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Guest Selector: Ross McQuinn

Hey, I’m Ross McQuinn. I own Pilot Restaurant in Ainslie with my partner Dash and push Heaps Normal non-alco beers to Canberra on the side. I’ve selected some drinks that have blown my mind. Unique examples of beverages that often can’t be easily classified. I’ve chosen all Australian producers as that’s what we focus on at Pilot. In my opinion, Australia has some of the most creative drinks in the world as they are less burdened by tradition and regulations. I believe that pushing boundaries is exciting, and hopefully, you can try something new and interesting.

2019 Zibeerbo made by Wildflower and Brash Higgins

Is it beer? Is it the wine? Is it both? Does it really matter? Not at all. All that matters is it’s delicious. Australian Wild Ale from Wildflower aged for six months with Zibbibo skins from Brash Higgins in McLaren Vale. The result is something fruity and fresh, with great tropical undertones. Perfect place to start a meal or drink in the sun. A gateway drug for those who aren’t so into beers.

2020 Sui Generis VI made by Mada

Part of Hamish’s Sui Generis series, which means that once it’s gone, it’s never coming back. I love this wine because Hamish Young really gets to play by no rules. Riverland Vermentino sees six weeks on skins with no additions or filtration. It’s really cool that Mada engages a new local artist for each of these special releases to design the label. Plus, Hamish is just a good bloke with great hair.

2017 Final Chapter; Heroin be the Death of Me made by VHS

Samuel Smith from VHS wines zigs when everyone else zags. While so many try to ensure that nothing is added to their wines, Samuel uses sour cherries, sage and cherrywood smoke in this Bonvedro and Cabernet Blend. A customer once angrily told me “Well it’s not a wine then.” Who cares? It’s a great drink. Once they stopped trying to categorize it, they ended up loving it and ordering another bottle. 500ml, so perfect for solo drinkers.

2018 Oregon Rizza made by Brian

Technically an American wine, but made by Aussies, so it counts. Mike Bennie and friends create an homage to Jura. A Riesling has been allowed to develop a layer of flor (yeast), which oxidises the wine leaving it salty, nutty and fresh. This reminds me of Fino Sherry. I would drink it for breakfast if I could.

    • Beer

    Zibeerbo made by WildflowerBrash Higgins

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    • Orange

    Sui Generis VI made by MADA

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    • Red

    Final Chapter; Heroin be the Death of Me made by Vinous Heroin Society

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    • White

    Oregon Rizza made by Brian

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