HomeFood + WinePushing the boundaries

Pushing the boundaries

The Hills has solidified its reputation as an award-winning premium cool climate wine region, but local producers are also thinking outside the box.

From deer antler liquor to cheesecake beer, Hills producers are pushing the boundaries and upturning all of our preconceptions about what wine, beer and spirits can be. Here are six local quirky creations you’ve just got to try!

New York Cheesecake
Now you can have your cake and drink it too!
Mismatch Brewing’s limited-edition New York Cheesecake white stout is an unexpected marriage between beer and one of the brew teams’ favourite desserts.
Like many great ideas, it all started over a beer when the Mismatch team was brainstorming for the GABS festival – a celebration of “out of the box” craft beer and cider.
In keeping with a good cheesecake, this brew gets its tang and creaminess from lemon puree (about 30kg worth!) and fresh vanilla beans (painstakingly cut and scraped by head brewer Tom Wood), while malt adds a biscuity element.
“We also threw in a bit of lactose to give it that full sweetness and body,” Tom says.
According to its maker, the New York Cheesecake is perfect for people who love dessert (who doesn’t?) and are interested in exploring just what beer can be. And we’re told it’s the perfect pairing for M&M cookies.
$125 for 16x500ml

It’s the origins of this all-Australian whisky that set it apart. In what winemaker and distiller Brendan Carter believes is a world first, Applewood’s Jarrah was made using entirely Australian components – right down to the jarrah barrels it matured in for four years. Created as an one-off statement on the beauty of Australia, the whisky used barley from Ngadjuri land north of Adelaide, was distilled on Peramangk land in the Adelaide Hills and matured in jarrah vats originating from an 1800s Barossa winery, thought to have previously held fortified wine. Brendan estimates the wood of the barrels to be
400–800 years old and it’s that wood that
gives Jarrah its unique flavour.
Eucalypt smokiness combines with a honied raisin character associated with the fortified wine to create a truly unique experience.
“It tastes like Australia,” Brendan says.
Applewood’s limited edition Jarrah didn’t come cheap, but the $500 price-tag didn’t stop it from flying off the shelves – all 100 bottles filled have been sold.

Move over orange juice – breakfast just got a whole lot more interesting!
Enter 78º Pastr(e)y – described by its makers as a “sort-of-like-whiskey-but-not-really” spirit that’s made using breakfast-favourite pastries like croissants, pain au chocolat and fruit danishes.
The pastries (98kg worth!) were added to the mash tun with whiskey grains and 20kg of butter and, according to the masterminds behind the spirit, the end result is like having a glass of whiskey alongside your breakfast pastry. “That chocolate character from the pain au chocolat is really picked up and then there are apricot danishes, so that fruity flavour comes through and the buttery flavour from the croissants,” spirits innovation manager Stuart Morrow said.
Born during the pandemic, Pastr(e)y was made using bakery items that would otherwise have been thrown away when SA’s first lockdown hit and businesses across the State were forced to close.

Hahndorf Hill’s Foundling Saint Laurent is the first in Australia and has been a long time coming. Imported in 2014, the Saint Laurent plant material spent a long two years in quarantine (sound familiar?!) before it was propagated into Hahndorf Hill’s vineyard and produced its first harvest in 2020. Known as the “daughter of Pinot Noir”, the exact origins of the variety are a bit of a mystery. But it’s thought to have originated in France and – just before it was wiped out by the great phylloxera outbreak – cuttings found their way to Austria’s Klosterneuburg Monastry. “This little baby arrived on the doorstep of the monestry and it was cared for and they later found out it was the daughter of princess Pinot Noir – so it’s got the whole mythology of the foundling child,” Hahndorf Hill co-owner Larry Jacobs says. It’s that journey that inspired the wine’s name. The first batch was bottled in 2021 and is tucked away in Hahndorf Hill’s cellar to age for a while longer, with a planned release at the end of summer … and we’re sure it will be worth the wait! $65

Botanical Blue Gin
You’re not seeing things – there’s a touch of magic in this gin!
Grünthal’s Botanical Blue Gin gets its vibrant colour from the blue butterfly pea flower … but the real show starts when
you add tonic. “It changes from a blue to
a purpley-pink,” Grünthal Brew co-founder Sheree Sullivan says.
While we prefer to think of it as the mysterious art of a magician, the real heroes are (spoiler alert!) anthocyanins –
a fancy name for the pigments responsible for the flowers’ blue colour which change depending on the acidity of the environment.
“The blue butterfly pea flower was used for a long time to make tea and the tea would change colour but it will only change if you add something acidic,” Sheree says.
An infusion of 11 botanicals, including cassia and orange peel, give this gin its flavour which, according to Sheree, pairs perfectly with a slice of dried orange.

Spirit of the Stag
Fit for a Viking warrior, the secret ingredient in this one-of-a-kind beverage is deer antlers – yes, you read that right!
Born during the pandemic as a spin-off of Adelaide Hills business Hahndorf Venison, John DeLaine’s 100 Years Spirit of the Stag has a mead base infused with extract from deer antler velvet. Deer velvet was revered by Tao masters for its anti-inflammatory, invigorating and … you guessed it … aphrodisiac properties. So it’s no surprise that they believed that consuming it was the secret to living a healthy life for 100 years.
With a flavour vaguely comparable to the German Jägermeister, 100 Years Spirit of the Stag has an aromatic and floral base, an infusion of unique mustiness from the deer velvet and a sweetness from the mead. And because deer drop their antlers every year and regrow them within 100 days, the animal’s welfare is at the forefront. “We don’t take the spirit, we borrow it,” John says.


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