Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival, Adelaide, South Australia
If you’re in Adelaide this week, you’re going to be busy. Music, wine, beer and gourmet barbecues are jostling for space on an action-packed calendar.
By Simon Webster
Published: 28 July, 2017
It may be winter, but Adelaide is on fire this week. There’s a celebration of craft beer and gourmet barbecues, a red wine festival across the Adelaide Hills and two live-music festivals reaching their respective climaxes. There won’t be enough hours in the day to do everything, but you can always try…
A BARBIE THAT’S A CUT ABOVE
Having a beer at a barbie (aka barbecue) is not exactly an unusual activity in Australia, but the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival takes the idea and gives it horns. Forget your basic sausages and beer. This is Adelaide, and the food and drink is going to be top-notch.
More than 50 Australian and international beer and cider makers will be pouring their crafty wares at the city’s showground this weekend (28-30 July) and some leading chefs will be wielding the barbecue tools, serving up everything from game to slow-cooked, southern US-style ribs.
Larger-than-life Canadian TV chef Matty Matheson will be making his presence felt all weekend alongside the event’s food curator, Duncan Welgemoed of Adelaide’s African restaurant sensation, Africola. And who said you should never invite a vegan to a barbecue? OK, Shannon Martinez isn’t technically vegan, but she does run a vegan restaurant – Smith & Daughters in Melbourne – and will be cooking up her famous vegan brisket.
Live music will come from acts including Aussie indie legends Regurgitator, there will be DJs in the beer hall, a pinball alley and lots of fun and games.
A RADICAL IDEA: MORE GOOD BEER
The Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival takes place over four distinct sessions, starting with the Friday On My Mind session (including live music and the presentation of the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards) and culminating in the family-friendly Sunday Session (including a scary-sounding Dad-Bod Wet T-Shirt Contest). Beer aficionados will have their sights set on the second session of the festival. The Beer Geek session (Saturday 11am-5pm) includes masterclasses and Q&As with brewers, plus a Brewers Feud game in which beer lovers pit their wits against each other.
About 10,000 people attended last year’s festival and 15,000 are expected this year. Weekend passes are sold out, but you can still get tickets for individual sessions. The festival is the culmination of Rad Beer Week, a 10-day (21-30 July) celebration of all things beer in Adelaide, featuring events at pubs and bars including quizzes, banquets and live music.
WARM UP WITH A GLASS OF RED
Celebrations of beer are all well and good, but it wouldn’t be right to neglect wine on a visit to South Australia. Fortunately, the Winter Reds Weekend (28-30 July) in the Adelaide Hills offers ample opportunity to sit down and indulge in some vinous fulfilment.
More than 30 wineries are putting on day and night-time events. You and the family can warm up around a bonfire at Talunga Estate, learn to make paella with a glass of pinot noir in hand at a food and wine masterclass at Riposte Wines, or go all Viking at a Feast of Valhalla.
Some events are ticketed others are free. You can get around using the Winter Reds shuttle bus or with various tour operators. Alternatively, if you have a designated driver (a non-drinker) in your group, they’ll get a free soft drink at each venue.
ENJOY WINE, NATURALLY
The Adelaide Hills is an exciting wine region. “As well as being the breeding ground for many cutting-edge winemakers, the Adelaide Hills is renowned for its viticultural diversity,” says Nicole Roberts, executive officer of Adelaide Hills Wine Region. This is a cool-climate region and you can expect to taste excellent pinot noir and cool-climate-style shiraz on the Winter Reds Weekend, as well as more unusual varieties (and white wines such as chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, too).
“Natural”, or minimal-intervention wine is big around here. Its adherents experiment with “lo-fi” traditional methods, adding (or taking away) very little to the natural product. “It’s about letting the fruit speak for itself by manipulating it as little as possible in the winemaking process,” Roberts says. Non-interventional winemakers involved in the Winter Reds Weekend include Sam Scott & La Prova Wines and the biodynamically certified Ngeringa Vineyards.
While you’re in the area, you might also want to call in on Ochota Barrels, which makes highly acclaimed, cutting-edge natural wines and was listed in the Top 100 Wineries in the World in 2016 by Wine & Spirits Magazine in the US.
LISTEN TO SOME LIVE SOUNDS
As if there weren’t enough to keep you busy, a two-week celebration of live music reaches its crescendo this weekend. Umbrella Winter City Sounds (14-30 July) features everything from orchestras and choirs to hip-hop and punk, in venues all over Adelaide. Highlights over the closing few days include Scouted, a mini-festival featuring 15 unsigned South Australian acts over five stages on Friday; and the Sanctuary Festival, which closes proceedings on Sunday with music, yoga and good vibes.
And we’re not finished yet! This weekend is also the climax of the Guitars in Bars festival (14-30 July), which brings live guitar sounds to bars (and other guitar-friendly establishments) all across Adelaide and beyond. Check out some country pop with Emma Jayne at the Crown & Sceptre on Saturday night, or the Big Beanie Bash Fundraiser at the Grace Emily Hotel on Sunday. Hopefully you can have a lie-in on Monday. You’ll have earned it.
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