Usually it’s about the wine in South Australia, or about beach life and hot weather. This was about beer, and barbecue- but not the throw-a-couple-of- snags-on-the-grill-in-your-backyard type. All the serious foodie trendies from Adelaide’s culinary renaissance were here- Nola (American style Bourbon bar), Africola (South African experimental bush food), Street ADL ( world street food reinvented with native ingredients), Jack Ruby (Prohibition speakeasy) and many more. Special guest was Rodney Scott from South Carolina (reputedly America’s best BBQist) whose commitment to the perfect cooking fire meant two days of preparation, before even a morsel could be served.
The beers included all of the current wave of local artisans- Pirate Life, Lobethal Bierhaus, Vale Ale, Smiling Samoyed to name a few ( that we tasted), plus international brands: Hoffbreu, Brewdog, Sierra Nevada and even Fullers with London Pride on tap.
Held aptly at the Royal Adelaide Agricultural Showground, the rural trappings, the cattle shed, the horse trough where you could rinse your mug, the open fire braziers for warmth added to the sense of rusticity of the event. And the beards. This was my first ever beer festival, and I noticed that beer people are not like wine people, or maybe it was because everyone was so rugged up against the cold.
But what was not to like? – hoppy, malty, fruity, chocolaty ales, pilsners, porters, stouts- charcoal flame cooking with quality ingredients by some top chefs, live music including the Americana rhythm and blues influenced Wasted Wanderers- and a dessert by chocolatier Steven ter Horst with matching beer, followed by a Fleurieu whisky chaser. Is it bad form to finish a beer festival with chocolate and whisky?