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July 4, 2024

Wheaty Brewing Corps celebrates 10th birthday with five new beers

The brewing arm of an iconic Thebby pub is saying cheers to 10 years, so CityMag paid a visit to publican Jade Flavell to look back on the frothy journey and learn about the new pours.

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  • Words and pictures: Helen Karakulak

When Jade Flavell, Liz O’Dea and the late Emily Trott bought the Wheatsheaf Hotel in 2002 – a deal with financials scribbled on a napkin and sealed with a handshake – the pub had two taps.


Wheaty Brewing Corps 10th Birthday
Sunday, July 7 from 2pm
39 George St, Thebarton SA 5031


When they opened in 2003, they upped it to six taps and were one of the first beer specialist pubs in Australia.

“In the early days it was a case of effectively stalking breweries that I rated their beer,” Jade says.

“I said ‘hey, do you want to sell here?’ and they were like, ‘who are you, what’s the Wheatsheaf… where’s Adelaide?

“And then after a while, we gained a reputation for looking after the beer, taking it seriously and looking after it well because we knew that if the beer was good enough, people will take to it.”

The Wheatsheaf – affectionately known as the Wheaty – was the first pub outside of WA to pour Little Creatures on tap regularly, and was a focal point for SA craft beer, launching beers like Shapeshifter and Little Bang Brewing.

“We had a lot of fun sourcing beer from all over the world, all over the country, to pour on our taps, and we literally poured thousands and thousands of beers over that period,” Jade says.

“But the goal was always to brew our own and to basically walk the talk.”

Where the magic happens

In 2014, they did just that, launching Wheaty Brewing Corps, where everything is made in-house, squeezed onto their suburban block in Thebarton.

“The important part was doing it in our own way with whoever we want to do it with, whenever we want to do it,” Jade says.

As a result of the Covid pandemic, you can get Wheaty Brews in cans, but they’re best enjoyed poured from one of the Wheaty’s now 14 taps.

“For a long time there’s been a bit of a pissing contest with taps and it’s like the more you have the more dedicated to beer you are but it ignores the basic premise that as a beer drinker, you want to be drinking fresh beer,” Jade says.

“Keep it fresh, so small batch, high turnover and that’s the same ethos that we brought to the brewery as well: small batch, super fresh, high turnover rather than brewing a lot of stuff once and sitting on it for the next 12 to 18 months.”

Their canning machine is their insurance policy.

Over 10 years, Jade says they’ve seen plenty of changes to the industry, but collaboration with other brewers and suppliers is at the heart of what they brew.

“We’ve brewed with brewers from all over the world and country, with suppliers like Gladfield [malt], there’s a local liquid yeast company Ferveo… that’s been a really exciting development is that the breadth and the quality of suppliers available to us has increased exponentially,” she says.

“We’ve got really good, world-class quality yeast and it’s local… local hops have gone from strength to strength, so we have some independent hop growers now in Australia,” she says.

“We’ve been lucky enough to run trial batches of a lot of hops, both from New Zealand and Australia so that’s, you know, kid in the candy shop kind of stuff as a brewer, you get to play with stuff that’s not commercially available yet and give your feedback.

“Brewing is such a fast-moving industry like there’s always new research, there are new ingredients every week, there’s a new technique, new research on new techniques, you’re always having to keep up with this stuff, which I love.”

Jade says the quality of ingredients has generally improved over time, as has the knowledge and experience of drinking craft beer.

“It’s just become a hell of a lot more competitive,” Jade says.

“We see that the better that the independent brewers get, it’s a rising tide lifts all boats… the better beer that we’re all making, the better it is for all of us.

“The last thing we want is for someone to try their first indie beer or their first craft beer and it’s terrible and then that scares them off trying down the track and early on there was some terrible beers, there are still a few terrible beers, but they’re few and far between now.”

Rolling Naples is one of the Wheaty’s regular food trucks, their method of feeding punters instead of having a pub kitchen.

The beeping sounds of Rolling Naples food truck reversing into its spot out front of the Wheaty drones behind us as Jade tells CityMag of the Wheaty’s reputation as an “incubator”.

While in the early days, they were “dragging people kicking and screaming into craft beer” they became an incubator for breweries, as well as original live music and food trucks.

“That’s our role, rather than trying to do everything and scale up repeatedly, we see ourselves as incubators, a lot of people that have worked at the Wheaty have gone on to open their own businesses, open their own bars, become brewers,” she says.

Rolling Naples will be on hand this Sunday to serve up pizzas in celebration of Wheaty Brewing Corps 10th birthday.

There’ll be live music by the band Explosioning from 4:30pm and five new beers to enjoy while you listen.

What to expect from the new pours

Labels for four of the five new beers. This picture: supplied

Zwickel 5.1% – Unfiltered German Pils

“Zwickel is effectively an unfiltered traditional German beer, so you take whatever style it is and in our case, it’s a German Pilsner, and it’s an unfiltered version of that German Pilsner.

“It’ll be a nice bright, clean beer but it’s otherwise traditional. We use Gladfield Pilsner malt, Ferveo yeast. It’s clean, it’s crisp, it’s dry, smashable, lagered for three months, so a lovely, easy drinking crisp lager.”

Jean Schwarz 4.7% – Thuringian Style Dark Lager

“It’s a German-style dark lager but this is a delicate interpretation, so it’s quite refreshing. It looks dark, heavy, roasty… it just has a hint of almost a milk chocolate quality to it. Cool and refreshing on the palate.”

Inner West 6.8% – West Coast IPA

“That’s old-school hops. So Centennial, Citra, Simcoe and cascade flowers… So it’s very retro, in that sense, but modern hopping techniques, so it’s dry-hopped, cold and under pressure so it’s kind of delicate, clean, pine lime.”

Tmavé 4.8% – Czech Style Dark Lager

“It’s a Czech dark lager, so it’s based on this very famous brew pub in Prague called U Fleků. If you ever go to Prague, it’s kind of mandatory as a beer lover that you go there. I was very young at the time, as a 19-year-old and I didn’t know much about beer, but I knew that beer was amazing.

“They brew one beer, at least they did when I was there, and it’s their dark lager and it’s iconic it’s not necessarily typical of the style Tmavé, but it’s just iconic.

“This is our homage to the U Fleků dark lager, so it’s a 4.8 [per cent], strong, multi-complex dark lager that we brew to pour on the Lukr side-pour, so imagine that beautiful creamy wet foam sitting atop a lovely smooth, malty, dark lager.”

Foeder Tripel 8.4% – Oak Fermented Belgian Tripel

“The monster is the Foeder, that is our beautiful American oak fermenter and it’s a Belgian-style triple. So it’s a strong golden ale fermented with Ferveo Abbey yeast, 8.4 per cent. Very clean malt, all Pilsner malt. Belgian yeast is very distinctive, so it’s quite a thing, so that is not necessarily what you would normally get at the Wheaty.

“The oak character has that vanilla and that spice, and that’s dangerous. It does not drink like 8.4 per cent, it drinks like a 6 per cent, that’s going to be the destroyer on the day.”

Jade says while they wouldn’t usually bother with the custom plates, this beauty deserved it.

The five birthday beers will be available on tap from this Sunday, with Jade expecting the batches to last for about a month.

Wheaty Brewing Corps celebrates their 10th birthday at the Wheatsheaf Hotel this Sunday, July 7 from 2pm.

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