Brewing a solution for thirsty outback travelers
A famous outback pub in SA’s Flinders Ranges has started brewing its beer to toast the next 30 years of trade.
Parachilna Brew Project head brewer Lachy Fargher. Photo: Robert Lang
You can travel far into the Australian outback to find an ice-cold beer, and one of South Australia’s best-known bush drinking holes has come up with the perfect solution to keep the beer flowing.
The Prairie Hotel in Parachilna has incorporated a brewery into its front bar, cementing its reputation as a desert oasis.
“Nobody expects to find a microbrewery in the middle of nowhere; it’s such a welcome surprise,” says head brewer Lachy Fargher.
The first cask of ‘Parachilna Brew Project’ beer – a 6.4 percent IPA – was tapped in April this year at the revamped Prairie Brew Bar, closely followed by the 3.5 percent Albie Session Ale, named after the toddler cousin of Lachy.
“It’s a bit of beer that’s much more accessible to travelers who may be driving, and then we’ll go into the winter months, adding stout to the lineup as well,” explains Lachy.
The question of the steady trail of outback explorers celebrating the open borders calls for early mornings grinding barley before the cars pull off the highway.
“Everyone who visits is always asking for something local to try, so it makes sense to sell beers brewed on-site says Lachy.
“The craft beer scene is huge right now, so we’re getting a lot of response.”
Provenance has been The Prairie’s asset since Lachy’s parents, Jane and Ross Fargher, took over their “local” a little over 30 years ago and started serving kangaroo meat processed at Parachilna Gorge in Blinman.
“It was a bold move for the time because kangaroo was largely thought of as pet meat,” says Jane.
Today, it’s the most popular dish at The Prairie’s Gallery restaurant, where it’s served with emu, camel, and goat for the ultimate Feral Feast.
The Brew Bar’s à la carte lunch menu, available Wednesday through Sunday, puts another creative spin on the iconic blend of native flavors, with a Roo Quarter Pounder, Crispy Kangaroo Tail, and a Pub Picnic under the “really fun guys food” available.
The brewery marks the latest step in a bold overhaul of The Prairie’s business model prompted by the pandemic after border closures left the popular stopover high and dry; running with Uber and takeout was not an option, and several employees were stuck between the states.
“We had a lot of time to rethink our business model to accommodate seasonal fluctuations and future-proof the business for the next generation,” says Jane.
Accommodation is now a minimum two-night stay with Lachy’s partner Ellie Gorringe managing The Prairie’s new private Outback Lodge.
Guest packages include daily breakfast, culinary experiences from the chef, and tours to local Flinders Ranges attractions, including fossils and native artwork.
Daily. The best local news every working day at lunchtime. Receive InDaily in your inbox.
Thank you for subscribing to the InDaily newsletter.
“Instead of just selling a room or a roadside bed, the experience has improved so much for guests who want to immerse themselves in the region,” says Ellie.
“The hotel will still be very welcoming to people stopping by for a beer, which it has always been known for, but we also try to deliver more than expected.”
Local news matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one vote to move it forward, and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution directly supports our journalists in bringing the facts to light. Click below to help InDaily continue discovering the facts.
Powered by PressPatron