This edition of 5 minutes with … features Jack Purser, head brewer at Indian Ocean Brewing Co in Mindarie. The brewery is a slice of heaven in the (quite) northern suburbs of Perth where craft beer taps are not as abundant as in Fremantle, Perth CBD and other key precincts around town.
It’s been about a year since Jack took over the head brewer position from Mal Secourable, who you will find behind the tanks at Fremantle’s The Monk. In just a year Jack has achieved a lot with the brewery and assistant brewer Brody Watts. They’ve updated recipes for the core range of beers and their limited release beers, such as a black IPA called De-Husker Du? and Straight Rollers XPA have been keeping beer geeks happy.
Jack, who’s been in brewing since he was legally allowed to drink, has spent time at WA breweries such as Mash Brewing, The Old Brewery, The Monk and Homestead as well as some time at craft beer venue, Dutch Trading Co.
Here Jack answers five questions and gives us a little insight into the life of a brewer, a couple of hints of beers to come in 2017 from Indian Ocean Brewing and plants the seed for a brewery versus brewery cricket competition.
What has been your most memorable day at Indian Ocean Brewery so far?
Probably the day with, Dan Dainton (Dainton Family Brewery) and Joel Beresford (DTC). Dan was in town and keen to make something wacky. It also coincided with our brewery being in a million pieces for some maintenance so Brody (Indian Ocean assistant brewer)and I brought our home brew kits in and we made about 50L of imperial stout. The thing is a beast, 17% ABV and 200 IBUs.
It’s downright delicious but we’ve been so busy this summer that we haven’t had time to bottle it. We’ll look for a cold night in the dead of winter 2017 to bring it to Perth’s attention.
What do you think is the greatest misconception about craft beer?
Oh that’s a tough one… I guess there’s two questions/answers here. A lot of people perceive the occupation of brewing as a romantic job. It can be bloody hard work. Yes, we have our days where we’re in the loading bay having a ball playing cricket or something. But come chat to us when we’re de-palletising four tonnes of malt in the middle of January or driving to work at 4:30am.
The other side of the question would be behind the markets perception of the product itself. I’m not basing this on any focus groups or anything but you constantly hear complaints about the price points of craft beer being too high. So perhaps the misconception is that we are over charging for our beer? I won’t get into the who, what, where and why’s of craft brewery keg and package prices but you don’t see many brewery owners with gold teeth and treasure chests in their offices.
What is your go-to beer after working a long hard day at the brewery?
Recently I’ve been going to our Little Red Fish. Made with/for the Long Chim Perth guys, it’s a lemongrass, coriander and sea salt session ale. I think we’ve got the salt levels right and the dry hop in balance, so it’s drinking quite nicely.
What criteria makes a GOOD beer?
A balanced recipe, correct mash temperatures and pre-boil pH, well looked after fresh ingredients, healthy yeast, a clean ferment and careful post fermentation practice!
I think if you have these parameters down to a tee, you are going to be in pretty good shape.
What is coming up for Indian Ocean Brewing this year?
We have some exciting times ahead. We’re going to bring back our XPA which got some love last year. We’re also hoping to get a gig with GABS [Great Australasian Beer Spectapular] too, so we’ll make something interesting for that… maybe even something sour.
We recently fashioned a cricket ball out of duct tape and malt bag strings. So I am really keen to assert the breweries dominance over the bar in hallway cricket. It’s going to take a little bit of work getting Brody’s technique right, he tends to fall over himself with his footwork whilst driving. But a few technical tweaks and I think we’ll be able to post some pretty competitive totals. Who knows, we might even be able to expand the competition to other breweries or the public. Like I said, exciting times ahead.