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Greenock Brewers Barossa Valley

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In one of his more reflective and tender moments Australian poet-balladeer Kevin “Bloody” Wilson offered the following as a courtship inquiry

            Does your Dad own a brewery?

I’m unsure what reply Kev received- probably one in the negative, but I do know that a bloke from my hometown of Kapunda runs Greenock Brewers Barossa Valley in this gorgeous hamlet about an hour from Adelaide.

If you ask the average punter their favourite law what do you get? Thou shalt not kill? The deliberate out of bounds law? Unlikely. I nominate the German Beer Purity Law of 1516, and happily the owners, Chris and Lisa Higgins are fans of this one too, and it guides their craft. And, of course, it’s especially relevant here in the Prussian-settled Barossa with its tradition and strict codes and nodding respect.

I ducked in last week, and while Chris was down in town, Lisa let me in and after a couple snifters, I strolled out with some tremendous cargo in the form of two six-packs. I drove back to Glenelg with matronly care.

Bunawunda Blonde is dangerously easy to drink. But unlike many commercial beers (read muck) this lager rewards with complexity and maturity that doesn’t scream, “Messy Millennials on a hot Sunday”. There’s delicate spice infused with a smiling approachability. I like it. It’d find a cheery spot around a BBQ, or at five bells on a Friday (or earlier in the week).

The brewery is set just off the town’s main drag on Mill Street. Coming from Nuriootpa (where a young HG Nelson once kicked a footy) if you get to the pub, once run by iconic mine hosts, Norton and Mick Schluter, then you need to turn the EH Holden around. But if you slip into the Greenock Tavern’s front bar, never fear, for the brewery’s excellent product is available there too.

Having spent not a few winters up at spoggy’s on a Saturday and playing footy in various Barossa towns I can assure you it gets decidedly crisp, and in these times of personal need the application of dark ale becomes vital.

Greenock Brewers Dark Ale is like the Bunawunda Blonde, in that it’s a beer of subtlety and elegance. It doesn’t get in your face like a Tanunda Magpies fullback or an Angaston opening bowler, but moves with seduction. This, as many will tell you, always works better and jags the win. There’s some lingering Mocha and wafts of smokiness too that seems perfect for an evening around a cracking fire, after the Kapunda Bombers have had a top day in the lead-up to finals.

When I poked my head in the other day I spotted a cosy outdoor area with tables and chairs and a fire. The brewery itself is housed within a fetching old stone wheat store that immediately makes a wonderful impression. It sets a tone, and turns up the thirst a few Fahrenheit notches. Couple this with occasional live music- probably no Kevin B Wilson, although I can’t be certain- and it makes the Greenock Brewers Barossa Valley an attractive location, in an attractive town, in an attractive valley.

I’m there.

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https://www.greenockbrewersbarossavalley.com.au/

 

 

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The Cox Plate, Kevin B. Wilson and love: my wedding speech

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We were married on Saturday, October 26, 2002. How can this have been fifteen years ago? Here’s a transcript of my wedding speech.

When we decided to get married a little over a year ago I thought this will be a really big day, and I need to seek lots of advice on how to make it work well. You need undertake lots of decisions to make it work well.

So, who can I talk to? Who can help me out here? So, I decided to go to my old home town, Kapunda. Anyone here from Kapunda? (various members interjecting) I talked to a few people from Kapunda and as you can plainly tell, they were absolutely useless to me. They had nothing sensible to offer whatsoever.

So, then I thought my second home is probably the West Coast so I thought I’d talk to a few people about the big day, the really important day. And they were even less use than the Kapunda people.

It hit me like a flash one afternoon. Who’s the most important person who can give me some advice? So, I wandered up to the Barossa, to the Valley one afternoon and sat down with Dad.

We were sitting around the kitchen table having a Sparkling Ale. One of two, you’re only allowed two per session in the Randall house. Each carton’s got to last at least twelve drinking sessions. So, we’re sitting around the kitchen table talking about the big day and I’m seeking advice. And Dad’s lovingly grasping his frosty ale, and I said, “Dad, what do you reckon? Help me out with this big day. What do you suggest on this day of days?”

And Dad said, “I know it means a lot to you. It’s a crucial day, we want you to be happy. My advice is to wack all your money on Sunline in the Cox Plate.”

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Welcome to our wedding.

I’d like to thank our ushers Jill and Barry, and Robyn and Mark for their terrific work earlier.

I’d also like to thank our guitarists who entertained you earlier, Neil and Phil, very good friends from Port Pirie, who played some beautiful songs by people we really like such as U2 and Jeff Buckley. I know also that they rehearsed that terrific wedding classic, “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix. It’s a great song, I’ll just remind you of some of the key lyrics, it goes

Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun of yours?
I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man

It’s a touching wedding song. Thank you very much.

Thanks also to our photographer Brett, and his assistant Trish for their wonderful work. They’re from Blue Razoo. That’s Blue Razoo, if you need somebody. We had a terrific, fun morning down the beach with Roxy. (Robyn interjecting- Roxy Randall!) He’s a great photographer. In the photos, I’ll be blonde and built like Koutoufides (former Carlton footballer, Adonis-like).

Thanks to our videographers, Richard, Mark and Matt for capturing much of the afternoon. Well done.

Thanks to my sister Jill for your reading of that poem which means a lot to us. Superb.

Thanks to the jockey and connections of Celestia which won Race 10 last week when we were at Victoria Park. That was the Get Out Of Jail Stakes and we certainly needed that.

Thanks to guests who’ve travelled. From Queensland, Grandma and Grandpa, Chris, Stephen and Eleni. Thanks for making the effort.

Thanks also to Greg Mennie who’s travelled all the way from the Eastern Suburbs today, a big effort. Crossed the border there at West Terrace, no vaccinations, no visa. It’s pretty brave, he’s good like that. Thanks, Puggy.

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Thanks also to all of you for coming. People from Kapunda, Gawler, Queensland, Pirie, Kimba, Wudinna and Adelaide. Thanks for sharing you lives with us. We’ve enjoyed living in the communities that we have. We can really recommend the three pillars of country living to you.

1.    Hotel

2.    Sport, and

3.    Hotel after sport.

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To all of our friends who are shortly to be married or who are to have a baby: good luck from all of us here. There’s quite a few of you. Congratulations. (Robyn interjecting,” Yeah, Kerry!)

Thanks to our parents. To Lois and Bob, Joan and Darryll, for your extraordinary love and guidance and support not only today, but throughout our lives. Thank you.

To Jill and Barry; Richard, Mark, Robyn and Dylan: thanks for your contributions and for making our lives as fabulous as they are.

Lastly, to Kerry-ann. For the rich catalogue of memories you’ve given me already: Sunday beach walks with Roxy; the sunset in Venice; hot chocolate over games of backgammon. Thank you for that.

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Well done for your astonishing work in preparing for today. It’s been beyond any expectation I could’ve had, and as we’re probably all guessing, it’s all due to you. Thank you.

You look as beautiful as you truly are. (various members interjecting; especially Robyn, “What do you want?”)

Just a few of the things I do love about my wife include: your absolutely unconditional generosity with people, the countless ways in which you’ve taught me about the world and myself, your vibrant cultural tastes- this is a girl who can sing all of “Joelene” by Dolly Parton, and a terrifying amount of the back catalogue of Kevin B. Wilson, which we’ll be doing at 5.55 so that’ll get you out the door in a big hurry.

In closing, if I know what love is, it’s because of you.

So, please enjoy the reception and thanks for coming.

kev