Local southern beer companies give wine a run for its money

Ready to pour: They guys from South Coast Brewing Co. have their doors open and are ready for a great summer of beer drinking.
Ready to pour: They guys from South Coast Brewing Co. have their doors open and are ready for a great summer of beer drinking.

The southern region of Adelaide (most notably McLaren Vale) has been producing wine for 180 years now and without a doubt it has reached a world renown level, but now local southern beers are starting to shine through the wine-haze.

Around the region there are a number of breweries which On the Coast was able to track down, South Coast Brewery, Vale Brewing (now owned by Bickfords), Swell Brewing Co., Smiling Samoyed Brewery, Shifty Lizard and Forktree Brewing.

One of the newest brewing companies in the area: South Coast Brewing Co. is already enjoying the success of the location.

Daniel Duke from South Coast Brewing Co. said they had only been opened for a number of weeks but was pleased with the support they have received from both locals and from those around the state.

“It (the brewery) came to life in the area when head brewer Scott Zrna moved from Mildura to the southern region of Adelaide.”

Regarding why the area was starting to produce such popular beer Daniel said it is a mixture of coastline, and that the region offers a bit of everything for everyone.  

Each of the local breweries mentioned above brew their own beers and most offer a core range and seasonal range, Daniel said that their beers take between 3 – 6 weeks to brew.

“Demand is definitely there, it’s just  a matter of us being able to supply it which is awesome.”

A little older than South Coast and located in Willunga, is Shifty Lizard.

Originally the company began in Aberfoyle Park where the two owners Danny and Lee grew up, quickly gaining popularity they realised they would need a larger area and began to look for a new homebase.

Co-owner and illustrator of the company Danny Strapps said that when they came across the old butcher shop in Willunga it was perfect, with its cold-storage area, large shop front and location.

Danny said the location was important because it gave them an opportunity to bounce off the thriving wine industry.

“Because of the way people come and taste wine, we wanted people to come and do the same thing, to try (taste) and enjoy the beers rather than just smashing them back.” 

“The butcher shop front allows this which and means we can always have an intimate chat with customers.”

Shifty Lizard will look to host a party during the 2019 Tour Down Under to celebrate the first anniversary of their Willunga location.  

While South Coast Brewing Co. and Shifty Lizard are relatively new to the scene, Goodieson Brewery has been operating now for eight years and in that time have both established themselves as a strong company in McLaren Vale and earned the respect of Adelaide's beer drinking community.

When On the Coast asked the Adelaide Beer Drinkers Facebook group’s 2700+ members about beers from the south, Goodieson was voted as the overwhelming favourite with comments like:

Dion Hayman: “Competition growing but Goodiesons no. 1 IMHO,” (In my honest opinion).

Adrian Graves: “Goodieson hands down. Every other brewery has produced a beer at some stage with faults, but not Goodieson. Always clean right from day one.”​

Beer drinker and group moderator Scott Eaton named two beers at Goodieson brewery to try:

“Their Cherry Saison is ridiculously good! Coffee Stout is beautiful too.”