girl + Indi Ocean Brewing

At the end of freeway north, what do you think you’ll find? A set of lights? Yes. The continuing WA coast line? Yes. A brewery with some damn fine beer? Yes, very much so.

Indian Ocean Brewing is in Mindarie and whilst a fair distance for most Perth-ites it’s definitely worth the travel for those who love a good beer. The brewer is Dave Brough who’s brewing passion and extensive experience has resulted in beer that make drinkers stand up and take notice.

Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing
Brewer Dave – Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing

Dave kindly gave me his time to participate in an interview for girl+beer and I also got to meet him over the weekend during Indian Ocean’s “Indi Brew Day”, an annual event inviting people to taste the beer and tour the brewery with Dave.

Without further delay here’s my interview with Dave about brewing at Indi, his GABS beer and reflections on taking out WA’s Best Brewery award at last year’s Perth Royal Beer Show …

What were you doing before joining Indian Ocean Brewing?

My career in the brewing industry spans almost 20 years. I have built, managed and brewed in facilities here in Australia, the south pacific and Europe. …Bit of a vagabond brewer. Prior to this position I ran an iconic brewery in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.

What was the allure to moving to WA?

The job sounded like a challenge – which is my specialist brewing field, “cometh the hour, cometh the pom”

What was the biggest challenge you faced coming into Indian Ocean Brewing?

I had a lot of maintenance work to do and needed to change most of the beer recipes, so really it was like starting from scratch, but the results have proved to be worth the effort.

What were you most looking forward to when you joined Indian Ocean Brewing?

Getting my hands dirty – I was previously in an admistrative position at my former brewery. All brewers love to play around in the brewhouse – even the ones with flattened backsides from sitting at a desk too long!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
What is your brewing philosophy behind Indi’s core range of beers?

Excellence! Plus a broad appeal, we have a beer for everyone, almost, we aim to deliver quality WA beer to challenge the local palate.

Which is your favourite beer style to brew and why?

Lager, as they are the most unforgiving of beer styles as any flaw in the beer stands out. thus you have to get it right every time.

How did you feel winning Best WA Brewery at last years Perth Royal Beer Show?

Just reward for all my endeavours here & elated at being recognised for producing great beers, it is a fantastic accolade for the Indi, particularly given it’s position of obscurity 20 months ago. I hope that people will come and try the beer for themselves – taste the best in the west!

What do you think makes Indian Ocean beers unique?

They are true to style – you get what is stated on the tap, not an approximation to the style. A feature of many of my beers is the malt -my preferred characteristic in a beer – thus their maltiness may distinguish the beers as being mine, and therefore from the Indi.

What process do you go through when developing a new beer?

That’s the brewers art: knowing what you want and how to get it – understanding your raw materials, your processes and how that translates to your ‘brief’ or target product. Oh yes, there is also a bit of maths involved.

Which beer of yours do you think is the ‘sleeping giant’, the one just waiting to be discovered by the masses?

Big Red – it’s an American style red ale ,but quite confronting as it has a hefty malt and hop character, not to mention 5.4% Alc/Vol. It’s certainly a challenging beer for the Mindarie palate, but on the other hand is a beer that gets rave reviews in iconic beer halls & festivals!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Big Red with staff member Paul in the background. Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Is there anything new coming up for the brewery?

A pale ale (Aussie) is about to be released –light on the malt, light on the hop.. a summer/autumn quaffer basically. 4.2%. Then the GABS beer…A belgian blonde of 6% with a big, sweet phenolic aroma, malty (surprise surprise) but light body and a touch of alcoholic warmth in the finish. A great beer for the fall!

What is the inspiration behind the Indi Brew Day event?

It’s the second year of this event – Sarah [Marketing Manager for the Mindarie Marina complex] can enlighten you as to the philosophy behind it:

‘It’s All about the Beer’ – to re-connect people with the fact that they have their own Brewery and Pub right on their doorstep. In this day and age of multi-nationals and conglomerates, where you do not know where something is made, who owns the company and who is making the profits we want to show that we are a WA owned and operated business, employing local Australians to produce award winning beer that is up there with the best in the world…..made right here in Mindarie! We want to show that what we do is REAL, it is traditional, it is local and it takes skill and knowledge, we want to show our customers that we care about what we sell and where it comes from and that they can be involved and have a say in what we do! [Thanks to Sarah!]

Will you be brewing a beer for this years GABS* festival?

Yes, A Belgian Blonde..(which gentlemen prefer). Similar to a Leffe Blonde (the defining beer of the style). Soft, slightly sweet with distinctive phenolics on the nose (see above).

*Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne, May 23-25 featuring 115 specially brewed beers

Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …


Thanks so much to Dave for his time both with this interview and at the Indi Brew Day last Saturday which I’ll feature in my next post … stay tuned!


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