These days, beer lovers still tend to return from trips to the USA enthused by the beers they've sampled on their travels. But they also know they can lay their hands on some great local brews too. It wasn't always the case, however, as Denham D'Silva learned when he spent time Stateside studying and working as a merchant banker. When in the US he could sample an array of flavoursome craft beers; on his return to Oz it was the same old, same old. So he did what any sensible person would do: he started a brewery.
Originally opened in 2005 at the Chateau Yaldara winery, it later moved into its own home after Denham bought a beautiful old building on the edge of Tanunda that had previously been home to a restaurant. He erected a new building at the rear to house an impressive five vessel Bavarian Brewery Technologies brewhouse from California, fitted an eight tap bar inside the original home and his dream for Barossa Valley Brewing was complete.
Today, it's one of the most picturesque of all Aussie microbreweries to visit. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy their schooners and tasting paddles of beer or glasses of Barossa Valley wine in the shade of the trees on the lawn or on the deck completed in late 2013 that allows you to peer into the brewery as the brewer goes about his business.
Since the end of 2013, a number of brewers have worked at Barossa, including for a period James Collison, a successful home brewer who, just as Denham abandoned a career in high finance to start a brewery, turned his back on life as an engineer to brew beer. He did so under the guidance of brewing director Neal Cameron, head brewer at the Australian Brewery, and kicked off a new spate of experimenting at the brewery, even building a 100-litre pilot system to play around on so he doesn't always have to brew 1800 litres of whatever takes his fancy.
His successors now have a far larger brewery in which to play – as well as more toys. A new shed has been attached to the original brewery building as Denham adds a contracting side to the business.
It's not the only thing that was new in 2016, as Barossa Valley Brewing underwent a significant branding overhaul. Some beers were renamed, the labels were given a colourful new direction and, most significantly, the beers were packaged in cans instead of bottles.
Now year round, half a dozen Barossa Valley beers are always on tap at its Tanunda home alongside a non-alcoholic ginger beer and a locally-produced cider, while the kitchen serves up sharing plates designed with beer in mind. Given it's located in one of the country's foremost wine regions, there are regular beer vs wine dinners too. Not that there's rivalry with the local vintners; it's quite the opposite with joint projects, such as the Threesome beer-wine hybrid, frequently taking place. After all, they do say it takes a lot of beer to make a good wine.