Collision of outstanding craft beer, epic art and great food
Pirate life opened its new brewery at Port Adelaide in 2018. The large property consists of two converted three-storey heritage listed woolsheds. After just 5 months, the location went from cut concrete to full-scale operation. During this time, the Hindmarsh location was at maximum production with a mind-numbing 3.16 million litres being produced for the year.
The entrance to the brewery leads you through the outdoor courtyard area, which is scattered with picnic-style tables with giant shade umbrellas. The venue has an onsite food truck with meals by Chef Rocky Oliveira, available 7 days a week until 8pm. Some of the menu items include smaller bites such as Burrata with heirloom tomatoes and sourdough and Mushroom arancini with truffle aioli and fried whitebait. For something more substantial, the menu has spicy southern fried chicken partnered with pickles, coleslaw and ranch dressing and rare beef salad, snake beans, red onion, coriander, peanuts and Nuoc Cham - just to name a few of the amazing yet affordable items.
Pirate Life food truck with food by Rocky Oliveira
The tour begins with everyone getting safety ready with high-vis vests, helmets and safety glasses before heading behind the scenes. First up on the tour agenda is a comparison of the original Hindmarsh location manual brewery set up, which pales in comparison to the giant more automated new set up. It is astonishing that such a large scale production could have been achieved from the manual brewery. To reach their large quota towards the end of their time in Hindmarsh, brewers had to work seven days a week brewing 24 hours a day. Interestingly enough, the manual set up is still the preference of the brewers for the production of their IPA range as it gives them greater control at each stage of the process for this temperamental beer.
Next, the tour moves through the new more automated brewery. Everyone climbs the narrow metal staircase up the two-story height to get a view inside the tanks. The tour takes you through the brewing process, from mashing to lautering, boiling then fermentation. The tour passes the control room, then down the stairs and into the second woolshed. This shed is where the bottling and boxing takes place. Along the tour in this shed, you admire several graffiti murals. Pirate life is a sponsor of the Wonderwalls graffiti art festival in Port Adelaide and with the cancellation of the festival in 2020, they commissioned some artists to transform the walls in the distillery. The artwork truly is a sight to see and a great bonus to an already great tour.
The tour comes to an end passing a collection of barrels where a series of new barrel-aged projects are underway. You walk outside and past the giant peacock artwork on the brewery, a backing to some of the birthday party events held before COVID. At the completion of the tour, you select a schooner of your choice from the 24 taps behind the bar. Choices include the core range of Throwback IPA, Easy Ale, Lager, Tropical Pale, Acai Passionfruit sour, South Coast Pale Ale, OG Stout, Mosaic, IIPA, Stout, Pale and IPA. The limited release range is for those a little more adventurous. The main indoor area has an arcade corner, an onsite barber and a store full of all pirate life merchandise including caps, t-shirts, badges, jackets and even Burton collaboration pieces.
A beer not to be missed is the limited edition Barrel Aged Lime Gose. Brewed with pale malts using New Zealand hops along with a variety of ingredients, including Native Finger Lime, coriander seed and Murray River Pink Salt. After being brewed, this Gose spent two months aging in ex-chardonnay casks. The result is a beer with aromas of vanilla, citrus and almond. On the palate is a fresh lime acidity with a moreish salty tang that finishes with oaked chardonnay notes that slowly build perfectly complementing the sour start.
Pirate Life Barrel Aged Lime Gose
The tour is informative yet laidback and fun with a lot to see and learn.
Tickets are $20 per person for a fun and informative tour of the giant warehouse and is completed with an included schooner of your choice from the 24 taps on offer.