Quaffers: Pikes dives into grain

Chris Shanahan

Popular Clare Valley winemaker, Pikes, expects to open a brewery alongside its wine cellars in December.

Alister Pike, son of found founder Andrew Pike, says the family expects to complete the new building on schedule and already has most of the brewing equipment warehoused in Victoria.

A recently hired brewer, due to join Pikes in October, will have three existing recipes at hand when he starts. Pikes currently offers contract-brewed ale, stout and pilsener under the Pikes Oakbank label – launched by brothers Andrew and Neil in 1996.

Alister Pike says the beer is to be rebadged as "Pikes Beer Company" and the word "Oakbank" is to be removed. Oakbank is the name of a town in the Adelaide Hills where a Pike ancestor settled in the 19th century.

Pikes Beer Company will join two other brewers in the Clare Valley: Clare Valley Brewing Company and Knappstein, belonging to Lion.

Blue Moon Brewing Co Belgian White
330ml $3.99

Coca-Cola Amatil imports Blue Moon from Coors Brewing Company, a division of Canadian Molson Coors Brewing Company. The pale lemon colour, cloudy appearance and sturdy white head are all consistent with the Belgian wheat style. It is, perhaps a little rounder and less refeshing acidic than Hoegaarden (the original), with a more obvious orange flavour.

Pikes Beer Company Sparkling Ale
330ml $4.25

In 1996 winemaking brothers Neil and Andrew Pike introduced contract-made beer under their label. Their Sparkling Ale is made by Hargreaves Hill Brewing Co, Victoria. The ale is a full-bodied, malty and fruity style. A big but not overwhelming dollop of hops offsets the malt sweetness and provides a lingering, bitter finish.