Pirate Life Kiwi IPA


New Zealand’s hop growing region is squeezed into the north-west corner of the South Island. Small though it may be, this tiny slice of a tiny nation produces many of the world’s most curious hop varieties. With more sunny days than any other town in New Zealand and heavy winter rains, the micro climate of Nelson and the surrounding areas is perfect for growing almost anything, it is not unusual to drive through the nearby Motueka Valley and interchangeably see vineyards and hop farms competing for view from the car window. So it made sense that the town of Nelson is where New Zealand Hops decided to base their state of the art breeding program and hop processing facilities.

The Pirate Life Kiwi IPA is an homage to the hard work of these dedicated hop breeders, who’s unique cultivars spent many years in the shadows of their older siblings, grown far across the pacific in the Northwest of the USA. Only recently have names such as Motueka, Kohatu and Nelson Sauvin become well known beyond the shores of their home country. But the secret is now well and truly out…

Brewed with a simple malt base of 100% Maris Otter to let the hops shine, the New Zealand IPA was plied with hops right from the word go: equal parts Nelson Sauvin, Taheke, Kohato and Motueka were added to the mash. Lightly bittered with Nelson the bulk of the action happened at the end of the boil and in the whirlpool, a total of 22.5 kg of some of New Zealand juiciest hops were added for aroma. Once the ferment was finished, a healthy dry hop of Kohatu, Nelson Suavin and Taheke was added to the tank.

The Kiwi IPA pours a warm orange with a lacey snow-white head. The aroma is bursting with melon, ripe white table grapes and stone fruits. On the palate the Marris Otter lays a rich, clean foundation for the New Zealand hops to build on. The result of this particular hop combo is like a summer fruit salad, crisp, tart citrus layered over sweet, juicy mango, dragon fruit, apricot, grapes and kiwi. A beer which is a little too easy to drink more than a few of on a warm summers evening…

Big shout out to Beer Deluxe Fed Square for inviting us to brew this beer for their annual Hop Quest event last Friday!

The 6.0% Kiwi IPA will be hitting a limited number of taps throughout Australia over the next few weeks.


PLB Crew


Pirate Life Strawberry IIPA

Aging beer in barrels is one of the projects our crew get around with a lot of enthusiasm. The complex interaction between beer and wooden casks can transform ordinary brews into something completely different.


Due to our proximity to some of the nations best wine regions we are lucky enough to have access to a huge selection of wine barrels. Late last year we got hold of a stash of reconditioned red wine casks and decided to change it up and do a few experimental batches. So rather than the the usual stout or sour suspects we filled 8 barrels with IIPA and added 50 kg of fresh South Aussie strawberries.


The beer aged on oak and strawberries for a year until early November when we hit the barrels up with another dose of fresh strawberries. After a few more weeks we transferred the beer back into the fermenter, chilled it slightly and decided that it needed a little blending. We topped up the tank with fresh as IIPA and 25 kg of Strawberry pulp. It was then dry hopped with Simcoe, Mosaic, Centennial and German wunder hop Huell Melon – known for its distinctive Strawberry character.


The result is a beer with an intensely strawberry nose backed by fresh, fruity hop characters. The pallet is complex, with hints of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging and a fresh, tart fruitiness thanks to a generous helping of strawberries every step of the way.

Big shoutout to AMJ Produce for hooking us up with the fresh strawberries!

The 9% ABV Pirate Life Strawberry IIPA will be pouring around Australia throughout January.

Our Story


First things first: Pirate Life has been lucky over the past few years to be supported by an amazing group of people. To our family and friends (many of whom we have made over the past few years) thank you for helping us follow our dreams. To our OG shareholders, who have invested both time and money in our business: without you Pirate Life would simply not have been possible. To all our customers: your initial support and belief, demonstrated by putting a brewery you had never heard of on your shelves or on your taps and helping us grow, is something special. And to all the punters, who have got behind our brand and enjoyed our beers over the past few years: your backing has been humbling.


Pirate Life was founded on the belief that given the opportunity, most people in Australia and around the world would prefer – as we do – to drink high quality, full flavoured beers. When we sat down to discuss starting a brewery, making great beer was our key focus. It has remained our key focus throughout the past three years. When we sold our business to AB InBev two weeks ago, the passion for great beer wasn’t sold with it. Rather, a world of possibilities which were far beyond our reach has suddenly opened to us. When we founded Pirate Life, our aim was to become a global player. This next step will help us realise our dream of seeing Pirate Life on shelves and in bars all over the world.


Despite what some of our peers may have said over the past couple of weeks, independence doesn’t brew great beer; good brewers do. We truly believe that these guys can not only help us, but help the whole industry with their assets and knowledge. Why can’t we all make this industry even better? Over the decades, from cultivating experience as brewers prior to kicking off Pirate Life, we’ve been involved with all sides of the brewing game. From the huge growth and staunchly independent BrewDog, to both pre & post-Lion acquisition of Little Creatures, and everything in-between, we thought we were in a good position to have a look at this option.


