Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Published January 24th 2017
South Australia may be known as the state of wines but with the advent of recent breweries, their beer culture has stepped up its game. One such notable brewery is Prancing Pony. Sure, there are a number of breweries scattered around Adelaide and South Australia, but what makes the Prancing Pony stand out is their unique sense of personality and character that resonates through their beer, their brewery, and their staff, who seemed to fit right in. The essence of the beer peaks with freshness and aroma and with a generous selection, there's a flavour to please everyone's palate.
Owners Frank Samson and Corinna Steeb have established their business successfully by incorporating the simplistic ingredients simply malted grain, hops, yeast and water along with one charismatic bonus that makes Prancing Pony stand out:the brewer's skill.
Now, it should be noted that I am not a big beer drinker. In fact, I've never really liked the taste of beer, but I have been told about how it is an acquired taste. So, as part of being on holidays, a bunch of friends and myself decided to make our way to the well-known brewery this past weekend. Upon calling the brewery to book a tour (about a week in advance), we were able to nab the last remaining spot - 10am on a Saturday morning.
Upon arriving in the faraway yet beautiful Adelaide Hills bright and early, we were greeted by a friendly face (Grant), who welcomed us into the brewery. Decorated in mismatched furniture, there is a really homey and cozy atmosphere that almost resembles a rodeo club in Texas. The space follows the trend of working with traditional industrial elements, which add a sense of perky modernity through their shiny brewing tanks.
What really impressed us was that the business was super transparent, with their brewery taking up a generous portion of the space, followed by relaxed indoor seating (capacity: 120 customers) with the bar and merchandise section.
If you pick the right day, you might even be able to enjoy a couple of brews out in the sunshine in their spacious beer garden (capacity: 60 customers).
There are a bunch of options to make the most out of your visit to the Prancing Pony, so we opted for the $35 deal per person, which entitles customers to a tour of the brewery, a guided tasting of six beers, and a regional platter of nibbles (cheese, dips, and meat). It's a pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.
While my friends had been to breweries before, this was my first time visiting one. The tour was short but gave us a comprehensive overview of the process of beer-making. It was interesting to hear about how owners (and power couple) Frank Samson and Corinna Steeb decided to bring their home-brewing skills and add some magic to the beer culture of South Australia by specializing in small batch craft brewing, which gives their beer the extra long malt flavour.
Accompanying our beer tastings were three platters - one with meat, another with cheese, and another with a trio of dips - all of which were brought out cleverly to complement the beers being tasted at the time. Our guide (Sarah) was very knowledgeable and provided us with great insights on the process that went into making each type of beer. It's also a social event where friends around the table and the guide join in on having a conversation together about what makes the beers different from your typical "beer on tap".
One of the main reasons why I am all for supporting businesses like Prancing Pony is that their beer is made from 100% Australian produce and they use components of local (South Australian) produce as well. What's even better is that the success of Prancing Pony has landed their delicious drinks in about 350 locations around Australia - the list of locations can be found through their search portal here.
The location of Prancing Pony offers customers a plethora of options that make escaping the metropolitan area well worth it. Hahndorf is a 10 minute bus ride away, while the brewery is surrounded by some enticing local businesses such as Buzz Honey, Beerenberg Farm, and the gorgeous hilly suburbs of Hahndorf and Stirling (which are all within a 10-20 minute driving radius).
The brewery comes equipped with a licensed Cellar Door and group tours of 8-25 people are welcome to experience the beautiful flavours of the beers made here. Given their popularity, it is best to make a booking prior to your visit so that you can be enveloped in the grand experience of learning about the process of making beer, in addition to its history, and of course, tasting the beer.
Delicious platters and main course meals are available, all made from locally sourced ingredients. Summer would be a prime time to visit the brewery, so if you're keen to check out and support a local business such as Prancing Pony, book online here and drink responsibly (and remember to have fun).