A handful of the region’s businesses gave a small group of WA reporters a taste of next year’s Taste Great Southern food and wine festival on an exclusive preview tour last week. The Advertiser was invited to get a glimpse of what the public can expect to see and eat when the festival arrives in the region for 11 days in March. More than 20 chefs have come on board, including local favourites Anna Gare, Liberte’s Amy Hamilton and Due South’s Nic Lancaster, to celebrate the produce, wine and flavours of the region. Wilson Brewing Co, a sponsor of the event, will be exhibiting its locally crafted beer. On a tour of the brewery, Wilson’s Liz Northern and Luke Wilson spoke about how their microbrewery added to the Albany tourism experience. The craft beer is canned on site with Mr Wilson explaining the process was very labour intensive. Three staff members are needed in the canning room to make it work. Set to make its debut at Taste Great Southern next year is a new beer Wilson has produced in collaboration with Leeuwin Coast. The Akoya Dark Pearl Oyster Pale Ale will be a premium limited release and is brewed with Leeuwin Coast Akoya oysters. Mr Wilson said seven oysters were used per 20L and it took six batches to perfect the brew. The unique beverage comes in a wine bottle and is paired best with seafood. Also providing a sneak peek into what the public can expect is anticipated dining experience at the redeveloped Monty’s Leap winery in Kalgan. Monty’s Leap remains closed to the public due to significant renovations, but is expected to open next month. A group of WA food writers were treated to four courses on Saturday, prepared especially for the day by Ocean & Paddock chef Trent Brennan. The meals proved the chef was more than just a fish-and-chip man. The Kalgan winery is yet to announce a permanent in-house chef, but whoever it is will be spoilt for choice for produce in the Great Southern. The region is home to top producers of seafood, chicken, beef, lamb, heirloom vegetables and cheeses. This year’s Taste Great Southern was cancelled due to COVID-19, but come March, people can expect to be immersed in food, wine, music and community events. Some of the highlights will include the Southern Sets Musical Festival, Mt Barker Grape Escape, Albany Wine and Food Festival, Women of the Region Dinner and the Two Waters Dinner by Fervor. Tickets for some of the events go on sale tomorrow. Visit www.tastegreatsouthern.com.au.