Prancing Pony Brewery

For a while, it seemed as though South Australia's beer scene was resistant to the change sweeping the rest of the country. Sure, it had a few well-established micros, was home to the country's largest independent brewer – the makers of craft beer before it was craft beer, Coopers – and could lay claim to one of the finest venues in the land in The Wheaty. But while new breweries and beer bars were seemingly opening every week elsewhere, progress seemed much slower in SA.

Then, in 2013, we noticed a quiet buzz: a number of new breweries were opening or in planning. That quiet buzz became a steadily building crescendo as growing numbers of home brewers decided to follow their dreams, winemakers decided to get serious about beer, and brewers from elsewhere began eyeing up the state as ripe for their attention.

In that first category was home brewer of 30 years Frank Samson who, alongside wife Corinna Steeb, opened the doors to Prancing Pony in the Adelaide Hills. Their original base in an industrial unit in Mount Barker combined brewery and venue in one, with the former effectively a massively scaled up version of the kit on which German expat Frank has been creating his home brews since the early 1980s. The kettle was heated by a giant flame burner rather than steam jackets with Frank believing this old school approach puts greater reliance on the skill of the brewer and allowed him to create greater caramelisation in his beers.

It's an approach that gave the brewery its battle cry as Australia's "favourite fire brewers". And also one that is doing their beers no harm at all as Prancing Pony's colourfully presented range has proved so popular that the brewery is in a seemingly constant state of expansion. What's more, they've picked up a few gongs along the way too, notably for their India Red Ale, the first beer to be released in their 500ml limited release Thoroughbred range. Meanwhile, their Pale Ale has been chosen for the beer list at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in Adelaide.

Indeed, following a move to a bigger venue in Totness in January 2015 where they have room for 120 guests, in 2016 they installed a new German made brewery to help cope with expansion. So out went the "fire brewed" of the labels and in came "long flavour".

The Prancing Pony name comes from the horse on Frank and Corinna's land (one of many, many animals they keep) he was watching through his brew shed window when trying to conjure a name for the brewing company; it's a nod to the inn in The Hobbit too. As for the venue, it's as colourful as their beers, with toy ponies peering out from a wall of beer cartons over a beer hall style setup augmented by separate dining / tasting room and outdoor seating that brightens up their industrial surrounds.

One could be tempted to imagine that a couple deciding to follow a dream and launch a brewing business after three decades in other careers (Frank was a physicist and chemical engineer; Corinna worked in medical science and then marketing for startups) might take things easy and treat it as a hobby. But, as the impressive speed with which Prancing Pony has become established and then grown, it's far from the reality here.

The Prancing Pony Brewery is 100 percent Australian owned and naturally, growing the business involves a dedicated team of individuals, including co-owners Paul Smith and wife Jessica. Paul, with his trademark ‘engine cap’, is largely responsible for the placement of the ponies in significant venues such as Jamie’s Italian and also loves taking pictures of food and venues, then peppering the pictures across a range of social media platforms. The team draws on significant business skills and right from the start had set their sight to grow the business.

Name
Prancing Pony Brewery
Address

42 Mt Barker Road
Totness
SA 5250

Phone
(08) 8398 3881
Website
Hours

From 17/4/15:
Mon to Thurs: 10am to 6pm
Fri & Sat: 10am to 10pm
Sunday: 10am to 8pm.

Plus an all-day menu seven days a week

Tours

By appointment

Current Crafty Cabal offers

Two Prancing Pony Paddles for One

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Prancing Pony Brewery Regulars

Prancing Pony Pagan's Empire Imperial Pale Ale

Tapped January 16th, 2017
To introduce Prancing Pony’s core range IPA, Pagan’s Empire, we need to wind back the clock. Back to a time when dogs were only just beginning to be domesticated, men would hit the paddocks to provide for the family and the women would stay at home and brew beer, among other things. Spelt and rye were common ingredients were typically unrefined compared to those we enjoy today. Not that we're saying Pagan’s Empire is unrefined; rather these old methods were the inspiration for the beer. Labelled… Read more
Style
Imperial Pale Ale
Strength
6.6%
Bitterness
60 IBU

Prancing Pony Hopwork Orange & Rusty Panzer

Tapped December 22nd, 2015
The final pairing of our catch up on the four limited releases to come out from Prancing Pony in recent months features their latest and one that takes inspiration from the brewery founders' mother country. Their latest is Hopwork Orange, the idea for which sprung from brewer Frank Samson's decision to add more than one easy drinking ale to his lineup, one a little fuller in flavour than a traditional summer quaffer. The Burgess / Kubrick referencing title first makes sense when it hits the glass:… Read more
Style
Pale Ale & Marzen
Strength
4.8% & 5.6%

Prancing Pony Sunshine Ale & Magic Carpet Midnight Ride

Tapped December 21st, 2015
The brewers at Prancing Pony, in the Adelaide Hills, have released a number of specialties throughout 2015. So, having received info and samples – and with a few days of the year left – we figured we really should get them listed on the site. There are four to come, with these the first two of them. Sometimes simple is better and that is exactly the case with the Sunshine Ale. Made from 100 percent pilsener malt and hopped up with only one hop variety, Citra – albeit at six stages in its development.… Read more
Style
Summer Ale & Imperial Stout
Strength
4.8% & 9.0%
Stockists

