A state-of-the-art brew house and tasting room at Pikes Winery will be the place to quench a thirst this summer in South Australia.
Located in the Clare Valley, the $1 million brewery is the newest addition to the craft beer map in a state best known for its wineries.
The new facility includes a 2000-litre brewing system from Italy and a modern bottling plant and is headed up by Brad Nolan, a respected brewer who was previously team leader at Gage Roads Brewing Co in Western Australia.
“Brad is chomping on the bit to get started,” says Andrew Pike, the winery’s director, whose family have been making wine in the Polish Hill River Estate sub region since 1984.
“We’ll probably start off with a pilsner and then follow up with a sparkling ale,” says Pike.
Although the hop and the vine are often seen as rivals, Pike’s English forbears ran a brewery, Oakbank, in the Adelaide Hills for almost 90 years.
The family resumed beer making in 1996 with the release of a small range of traditional pilsners, ales and stouts, but felt that there was sufficient consumer demand to justify building its own microbrewery – a process which was aided by a grant from the South Australian government.
Pike believes that wine-making and brewing, if correctly managed, are highly complementary activities and hopes the new brew house will attract more visitors to the Clare, a region which known internationally for its rieslings.
“I think the two things go hand in glove,” he says. “Knappstein [another Clare Valley winery which has branched into craft beer] set the scene many years ago, but there aren’t too many others doing this in South Australia,” he told Beer and Brewer magazine.
Apart from broadening the consumer experience at the winery, Pike says the new brew house will give the company more quality control, lift production and potentially widen its craft beer range.
“First and foremost we want to hone our existing products, but then we’ll look at doing some regular seasonal offerings,” he says. “It’s early days.”
From January 2015 Pikes Wines will be open for beer and wine tastings, seven days a week. For more information visit www.pikeswines.com