Pirate Life

Pirate Life Brewing’s story is one of real adventure, of travelling great distance in search of their life goal: to one day own a brewery. It's a tale that begins in the land of the kilt: Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where the two young brewers, Jack Cameron and Jared "Red" Proudfoot, met and honed their brewing skills through apprenticeships for craft beer powerhouse BrewDog.

Here, in the bitter cold of Scotland’s icy winters, the idea of one day running a successful craft brewery in Australia was spawned. Jack and Red worked together, studied together, lived together and drank together, always dreaming of the light at the end of the tunnel (or, perhaps, just for the sun to come out). It seemed that craft beer ran in the family’s blood as Michael Cameron, Jack’s father and now CEO of the company, was also an employee at BrewDog, building their first bar in Aberdeen among other things.

With an increased knowledge of brewing in their heads and a drive to create their own craft beer brewery, the lads jumped on a plane back to Western Australia to make it all happen. To complete this quest properly, it wasn’t going to happen overnight and many hours of planning were needed to start the barrel rolling. So Jack accepted a job at Little Creatures in Fremantle where he continued to learn new brewing techniques and methods. Red followed a similar pathway, helping establish the Cheeky Monkey Brewery in the Margaret River region.

Meanwhile, in the background, witnessing the lads' passion and drive for crafting great beer, Michael began accumulating funds to make the dream come true. An opportunity at an already established brewery arose in the Barossa Valley but, after deciding this wasn't for them, the Pirate Life folk explored Adelaide and fell in love: with the culture, the bar life, the festivals and the city itself.

After visiting multiple properties, the right building was finally found in December 2014 in the bustling suburb of Hindmarsh, the place that Pirate Life Brewing now call home. All that remained was the drive from WA, across the Nullarbor Plain, and into their new home.

The brewery they've built in Hindmarsh is set in a giant tin shed, which was custom designed to suit all things beer. With a 2,500 litre brewhouse at one end plus four 5,000 litre fermenters, two 2,500 litre fermenters, a small lab and a canning machine. Yes, that’s right: a canning line because Pirate Life Brewing are strong believers in the humble tinnie. In fact, so devoted are they to beer in canned form they've cleverly displayed their entire brewing process around the rim, complete with the malts and hops that are used, all the way through to the recycling process.

The core range of beers was first released by the boys in March 2015: the Throwback Session IPA; a Pale Ale at 5.4 percent; and a big hoppy Double IPA at 8.8 percent. The first two come in 355ml vessels and the latter in a giant 500ml tin: a big vessel for a big beer. To complement the core range, seasonal and limited release beers will also find their way into the drinker’s hand.

But what of the name Pirate Life?

"We believe we live our life just like a pirate would, we are care free, relaxed and brew what we want to,” says Jack.

It's the same attitude Jack and Red will be using for their brewing: not conforming to any trends but instead concentrating on making what they know tastes best. With experience and knowledge beyond their years under their belts, it's clear they set sail in Adelaide with a clear direction on where they want to take their beers and their brewery. And the SA scene will no doubt be grateful for their bounty.

Matt King

Pirate Life

89 South Road
SA 5007

(08) 8340 1447

Pirate Life Regulars

Pirate Life Hopco NZ Pale

Tapped February 10th, 2016
In their short lifetime, Pirate Life has managed to squeeze in a fair few collabs: with venues, with the Hilltop Hoods' record label, with a guy that makes beard oil. But perhaps their smartest is this one with Hopco, the Tasmania-based hop supplier. Why? When the world's brewers are undergoing frequent hop shortages, it can't hurt to have a supplier's name on one of your cans. The beer itself is one that makes sole use of New Zealand hops: NZ Cascade, Motueka and Pacifica. They combine to create ··· Read more
NZ Pale Ale

Pirate Life IPA

Tapped April 15th, 2016
Given they opened their account with a session IPA, pale ale and imperial IPA, it was surely only a matter of time before Pirate Life added an IPA to their lineup. And, given how good all three of their previous hoppy releases were, it was surely a given that the IPA would be delicious when it arrived. And so it proved. In a slight sideways step from the previous three, they added a Kiwi hop variety alongside some of their favoured US hops and, at least up front, it's the Riwaka that grabs your attention, ··· Read more

Pirate Life IIPA

Normally, when a brewery releases a beer that's bigger than the others in its range you might expect them to package it in something smaller than the rest. Not Pirate Life. The third beer in their core range to be released is comfortably the biggest: an imperial IPA weighing in at 8.8 percent ABV. And, while the session IPA and Pale Ale appear in 355ml cans, this bad boy gets the 500ml treatment, making it a beer to approach with care. And, it should be said, more than a little excitement if you're ··· Read more
Imperial IPA
120 IBU

Pirate Life Pale Ale

For their take on the pale ale style, the Pirate Life boys plant their flag firmly on the West Coast of the USA, one of many places the boss, Mick, spent time working in the beer world before helping get Pirate Life up and running. Given the comments of some when we attended their Melbourne launch, it would seem they've done a pretty good job; "If this had been pouring at Alesmith when I was there, it would have been the pick of their beers," was the view of one admiration-filled punter. While ··· Read more
Pale Ale
50 IBU

Pirate Life Throwback IPA

Tapped March 20th, 2015
There's been much debate about the term "session IPA" in the beer world. It seems that a lot of people get rather hot and bothered about what it means, whether it has any validity or is just a marketing swizz, and that the cause of humanity would be advanced if the two words were never uttered in unison ever again. Seems to us there are more pressing matters to get worked up about but if we were to just assume that session IPA is here to stay as a descriptor then what should it be? We'd ··· Read more
Session IPA
35 IBU

Pirate Life Specials

Pirate Life Stout

Tapped July 14th, 2016
They may have made their name – and, boy, how they've done that – by displaying a knack for creating delicious hop forward beers, but there's plenty more in the Pirate Life locker. Last winter, they played around with a stout and a brown ale, released in small amounts and on limited taps, and now the Stout is back, still draught only but with more of it (and, potentially, plans for it to appear in their award-winningly distinctive cans a year hence). It's tagged an Export Stout, thus bigger than ··· Read more
Export Stout


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