Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, known for its grapes, vines, bike trails and Riesling. Thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world converge there every year to soak up the sunshine and indulge in some of the country’s best wines.
But, in recent years, the owners of the Clare Valley Brewing Co have been offering drinkers an alternative – challenging them to try one of their Valley brewed beers rather than another Riesling.
It was in August 2014 that the first keg of CVBC beer left the Clare Valley for Adelaide’s CBD, where it was rolled into the Gilbert Street Hotel and poured straight into punters’ glasses. Since then, CVBC has been building a reputation for producing beers that resonate with the burgeoning craft beer community, both close to home in SA and, on occasion, during forays interstate.
Having established a foothold in the industry and developed a core range of beers, owners Adrian Henshall and Ben Jeanneret then spent a year from the middle of 2015 transforming the business. Out went the more traditional, heritage look with which they’d launched and in came a more contemporary one.
The result is a core range of beers that’s evolved from those of the first two years: a rich and malty, crimson-hued Red Ale, an Australian style Pale Ale and the “dark and brooding” Extra Stout that is a luscious Crafty Pint favourite. Joining them is an evolving lineup of seasonal releases that has included harvest ales, a Red IPA, a Smoked Porter and a Port barrel-aged stout that debuted in 2016.
The brewery itself is located in Sevenhill on a block of land owned by its sibling label Jeanneret Wines. It’s a marriage of convenience that allows them to share resources, such as water from a natural aquifer located 90m underground on the property, while being just off the Riesling trail allows the CVBC team to quench the thirst of weary riders.
The 1,200 litre brewhouse is something of a rarity, being of Czechoslovakian origin and constructed from copper. Initially, the brewers had a mere 6,000 litres of fermenter space to fill but this had more than tripled within two years. A state of the art bottling line arrived in 2015.
The Clare Valley Brewing Company is one that’s keen to be part of its local community too, often helping support amateur brewer associations and other events. Along with a focus on using local ingredients where possible, it’s helped the business gain traction for beer in one of wine’s true heartlands.
This looks set to grow following the opening in the first half of 2018 of an impressive cellar door shared by CVBC and Jeanneret Wines that offers stunning views across their picturesque home grounds.