, BrewDog.

 Jared (Red) Proudfoot, left, Jack Cameron and Michael (MC) Cameron moved from WA to Adelaide to establish Pirate Life.

Jared (Red) Proudfoot, left, Jack Cameron and Michael (MC) Cameron moved from WA to Adelaide to establish Pirate Life. Photo: John Krüger.

The pair lived, studied and worked together, bonding over their love for a pint or two and a shared dream to one day launch their own craft brewery.

Beer runs in the blood of the Cameron boys, as MC also worked at BrewDog among other hospitality ventures.

Once the Scottish stint came to an end, the men travelled home to hone their skills with Jack working for Little Creatures, while Red went to the Margaret River and spearheaded Cheeky Monkey.

Meanwhile, the best friends and MC began exploring South Australia for potential sites to launch their own brewery.

It was to be Adelaide – a city they yearned to make famous for more than “churches and an ice coffee fetish”.

They settled in Hindmarsh in 2014 before the first ‘tinny’ rolled off the production line in 2015.

MC, who takes the reins of Pirate Life as CEO, says SA was the perfect fit because of its distribution capabilities and reputation as a premium food and wine destination.

“It’s a fantastic place as a distribution hub,” he says.

“We can send fresh beer to Sydney and Melbourne overnight and Brisbane and Perth in two days.

“SA is also well-renowned for its premium produce, especially within the wine regions and the products coming out of Kangaroo Island and other areas.

“It’s as good as you could find anywhere in the world.”

Quality is key at Pirate Life. Photo: John Krüger

Quality is key at Pirate Life. Photo: John Krüger

The word about Pirate Life Brewing quickly got out, with craft beer aficionados lapping up the Pale Ale, the IPA (India Pale Ale) and more recently, the Mosaic IPA.

The brewery snagged three big wins at last week’s Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards, while the Mosaic IPA was crowned Champion IPA at the recent National Craft Beer Awards.

From just three employees, Pirate Life grew to take on 41 staff and now exports its product to Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the UK.

While Pirate Life beers are recognised for their punchy, West Coast style flavours, they are also renowned for canning as opposed to bottling to maintain freshness and flavour.

The Pirate Life pale ale.

The Pirate Life pale ale.

This month the Pirate Life boys revealed plans for a brewery expansion in Port Adelaide in 2018.

The exact location is yet to be revealed, but MC says it will include a new restaurant/bar and will double its employment numbers.

He says SA’s craft beer industry is going from strength to strength.

“I think craft beer challenges the palate and taste buds,” MC says.

“People are really keen to try something different.”

Bottoms up at beer and BBQ fest

By Melissa Keogh

Thousands of beer and cider appreciators will descend upon the Adelaide Showground this weekend to knock the top off some of the best SA, Australian and international brews.

The crowd-pleasing Adelaide Beer and Barbecue Festival is on from July 28–30, featuring South Australia’s largest assembly of brewers and cider makers.

The three-day festival captures the best of both worlds – beers and barbecues.

The three-day festival captures the best of both worlds – beer and barbecues.

Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend.

Festival organiser Marc Huber says more than 60 beer and cider brands will feature in the main beer hall, while the ‘IPA Soundsystem’ will have 20 rotating taps of beer, some of which have never been on tap in Australia.

While the event is recognised as a barbecued meat fest, vegan chef Shannon Martinez will turn heads by joining the festival’s line-up of Australian and international chefs.

Shannon, of all-vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Fitzroy, is not a vegan, but says it gives her an edge.

“Many people believe veganism is a trend, that all vegan food tastes the same, boring way and, above all, that it is uncreative, not filling and lacks flavour,” she says.

“I like to turn that on its head.”

Beer and Barbecue Festival will offer a plethora of brews and smoky fare.

The Beer and Barbecue Festival will offer a plethora of brews and smoky fare.

The Beer and Barbecue Festival is split into four sessions across the weekend and is bound to have the beers pouring and barbecues sizzling!

Friday On My Mind, $35, July 28 5pm–midnight
The festival kicks off on Friday night with the Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards.
Brewers and producers across the country are vying for top prize and most winners will have their brews on hand to slurp! The main stage will also be pumping with live acts.

Saturday Beer Geek, $35, July 29 11am–5pm
Passionate beer drinkers can relish in masterclasses, a Q&A with brewers and chefs, and the Brewers Feud (similar to Channel 10’s Family Feud).


Saturday Rock ‘n’ Roll, $40, July 30 6pm-midnight
Keep the beers flowing while taking in a ripper main stage line-up including Regurgitator, Mane, Siamese and the Music SA and Beer Band Competition winner.

Sunday Session, $25, 11am–6pm.
This Sunday won’t be for resting, with a jam-packed line-up of beer and barbecue frivolities including the Up In Smoke barbecue competition, a hot dog eating contest and a ‘dad bod’ wet t-shirt competition.