Brewing up a Kangaroo Island first

By Megan Voo

Mike Holden may not be born and bred on Kangaroo Island, but his connection to the region’s love of nature and all things handcrafted led him on his journey to opening the Island’s first microbrewery with a cellar door.

Kangaroo Island Brewery represents the values that many of its residents and visitors hold – an affinity for nature, sustainability, and community. Proprietors and owners Mike and Nina have been brewing up a storm at their hand-built brewery in Kingscote since April 2016. Over the past 12 months, they have slowly grown their business to a team of six passionate locals.

Mike is a builder by trade with a background in environmental studies, and credits his partner Nina for a great deal of the sustainable and ecologically friendly practices they have put in place.

“We both have an appreciation and understanding of the human footprint. When designing the brewery, it was important to be as sustainable as possible.” Mike says.

The brewery runs entirely off a solar system powered by lithium ion batteries, and collects rain water from its shed roof to make their beers. “It does mean that we work harder to produce a good beer, but we feel good about doing it.”

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The brewery was built almost entirely from recycled materials: the cellar door is made from parts of dismantled shearing sheds, the bar from old Oregon ceiling joists. Local limestone was pulled from the paddock to create ‘The Brewhouse’ and the cellar door is warmed by a Metters wood stove from the 1950s.

Mike has also just finished building an outdoor kitchen on the site, equipped with barbecues and a pizza oven. Knowing how well beer and food go together, the pair have built the kitchen with the intention of inviting local chefs and cooks to spend a day at the brewery making delicious food. “We just hope they have some beer drinking mates!” Mike says. Mike credited the locals for supporting their brewery over the last 12 months, and for spreading the word.

The brewery serves its beer in 1 litre ‘squealers’ and 2 litre ‘growlers’. “Bottling in large quantities requires a production line that we don’t have yet. We decided to bring in the reusable bottles for our customers to bring back and refill when they want to purchase beer. Better for us, the environment and the consumer’s pocket. They can walk away with a $22 craft beer six pack. Hard to beat that.” Mike says.

Kangaroo Island Brewery is open Friday through to Sunday all year, from pale to stout weather.

Top image courtesy of Kangaroo Island Brewery.

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