Top Aussie Wineries That Brew Beer Too
By: WineMarketDate: 02/07/2014
One of the classic sayings in the Australian winemaker world is ‘it takes a lot of beer to make great wine’, so it’s no surprise quite a number of Australian wineries spend a little time dabbling in the art of brewing. While most are content with micro-batches bottled into leftover long necks of Coopers Pale Ale, or similar, some have taken their beer making to much more lofty, serious levels.
The Australian wine industry has many stories of wineries intertwined with breweries, from historical wine producer, through to more recent forays into cider brewing and setting up experimental small batch breweries alongside wineries.
2. Pikes – Oakbank
Moorilla – Moo Brew
Eling Forest Winery – D Cider
Willoughby Park Winery – Boston Brewery
Saltram – Pepperjack Hand Crafted Ale
Knappstein Enterprise Winery and Brewery has an interesting back story, that sees a circle completed from 1850 through to 2006. The Clare Brewery in the Clare Valley of South Australia, first produced beer in the year 1850, and in 1878 brought in new partners to create ‘Enterprise Brewery’. A generation of beer brewing success came to an end in 1915 as local licensing limited pub hours, and so the first generation of Enterprise came to an end.
Fast-forward to 1969 and a young winemaker named Tim Knappstein established Enterprise Winery in honour of the original beer brand, and went to market with wines under the Enterprise label in 1974. Decades of excellent wine were released from Knappstein’s winemaking forays, but it was in 2006 that the Enterprise name was once again found on a beer bottle, with a microbrewery established by Knappstein winery.
The resulting beer is produced in a Bavarian lager style; fresh, lightly creamy with intense fruity aromas.
The Pikes winery in the Clare Valley is home to some of Australia’s great Rieslings and Shiraz, but harks back to a history in brewing that goes all the way back to 1878 and the original English Pike family who settled in Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Henry Pike established his home in the town of Oakbank, and created a brewing company in 1886 alongside his family. The original beers and soft drinks were popular in South Australia until the early 1970s, when the company was sold.
It took the fifth generation of Pike family in Henry, Neil and Andrew to bring back the Pike’s beer brand, with Pikes Oakbank Beer restablished in 1996. The Pike lads had created the Clare Valley winery in 1984, but long held the idea that brewing would also be part of their work.
The Pikes Oakbank range now boasts a Stout, a Pilsner Lager and an homage beer styled as a Sparkling Ale, not too dissimilar to the original Pikes’ recipe.
These days, the imposing and fantastic MONA Museum occupies the headland where the original brewery was located, though Moo Brew, the brewery established by the historical Moorilla winery, itself is relatively new to the estate.
Established in 2005, Moo Brew beers first rolled out to local venues, before taking Australia (and perhaps the world!) by storm. Early brewing efforts came in 2005, and have been encouraged by an expansion and enhancement of the existing brewery, to cope with the additional demand.
Brewing is done naturally, using malt, hops, yeast and water only, with no additives or preservatives in the beer-making process. Styles include Pilsner, Belgian Pale Ale, a German-inspired Hefeweizen, an American Pale Ale and an American Dark Ale, though smaller batch brews do surface seasonally too.
The impressive brewery is available for touring, and becomes a great addition for a visit to MONA and the adjacent Moorilla wines tasting room and Source restaurant.
Eling Forest Winery is a charming producer from the scenic Southern Highlands of New South Wales. A winemaker with knowhow and a will to brew decided that the addition of cider would be appropriate to the already interesting stable of wines - side project that grew bigger and better than first anticipated.
The cider is brewed from ‘local’ apples sourced from the cool reaches of Batlow in New South Wales. The apple source is non-traditional for ciders in using predominately Pink Lady Apples, but the added sweetness works well in this easy-drinking cider style.
The cider is juiced in the Batlow area, but is brought quickly to the Eling Forest facility to undergo its transformation to cider.
The Willoughby Park Winery in the far south of Western Australia, in the winemaking region of Great Southern, established their Boston Brewery in 2010 with the help of the talented brewer Fiona Geraty. Geraty came from the famed Sail & Anchor brewery in Perth, known as one of the first (if not first) microbreweries in Australia. Geraty took on the assistant brewer role, but was promoted to head brower after a year of working with the renowned beer producers.
Geraty has set about creating a small range of high quality micro brews, using only water, yeast, hops and malt, and producing beer in small batches in the Boston Brewery’s 600L capacity brewing facility.
The range includes Indian Pale Ale, Munich Dark Lager, Hefeweizen and a Premium Lager produced in an ‘Australian-style’. Willoughby Park under the guidance of Andries Mostert is also an increasingly interesting (and delicious) wine producer, to add to your ‘hit list’ of cellarable wines.
The traditional Barossa Valley producer of Saltram has gone left of centre here, with an intriguing beer brewed using Shiraz grape juice as the core ingredient. No, not April Fool’s Day, but a thoughtful approach to brewing that has resulted in a unique, very wine-orientated brew.
Barossa Valley Shiraz grapes are juiced and fermented to become this beer, which makes it a ‘fruitier’ style, that sort of sits near an Amber Ale on the scale of semi-sweetness and fruitiness. While the beer is brewed by Matilda Bay Brewery and not actually at the winery, it has been conceived by those working in and around the famous Saltram wine producer.