Native Grain Whiskey showcases weeping grass

A whisky made from the native cereal grain, weeping grass, is the second Native Grain Whiskey released by Adelaide Hills Distillery.

Adelaide Hills Distillery debuted the ambitious native grain series last year, with a whisky made using wattleseed.

“We want to make whisky that is ahead of the pack, leading what will become a more saturated market,” founder Sacha La Forgia told the Drinks Adventures podcast.

“So we had to use native Australian grains… [and] we quickly jumped on wattleseed as our grain because it shows so much potential.”

Adelaide Hills Distillery's Native Grain Whiskey 2020
Adelaide Hills Distillery’s Native Grain Whiskey 2020 showcases the native cereal grain, weeping grass – picture courtesy Haley Renee

The experimentation continues with weeping grass, which produces a grain similar in size to rice.

“At the moment weeping grass is about 50 times more expensive per kilo than regular malt, but it produces a nice plump seed, which means you can yield fairly high per hectare,” La Forgia said.

“Traditional cereal grains need to be removed and resown to grow again, that means they require more inputs and it’s less sustainable, whereas weeping grass is inherently sustainable.”

La Forgia said the perennial nature of weeping grass, and the ease of working with its larger grains, means it is well suited to the Native Grain Whiskey project.

“If you add up its multiple crops in a year, it’s not that much less than what you get from growing barley,” he said.

As in the case of the wattleseed whiskey, La Forgia treated the weeping grass as brewers would a specialty grain in the mash, with barley acting as the base malt.

“Because we toasted it, that made it fairly nutty, which is similar to the wattleseed,” he said.

“But the weeping grass is a little bit more spicy and earthy…those are its standout characters. I kind of associate it with rye.”

The latest Native Grain Whiskey was awarded ‘Best Australian Grain – 12 Years & Under’ at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards.

Limited to 150 bottles, each hand numbered and signed by Sacha La Forgia, it is available direct from Adelaide Hills Distillery at a price of $450.

Listen:
Native Grain Whiskey with Adelaide Hills Distillery’s Sacha La Forgia: S3E6
More whisky podcast episodes on Drinks Adventures

Author: James Atkinson

Journalist specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®.

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