Knappstein Enterprise Brewery
History has turned full circle for the Clare Valley’s Enterprise Brewery, which ceased beer-making operations in 1916, but was revived for its original purpose in 2006. In between time, this gorgeous sandstone building became home to Tim Knappstein’s winery during the 1970s which, in turn, was acquired by the Lion Nathan group in the late ’90s. The group’s crafty brewmaster Dr Chuck Hahn saw an opportunity to unite some of their wine and beer networks after he purchased the German-made brewhouse which had operated briefly as the Palatinat Brewery in Albury. A meeting between Dr Hahn and Knappstein head winemaker Paul Smith started the ball rolling but it was really a coming together of like-minded souls. ‘We’d often talked about how great it would be to put a brewery in here,’ Smith says. ‘You sense the wonderful history of the place.’ The attractive copper brewhouse was installed in a former wine storeroom, while the various fermenters, conditioning tanks and bottling line have replaced the winemaking equipment, which has been relocated elsewhere in the Clare Valley. Current Knappstein head winemaker Julian Langworthy still has his office in the Enterprise building and oversees brewing operations (though winemaking is still his primary role), with technical assistance from Dr Hahn’s Malt Shovel Brewery. Of course, winemakers are known to enjoy a beer or three, particularly around the hectic vintage period and microbreweries had already started to pop up in established wine regions like the Margaret River, Swan Valley and Yarra Valley.
The sole brew is a complex, full-flavoured lager with lifted tropical fruit characters, considerable bitterness and an elevated alcohol level.
Knappstein Reserve Lager
Behind the Label
The minimalist wrap-around label features winemaker/ brewer’s comments and reinforces the marriage of grain and grape inspirations. This was Australia’s first beer named after a high-profile wine brand (Pepperjack Handcrafted Ale followed soon afterwards) and it appeals as the beery equivalent, perhaps, of a Clare Valley riesling. Significantly, it features Nelson Sauvin, a relatively new New Zealand strain of hops that is so named because of flavour similarities to Marlborough sauvignon blanc wine.
2 Pioneer Avenue, Clare 5453 Tours by appointment; takeaway sales
- The Steam Exchange Company
- Coopers Brewery
- South Australian Brewing Company
- Adelaide Hills Craft Brewing