Words by John Goodridge
Beer in the burbs grew from a germ of an idea while Dave, our driver, was conducting wine tours and realised that maybe there would be a market for a similar tour, but for beer. This tour takes in four craft brewing outlets, Pirate Life, The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sweet Amber Café at Semaphore and Big Shed Brewery in Royal Park.
Pirate Life Brewing are a local success story. In the two years they have been operating out of their South Road, Thebarton premises, they have reached their seven year goas and are looking to expand even further. The tour begins in their café / coffee shop, where wholesale beer, merchandise and of course coffee can be purchased. After some background to the Pirate Life story, we see where the malt is milled, the hops are stored and run through the beer making process.
An interesting side note to this operation is that the waste is either converted in bio waste for electricity generation or used as feed for livestock. An important factor in keeping beer fresh is the storage temperature, and Pirate Life have developed their own Pirate Cartel, delivering cold beer anywhere in Australia within 48 hours.
The tasting begins with a crisp Throwback Ale at 3.5% and ends with a Golden Era double IPA at a staggering 11.7%.
Suitably primed we head around the corner to visit the Wheatsheaf Hotel who have set up a brewing system which supplies the hotel with a range of craft beers. There are three brewing tanks, which brew anything from a lager to a stout and much in between. All beer is stored in a cold room on site, so transportation is not an issue. The Russian Stout, made with Lapsing Souchong tea was a standout.
Next up was a trip to the Sweet Amber Café in Semaphore for some delicious wood oven pizza and another beer from their range of craft beers. This was a good chance for the group to chat about the beers that had been tasted and get to know each other.
The last stop was another local success story, Big Shed Brewing in Royal Park. This time were presented with a paddle of beers. The Golden Stout Time (GST), with chocolate overtones was a definite favorite, followed by the Cherry Popper an 8.5% apple and cherry cider . The pork crackling, in both salted and chilli styles was a perfect accompaniment to the beer. This is a brewery that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With names like F Yeah and Kol Schisel it’s all about the beer.
For lovers of beer, this is a fun day out, especially for those wanted to learn more about our thriving craft beer industry. Definitely recommend getting a few mates together so you can compare notes after the event. Or create an account on UNTAPPD and rate the beers as you go.