By Annette Shailer
Pikes Winery has opened a $1 million brewery in the Clare Valley under the direction of Brad Nolen, formerly of WA's Gage Roads Brewing Company.
Brewing is due to begin today, with the new tasting room to open in January. “We’re getting geared up right now,” said Andrew Pike (pictured), the winery’s director.
“We’ll probably start off with a pilsner and then follow up with a sparkling ale. It’s all happening here at the moment.”
The new facility to be overseen by Nolen includes a 2000-litre brewing system imported from Italy and a modern bottling plant.
“Brad is chomping at the bit to get started,” said Pike, whose family have been making wine in the Polish Hill River Estate sub region since 1984.
His English forbears ran the Oakbank Brewery in the Adelaide Hills for almost 90 years. More recently the family has produced a small range of beers under the Pikes name that were contract brewed at BrewPack in Sydney and Victoria’s Hargreaves Hill Brewing.
The opening of the Pikes brewery follows the recent establishment of Clare Valley Brewing Company by Jeanneret Wines.
Pike believes winemaking and brewing are complementary and he hopes the new brewhouse will attract more visitors to the Clare, a region which is known internationally for Riesling wines.
“I think the two things go hand in glove,” he said. “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.”
Apart from broadening the consumer experience at the winery, Pike says the new brewhouse will give the company more quality control, lift production and potentially allow Nolen to widen its current range of craft beers and ales.
“First and foremost we want to hone our existing products, but then we’ll look at doing some regular seasonal offerings,” Pike said. “It’s early days.”
From January 2015 Pikes Wines will be open for beer and wine tastings, seven days a week.