Origin – Australia. SA
Home of the famous Penfolds Grange (or infamous if you’re a certain former Premier of NSW!), for well over a century now South Australia has been known in drinking circles for its wine growing pedigree. Even with Australian’s biggest family-owned brewer, Coopers, calling Adelaide home, beer hardly got a second glance. However, in the past few years all that’s begun to rapidly change, with the likes of Pirate Life, Barossa Valley Brewing, Vale Ale, Swell, Lobethal Bierhaus, Prancing Pony and Pikes, just to a few of the amazing craft brewers that have put the state of the map for Australian hop heads and SA’s bohemians alike. However, unlike many of SA’s new craft beer start-ups, the foundation stone of Pikes Beer Co. was first laid in 1886 by Henry Pike, who 8 years prior had set sail from Dorset, England, bound for Australia and the new life it offered. Old Henry, a jack of all trades, worked as a carpenter and even tried his hand at undertaking before buying land in Oakland and opening a brewhouse. History has it that old mate had learned about brewing from his mother when he was just a boy as she believed it would be a handy skill later in life- clearly, I’m failing my children and crippling their future by letting them loose on the iPad rather than the homebrew kit! However, after 87 years and several generations, and the once-booming beer house hit the skids and the doors were closed. Although fourth generation Edgar Pike jumped back into the drinks business forming Pike’s Wines in 1984, it wasn’t until 1996 that the lineage of beer was once again kick-started, first through the contract brewing of the Pikes brand by Edgar and his sons, before finally in 2014 bringing the family business back to its spiritual home in the Clare Valley with the establishment of a microbrewery alongside the wineries cellar door. The brewing tradition has also been re-established first hand with Alister Pike on board as an assistant brewer to Brad Nolen, formerly of Gage Roads in WA. And from a traditional beer brewing family comes a traditional European inspired pilsener. She pours a light amber colour, with a nose characterised by a gentle herbal hop aromatic. On the palate, there’s enough to be interesting without being overpowering, with citrus, fruity notes and a touch of malt. In a true sessional style, it finishes clean and crisp with just a hint of bitterness. It’s no Grange, and you’re not likely to remember this bottle in 65 years any more than Barry remembered his ’59, but it’s a quality thirst quencher nevertheless.