A flourish of breweries, taphouses and distilleries emerge, creating a new taste sensation of hops and botanicals across the region.
There is an air of excitement and vibrancy within the burgeoning beverage scene, particularly amongst those who have a nose for hops and botanicals. Indulge your palate with some of the newest spirits and craft beers produced in the region.
“It is great to offer an alternative to wine,” says Rowland Short, winemaker, distiller and co-owner of Settlers Spirits in McLaren Vale. “Spirits are a fantastic way to refresh your palate and deliver a different tasting experience.”
There’s a collection of innovators in beer and spirits adding an exciting, eclectic mix of drops to sip and swirl.
GOODIESON BREWERY, McLaren Vale
One of the first beer cellar doors in the region, Goodieson’s not only make delicious, unique brews, but the views from the tasting room are spectacular. Taste their flagship range, or any other special brews available at the time, where the brewing and bottling occur before your eyes. Alternatively, you can enjoy a pint on the vine-covered deck. Goodieson’s is child and dog-friendly too.
SOUTH COAST BREWING CO, Willunga
This relaxed micro-brewery is made for sampling a pint fresh from the keg and migrating to the fire, or beer garden in the warmer months. “For us, it was about creating a space where we would like to drink beer,” says Dan Duke, one of the South Coast team. “It’s a relaxed vibe and has a nice family atmosphere.” Sample one of their coast-themed beers, including the Southern Session Ale, the Porties Pale (more traditional) and the Maslin’s Red Ale. They’ve partnered with Willunga pizzeria Redwood Oven too, so you won’t go hungry.
SETTLERS SPIRITS, McLaren Vale
Rowland and Shelley Short have the region’s largest selection of spirits, including ten gins, whisky and a range of rums, liqueurs and vodka. “We have just released a McLaren Vale shiraz gin,” says Rowland. “We make the gin and add our own estate grown Maximus shiraz, so it’s the colour of shiraz. The flavour combines spice and a rich berry flavour, with a hint of juniper.”
SHIFTY LIZARD, Willunga
The newly opened Shifty Lizard is a craft brewery and taphouse on High Street. “The region is a perfect fit for us,” brewer and co-owner Lee Stone says. “There’s a growing beverage scene and with more breweries emerging, we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.” They offer tasting paddles, as well as pints and schooners of all their beers including the Pale Ale – a local favourite. Make sure to try what’s new on tap – keep an eye out for their Russian imperial stout soaked in shiraz barrels.
VICTOR’S PLACE, Old Noarlunga
One of the newest breweries on the block, Victor’s Place is also a winery and kitchen. The concept was created by a group of talented industry veterans who have each worked at a variety of local wineries and restaurants. Now, they’ve come together to bring top beer, wine and food to Old Noarlunga. “Everything is made on the premises,” says co-owner Kathrin Dressler. “We’ve transformed an old heritage listed barn from 1870 with views of Onkaparinga Gorge.”
VALE BREWING, McLaren Vale
Beresford Estate has become the new home of Vale Brewing. The full range can be enjoyed through their new tasting experiences, so you can try the well-known local ales before you buy. A couple of brews to look out for include the American ‘Amber’ Larger and Australian Pale.
Try these local hot spots too:
- McLaren Vale Distillery – gin and whisky cellar door
- Ekhidna Wines – iconic ginger beer
- Maxwell Wines – try their house-made mead
- Salopian Inn – dedicated gin bar and their very own gin
- Swell Brewery – cold beers, a delicious menu and plenty of space
- Never Never Distilling, Chalk Hill Wines – coming soon
Master the art of making your own gin. Settlers Spirits offer whisky and gin masterclasses, where you are shown the tricks of the trade – you even take a little something home for yourself too. “During the two-hour gin masterclass, we show you the botanicals we use and help you create three or four of your own gin recipes. As a memento of your experience, you take home a bottle of your favourite. We have a lot of fun here,” says co-owner Rowland Short. Bookings are recommended, particularly with groups.