December 1st marked the first pour for Malt Shovel Taphouse, a new craft beer bar and kitchen which has landed along Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct.
Taking a prime location formerly occupied by pop-up bar Neon, Malt Shovel Taphouse’s spacious outdoor area delivers stellar scenic views overlooking the River Torrens, Elder Park and Adelaide Oval.
Operated by Adelaide Oval under a license agreement with Lion Co., who manage Australia’s leading beer portfolio, patrons can expect all their classic favourite beer brands as well as a selection of South Australian wines.
Offering a variety of sixteen different beers on tap, plenty of bottles in the fridge and several cider options, Malt Shovel Taphouse is sure to have something to wet your whistle on those sweltering summer days that lie ahead.
We were lucky enough to attend their media food menu launch on Friday 30th November, where we had an exclusive taste of all the exciting new menu options on offer.
‘Australia’s First Lady of Beer’, Kirrily Waldhorn aka ‘The Beer Diva’ took us on a journey of the senses as we sampled a variety of five different beers, each paired with a unique dish prepared by Head Chef, Kane Boase.
For our appetisers, we were served House-Made Dips With Bread, Chargrilled SA Octopus and Crumbed & Spiced Swiss Mushrooms. The selection of three dips including creamy hummus, pumpkin and pesto came with crunchy bread for easy dipping. Covered in a romesco sauce and topped with oregano, the octopus was best enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon on top to add zest. The perfect vegetarian option, the mushrooms were coated with a crispy batter and came with a white bama dipping sauce.
Christening the long lunch with a light beer, we began our beer-centric experience with a White Rabbit White Ale. Spiced with juniper, coriander and orange, this is the perfect option for those who are new to the wide world of beer and makes for easy drinking. Best enjoyed with seafood dishes, the fruity hints of this beer complemented the piscine flavours of the octopus.
Entrees included Truffle & Parmesan Fries, Fried Chicken Wings and Roasted Heirloom Carrots. Served with a selection of three different sauces ranging from hot to mild, the wings were crisp on the outside to reveal the tender meat inside. The Roasted Heirloom Carrots were soft and covered in a honey labneh glaze, the colour contrasting beautifully with polenta crisps, pomegranate and herb leaves.
We then moved onto the Byron Bay Hazy Lager, which had a cloudy appearance however was described by The Beer Diva as being clean, crisp and refreshing. Pairing well with your classic meat and veg meals, this beer complemented the herbal hints of the battered wings.
Next on our agenda was the Furphy, which had plenty of fresh, hot characteristics without the bitterness. Consisting of fruity elements of passionfruit, mango and pineapple, this beer is the perfect summer sip. Made from Victorian hops and malt, the subtle fruity flavours of this beer amped up the sweetness of the heirloom carrots and pomegranate garnish.
The highlight of the menu tasting had to be the mains, which consisted of a selection of their rotisserie meats from the spit, roast pumpkin as well as a refreshing gem lettuce salad. The Fleurieu Free-Range Chicken was juicy and succulent, coming with a spiced sea salt rub on the side. Marinaded in a unique combination of vegetable ash salt and mustard butter, the Scotch Fillet was locally sourced from the Clare Valley. The Rolled Lamb Forequarter was far from leathery, lathered in a coating of garlic, wild thyme and olive oil. The Agave Roasted Pumpkin had an agave-infused glaze on top, creating a sweet, caramelised finish.
To accompany our mains, we sampled the Malt Shovel Brewers Vienna Marzden. Being all about the malt, this German-style beer has characteristics of toasted biscuit and a toffee caramel crystal malt. Brewed at the start of autumn, this beverage is perfect for when the weather begins to cool and is best paired with slow-cooked meats or cheese platters.
Concluding our tasting journey with a bang, the White Rabbit Dark Ale had hints of dark, burnt caramel. This particular beer complemented the mains impeccably, picking up on the caramelised lamb and turning up the volume of the pumpkin’s sweetness. Best matched with blue cheese and chocolate, this malt driven ale is rich and flavoursome.
The Beer Diva also gave as an educational lesson on how to correctly pour our beer in order to maximise the flavour experience. To our surprise, beer is best enjoyed in a wine glass, and should be poured straight into the middle rather than along the side of the glass, as it creates a smoother finish and captures the flavours and aromas that can be hidden by a poor pour.
Having a balance of mouth-watering meals for the meatlovers as well as plenty of vegetarian offerings, Head Chef Kane Boase has harnessed his 25+ years of experience in the industry to thoughtfully design a well-rounded food menu that makes for a divine match with the beer list.
Tucked away under the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse just across the footbridge from Adelaide Oval, Malt Shovel Taphouse is a scenic riverside venue that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle – whilst still being in the city!
Malt Shovel Taphouse is open Tuesday and Wednesday 3pm–11pm, Thursdays from 11:30am–12am, Friday and Saturday 11:30am–2am and Sundays 11:30am–10pm.
Words and Photos by Tayla Giles
WHERE: Festival Drive, Adelaide