When ABI first approached us a few months back, we had reached the end of a long 12 months trying to secure investment to help us expand. Private equity, debt, equipment finance, government grants and loans were all explored and a lot of the time we found ourselves at a dead end, no better off than where we started. Luckily, when we got the tap on the shoulder, the timing was perfect. That said, it was far from an easy decision. A lot of sleepless nights, long meetings, thought and emotion have gone into this decision, but it made complete sense. We want to keep building the best brewery possible to make the best beer we can and sell it across the globe – this will help us make that happen.


Being part of a global brewer is something we could not be happier about; we are now in the lucky position to be able to learn from some of the biggest and best in the world. As much as some of the ABI brands aren’t craft beers, they are well made and consistent. Every time you drink a beer from the big guys you know what you are going to get, and they deliver every time. This is something we have aspired to from day one with Pirate Life. Consistency is king, especially in such a crowded market, and the knowledge and expertise ABI will bring to the table when it comes to quality assurance is unbeatable and we are pretty stoked on some new toys we have arriving soon for our lab to help deliver this.


Our employees will now have opportunity we could never have provided them independently. From the guys in pack town, to the brewers, to the sales reps and the team in the office - they are now part of a global community and can take their career anywhere they want. That path will be in the hands of each of us, be it with Pirate Life, or another part of the ABI family somewhere else around the world. The education and training available to our team in the future is very exciting. Their development has always been a top priority and we now have the resources to ensure that we create the best possible environment for them to learn and grow. Our people have always been our most important asset, for the last few years we have asked a lot from them – long days, nights and weekends – so the chance to give them this kind of opportunity was too good to turn down.


As we mentioned earlier, the process of securing money to build a new brewery and build it properly was never going to be easy. In fact, as the months went on, we continued to compromise with our design and slowly downgraded or removed equipment as the expected pool of funds got smaller and smaller. With the backing of ABI we can now dust off the original plans and get to work building our dream brewery down at Port Adelaide. Not only are we able to build a state of the art brewery with support of people who have done it multiple times around the world, but we can also open a one of a kind hospitality venue. It is a privilege to contribute to Port Adelaide’s rejuvenation, and to provide jobs for a heap of South Aussies both during construction and the operation. Our dream is that Port Adelaide becomes as much of a destination for visitors to Adelaide as McLaren Vale or the Barossa Valley.


Our team are staying on to help us on the next step in our journey. We have the best crew around, and if you walked into our brewery any day since the acquisition, you wouldn’t have known the difference, and most importantly the stereo is still blasting. It’s business as usual, of course it’s not going to change. Our business has been built on good quality, flavour forward beer that we love to drink and the punters that have enjoyed it. Why ruin a winning formula? We founded Pirate Life with the intention to sit in the same world as Stone, Lagunitas and Ballast Point – beers we fell in love with living in the States and Europe. We want to be big, we want to be global, and this is just another step in that process.


To everyone that has supported us so far, thank you again. It’s been a pretty epic journey – crazy growth, no cash, a heap of fun and a fuck load of beer made, hundreds of flights and hotels room, almost 1000 events, a lot of hard work and a tonne of good times. Here is a toast to the future being full of much more of the same…


PLB Crew

The Pirate Life Nelson Pilsner


Just while we have your attention: The Pirate Life Crew are currently growing their mo to raise money for mens health. To check out the crews progress, join the team or donate to this important cause head to our team page here.

Thank you, now on to the beer...

Amongst brewers there is a distinct respect for well-made Pilsners. It’s a delicate style that doesn’t suit being completely bombarded by hops, a beer that takes much more time and patience to get right than an Ale. Beers brewed with lager yeast spend much longer conditioning in the fermenter than Ales. So, when we installed our last lot of tanks back in August we got a bit excited - we finally had a bit of room spare to brew some Pilsner! As fate would have it, around the same time we also got our hands on some of the most sought after hops in the world – Nelson Sauvin. The result - The 4.8% Pirate Life Nelson Pilsner.

The Pils pours crystal clear and light golden in colour with a snow-white meringue head which lingers on top for the whole pint. It has a classic Pilsner Malt nose reminiscent of water crackers which is lifted to another level by a distinctive sun-ripe white grape aroma courtesy of Nelson hops. Dry, bitter and effervescent the beer has all the crisp, clean, refreshing drinking qualities that you want from a Pilsner. When combined with the fresh fruity flavours of Nelson – zesty lime, pear and green pepper, the result is a beer which is a perfect summer smasher with a little bit extra.


PLB Crew


Ruby IPA


“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Every now and again brewers make a mistake. That may seem hard to believe if you have ever met the clean cut, life together sort of crew that make up the brewing fraternity. But amidst the forensic attention to detail the occasional error slips through the cracks. Due to a tinsey snafu 125 kg of Crystal Malt found its way into the grist case one morning. That beer found its way into a 25 hL fermenter and a silver nay ruby lining was found…

Introducing the Ruby IPA. The generous heaping of crystal malt combined with a touch of Munich malt results in a rich, caramelly, biscuit like malt character. To balance all that sweetness out we tossed a bunch of fruity hops its way. Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic and Cascade lift the beer with a combination of citrus, tropical fruit and the tart almost savoury white wine character for which Nelson Sauvin is renowned. Not a beer we intended to make but one we are stoked to be able to share with you all. The 7.0% Ruby IPA. Available now on tap around Australia.


PLB Crew