SA’s booze industry is becoming more and more dynamic. With craft beer now so entrenched it rivals the mass producers, the formidable re-birth of spirits, and our diversifying wine scene, it can be hard to keep track of it all. As the cold sets in, we look at some exciting new releases to knock back, fireside, this winter.
Mismatch Brewing Co.’s Chocolate Stout
Few things say winter like a stout. Local brewer Mismatch has just released a timely limited-edition Chocolate Stout made with single-origin cacao nibs from Red Cacao Chocolatier. Head brewer Ewan Brewerton hand-roasted the 50 kilograms of cacao nibs in his oven at home. To taste, it’s all about coffee, dark chocolate and toasty malts. “The chocolate really comes into its own at around 6 to 8 degrees,” says Brewerton. Not as overt as some dark brews, it’s a perfect “session ale” kind of stout to see you through a winter evening. Find it at Stirling Cellars, Sturt Street Cellars and West Beach Cellars.
Applewood Distillery's Gin of Death
After releasing its green-ant gin earlier this year, Applewood Distillery continues to build a reputation for making wild and inventive spirits. In celebration of the winter solstice, the Gumeracha distillery has released a limited-edition Gin of Death, coloured dark red from a dash of fermented grapes. Its complex and lengthy botanicals list includes juniper berries, coriander seed, black cardamom, charred orange peel, charred French Oak, cocoa nibs, native pepperberries, roasted almonds and more. Try it with some good quality tonic, dried orange and star anise. Pick up a bottle online or at Ochre Nation.
Brash Higgins's 2016 Nero D’Avola
Fermented in 200-litre bees-wax-lined clay amphora, this McLaren Vale Nero D’Avola is the perfect companion for your winter pizza. Winemaker Brad Hickey was the first to produce Nero D’Avola, a Sicilian varietal, in McLaren Vale and has done so with aplomb. Ridiculously aromatic and exotic, you can expect notes of lavender, orange peel and red cherry. It’s not a full-bodied wine, but it doesn’t lack in the intensity or depth needed to tackle the cold winter months. Pick a bottle up at the Henry Austin or direct.
Pirate Life x Ballast Point's Trans Pacific Partnership
Pirate Life has made a big impact on both the local and national beer scene, but its roots go back to the west coast of America, where the craft beer movement began. So when Pirate Life heard that California brewer and industry trailblazer Ballast Point liked its IPA, a collaboration was born. The 6 per cent American Strong Pale Ale is made with US, NZ and Australian hops and finished with finger limes and coriander. It won’t be around for long, so add it to your winter bucket list. Currently on tap at the Kings Head Hotel, Gilbert Street Hotel, Royal Oak Hotel, Wheatsheaf Hotel and Benjamin On Franklin.
Sherrah's 2016 Shiraz
Alex Sherrah’s wines under his own name are about as new as they come. The McLaren Vale winemaker is better known for his wines under the Coriole label. His 2016 shiraz is from a single vineyard in Tatachilla, just a couple kilometres from the coast. It’s the perfect winter drink with notes of plum, mulberry, Dutch liquorice and dark spice. Find it at The Salopian Inn and The Victory Hotel or direct online.