You’ll find Homestead Brewery, which was established in 2014, in the Swan Valley and helps make the Valley a great place for beer lovers to go. At the recent Perth Royal Beer Awards, Homestead Brewery received the trophy for Best Wheat Beer Draught for the second year in the row for their beer Kaiser’s Choice Hefeweizen.
Head brewer Steve Wearing took some time out of the brewery to answer my five questions so grab a beer, sit back and enjoy this short chat and get a little insight into Homestead, what beers are in Steve’s fridge at home and what it takes to make a really great wheat beer.
What is the key to making a really great wheat beer?
It’s all in the yeast – start off with a really good quality yeast and from there really get to know how that strain works. Factors such as pitch rate, oxygenation, ferment temperature and pressure all impact the esters produced during fermentation. Take detailed brew logs and manipulate these variables over many batches until you get the result you are after.
What has surprised you most in your time at Homestead?
The massive variety in beer preferences from those that don’t generally drink beer … When we run the brewery tour at Homestead, we give out tasters of each of the beers we have on tap, plus what’s in tank. We get a wide variety of people come in from those that don’t drink beer (they generally get dragged along by their partner) to seasoned craft beer nerds. I find it interesting to see which of the beers the ‘non beer drinkers’ take to – initially I always assumed it would be the lighter, cleaner beers like a lager. But it turns out I was wrong, often they really get into the heavier or more complex beers such as a stout or a big IPA.
So I think the moral of the story is if you don’t think you like beer – keep trying, you just haven’t found the style you like yet!
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for WA craft beer?
Liquor licensing is definitely a big issue. Obtaining a liquor license is extremely expensive, takes 6+ months (in some instances much longer) and there is no guarantee your license will be approved. This is enough to stop the smaller players from even getting into the industry. If the process was simplified, we would see a lot of small brewpubs open up with a focus on production for on-site sales.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a local microbrewery just down the road?
What five beers in your fridge at home now?
Delirium Nocturnum, a few different varieties from Rodenbach, 3 Ravens Juicy IPA, Eagle Bay Black IPA and Coopers Best Extra Stout (plus of course some Homestead beer in the keg fridge!)
How important do you think it is to have a clear definition of “craft beer”?
The craft beer debate has been going on for quite a while and I personally don’t think there is a good way to define ‘craft beer’. If you try and base it on flavour parameters then it’s too subjective. If you base it on production volumes, then if a ‘craft beer’ brand is popular and successful and as a result expands to much larger production volumes, it doesn’t seem fair that it would then not be considered craft. Personally I don’t think the definition of craft beer is important, as long as there is transparency with all brands as to who owns the brand and where the beer is produced, this is enough for consumers to make an informed decision when making a purchase.