Prancing Pony Brewery

Select good beer venues on the East Coast

Prancing Pony Amber Ale

A beer that sits nicely in the middle of the Prancing Pony core range, this Amber is inspired by American ambers, so look out for resinous and citrusy hops balanced by some sweet, caramel malts. It is, they reckon, "the perfect ale to share with steak or hearty home-style cooked meals."… Read more
Style
American Amber
Strength
5.0%
Bitterness
33 IBU

Prancing Pony Black Ale

It's black and it's 6 percent in alcohol, so you may well be surprised when you put a glass of Prancing Pony's Black Ale to your lips as it's a light-bodied and rather easy-drinking affair. Designed to appeal "equally well to lovers of stouts, porters and dark ales" by the brewer, it's perhaps best thought of as having the colour of a stout, some of the dark malt flavours of a stout and porter and the light body and floral hops of a dark ale. There's a "late, lingering, moderate bitterness… Read more
Style
Black Ale
Strength
6.0%
Bitterness
35 IBU

Prancing Pony Thoroughbred India Red Ale

Tapped November 20th, 2013
The first beer to appear under the Prancing Pony special release range called Thoroughbred was also the first beer to start a buzz about the brewery among beer aficionados in their home state. The India Red Ale is a no-holds-barred beer that ramps up the malt profile (making full use of their much-loved "fire brewed" caramelisation) and the hops in equal measure. Frank's inspiration came from wanting to combine a New World IPA with an "American Imperial Double Red Ale" (trying… Read more
Strength
7.9%
Bitterness
60 IBU

Prancing Pony Blonde Ale

The brewery's entry level or "gateway" beer for newcomers to craft – or those who just prefer gentler flavours – is this Blonde Ale, a hazy, light golden yellow coloured beer inspired by the paler ales of Frank's homeland. It's hopped five times throughout the brewing process with German noble hops (the oldest hop varieties), which offer up soft and subtle floral aromas on a beer with a subdued malt profile that's designed for "quaffing all afternoon or at a BBQ".… Read more
Style
Blonde Ale
Strength
4.5%
Bitterness
25 IBU

Prancing Pony Pale Ale

Prancing Pony's take on the popular pale ale style inspired by the US is one that is closer to those from the States than most local interpretations in that it doesn't hold back on the alcohol content or hopping regime. On top of some soft malts are layered plenty of citrusy and earthy hops, hardly surprising when they "add a tonne of additional hops" late in the brewing schedule. For those who like to pair their beer with food, the brewers recommend pasta, chicken and Asian dishes.… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
5.5%
Bitterness
38 IBU

Prancing Pony Brewery Specials

Prancing Pony The Hunt for the Red Velvet

Tapped June 8th, 2017
It's far from unusual for brewers to create something dessert inspired for GABS. Often, they'll load a beer up with all manner of vanilla, coffee, cocoa, fruit – you name it – to achieve their goal. But, for their 2017 entry, Prancing Pony aimed to achieve something rich and fruity without using anything other than the core four of water, malt, hops and yeast. That said, The Hunt for Red Velvet does use two beers, being a blend of a fruity IPA and an imperial stout. The blend – tagged a black… Read more
Style
Black IPA
Strength
9.6%

Prancing Pony Hefeweizen

Tapped August 15th, 2016
The Hefeweizen is the second beer in what will become a seven strong "heritage range" of German inspired beers from Adelaide Hills micro Prancing Pony. The Ponies had always wanted a Weizen (wheat beer) in their range but never had the capacity to make it happen; however, with the arrival of new tanks and a new brewhouse in the middle of 2016, the hefe is finally here. It will be a seasonal release, designed for a hot summer days sitting in a beer garden in the sunshine. The beer is a… Read more
Style
Hefeweizen

Prancing Pony Achtung! Helles

Tapped August 15th, 2016
The German word "Achtung" is generally used as a warning or to obtain the attention of unsuspecting travellers. However, there's no danger to drinkers here as the beer bearing the name is already an award winner; Prancing Pony’s Achtung! Helles took out the best pilsener trophy at the Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider awards in 2016 before it had even been released to the public. Inspired by traditional Bavarian style lagers, this beer forms one part of the Prancing Pony’s heritage range.… Read more
Style
Lager
Strength
4.8%

Prancing Pony Imperial German Sledgehammer

Tapped July 4th, 2016
Originally brewed for GABS and to christen Prancing Pony's new 30 hectolitre, German made Braukon brewhouse, the Sledgehammer Imperial Pilsener is rumoured to have the ability to grow hair upon one’s upper lip. The idea came when Frank Sampson (head brewer) was twisting his own impressive moustache in thought; "A twist," he exclaimed... With that twist being to create a beer with a malt backbone similar to a Doppelbock (strong lager) style but the hop profile of an IPA. To assist in… Read more
Style
Imperial Pilsner
Strength
7.5%

Prancing Pony Thoroughbred Copper Ale

Tapped September 17th, 2014
When Frank and assistant brewer Benn Britten fancy doing something extra special, they pop it into their Thoroughbred range, which means the beer leaves the brewery in 500ml bottles and is usually a punchy affair. This Thoroughbred release takes its inspiration from the UK, with the brewers creating a copper-coloured ale (hence the name) styled like an English IPA. That means mild carbonation and, they tell us, an "assertive and lingering hop bitterness." They also describe it as "Invitingly… Read more
Style
English IPA
Strength
5.8%
Bitterness
52 IBU
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