5 Minutes with Josh from The Beer Farm

This edition of ‘5 Minutes with’ is with Josh Thomas, brewer aka “beer farmer” at The Beer Farm in Metricup …

The Beer Farm on Gale Road in Metricup is one of the most recent breweries to open in the Margaret River region in the last couple of years and this edition of ‘5 Minutes with’ is with Josh Thomas, brewer or, according to his email signature, “beer farmer”.

Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm

Trey, Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm (left) with Josh (right) selecting wet hops for a brew. You can read more about Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm and the beer they made with Josh here.

Photo Credit: Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm Facebook page 

The Beer Farm was once a dairy farm and for the first few months of its life as a brewery there weren’t any walls or roof on the brew house.

The place is delightfully carefree and relaxed; Mocha the brewery dog is often around, the kids can fly down the homemade water slide and though there isn’t a kitchen you’ll find a local food truck on site.

Water Slide at The Beer Farm

What was your epiphany beer?

To be honest I could never pick a certain beer, for me it’s all about the experience beer creates that brings out the best epiphanies. To me sitting down with a stout next to a fire when it’s pouring with rain outside during the winter is one of the favourites.

What appealed to you most about being a brewer?

Good question. It’s hard to pick one certain aspect of being a brewer that is appealing, I love it all. When I was given the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade, it wasn’t long before I grew an enormous passion for the job. Always learning and progressing. The variety each day throws at you is probably what I love the most.

Every day is a new challenge. How could you not be into that?

The Beer Farm brewery

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for WA craft beer growth right now?

I think the growth of WA craft beer and breweries has really taken off in the past couple of years, it’s hard to see it slowing down. I can only see one obstacle and that’s competing in the market. The ‘big guys’ have really started to push into the craft market and breweries over east have really cemented themselves on WA soil which is great, also keeps everyone on their toes and that eventually brings out the greats (exceptionally good beers).

What do you look for when you are looking at a beer label / can design?

Another good question. You could look at them all day and get lost in a whole other part of the brewing industry, an important one at that! For me I think it’s something that attracts the eye instantly and is recognisable anywhere it sits.
It has to be timeless and not fade in and out with a trend.
In saying that there is some pretty cool art work being thrown on cans lately and that’s quite the novelty in itself. Really enjoying the art work coming out on Beavertown cans presently.

If you could only drink one beer per day forever, what would that beer be?

You have asked all good questions but I think this one is too hard for me to answer. There are way too many! I don’t think I would survive on this earth with just one beer a day. Thinking, thinking….. Nope can’t decide.

Weekend Reading #58

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Forbes | Eat Your Beer: Why A San Francisco Startup Is Making Granola Bars From Spent Brewing Grains

I am aware of lots of breweries who don’t let their spent grains to go waste and instead provide it for farmers to feed cattle. I love this article’s focus on the small company Regrained who are using spent grain from breweries to make granola bars.

We believe we should all be able to have our beer…and eat it too.

From the ReGrained website

If this kind of thing puts a big smile on your face, pop into Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen in Fremantle where head chef Mitch Mitchell is always putting their breweries spent grain to good use, most prominently in the form of his spent grain sourdough.

12045552_1012072992148019_4492144075903793053_o
Beer Bread  // Photo from Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen Facebook page

Draft Magazine | Renegade Brewing Co. owner Brian O’Connell talks beer festivals, drinking local and what it means to be a renegade

What I love about breweries and the stories behind why they opened is that I have never heard someone say, “I opened a brewery to make a pot of cash”. Brian’s story is just a fun, passion filled and wonderful as any other story I have heard. I particularly like the recollection of the day he realised he had to give it a shot.

I cancelled the meetings I was supposed to go to, rented a car and drove three hours out to the Delaware coast and spent the day at the Dogfish Head Brewery.

His approach to beer festivals is also of interest, not that we are reaching the same kind of numbers that the US are but being one brewery amongst a field of them begs the question as to how valuable they are for the breweries themselves, maybe is more than one way to get exposure?

Australian Brews News | Bridge Roads sets up authenticity campaign

A really interesting media release from Bridge Roads Brewers (VIC) to introduce new symbols to appear on their packaging and communications. There is this on-going debate as to whether the term “craft beer” is relevant, the can of worms really opens up when you start asking what the term means, how it should (if it should) be defined. This approach from Bridge Roads embraces the word “craft” and gives the drinker an idea of what it means. Maybe it even encourages questions from the drinker, like questions on owns others beers you like, do some breweries brew off site and, most importantly what does that mean?

Respecting-the-Carft-square-bw.jpg

The team at Bridge Road Brewers are proud of what they do and the beer they make. The symbols were developed by the team, asking themselves; what is it that makes us different? And what do I expect from the craft beer I drink?

Wall Street Journal | Line Them Up: ‘Crafty’ Expats Stir Up the Vietnamese Beer Scene

As always I really enjoy reading about the craft beer scene in other countries outside of Australia and the US, this article on Vietnam’s emerging craft beer scene, what is driving it and its growth potential is super interesting.

BrewDog | DIY Dog

This is pretty epic. Scottish craft brewery BrewDog, known for excellent beer, making a lot of noise and stuffing a beer bottle into a taxidermy squirrel, have just released their entire back catalogue of beer recipes and story along with a guide to home brewing. Like I said, epic. Even if you don’t home brew, this is a great document to download and get all beer geeky on.

Weekend Reading #56

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Draft Mag | Making Sense of the Reinheitsgebot

In April it will be 500 years since the famous Reinheitsgebot aka Germany Purity Law came into effect. This is a fantastic read to get the facts of what this law is, how and why it came about (for pricing, not for great beer) and what it really means.

The Age | Ray’s Rant: What Happened to the Good, Old Fashioned Aussie Lager?

I don’t think this article is any good so you might be wondering what it’s doing here. It is troubling to me that an article like this makes it into the mainstream press.

I understand that it’s an opinion piece more than anything but it lacks a lot of research and the strange almost patriotic language, some could be Alf Stewart quotes, is at odds with the articles conclusion of five beers he recommends which are all owned by foreign companies. It’s also interesting to note that one of the beers has been discontinued, not sure when but I think it has been some time.

Perhaps the first article I have listed would have been good for Ray to discover the premium imported lagers he enjoys are not held accountable to the Reinheitsgebot.

“Bring back the taste of Australia,” he remarks. I don’t believe for a second that Australia can be encapsulated in just the ice cold lagers that have continued to decline year after year as this and many other articles and research tells us. What happened to the good, old fashioned Aussie lager, you ask? The same thing as instant coffee and sliced white bread, the market grew and a growing number of consumers are looking for something more.

Oh and this article wouldn’t be complete with a reference “bearded hipsters” though this time it’s aimed at the brewers not the craft beer drinkers. Please don’t make name brewers just in WA who are not bearded. Whilst I’m not listing things, if Ray would like a list of Australian lagers please refer to James Smith’s book 150 Great Australian Beers, pages 34-48 – the lager section.

Gage Roads | Meet the Team: Aaron Heary

A great interview with Gage’s long time brewer Aaron and when you read about his home brews you’ll get super thirsty! The photography in this interview is also lovely.

 

5 Minutes with the guys at Colonial Brewing

5 minutes, 5 questions with the guys at Colonial Brewing – Richard Moroney, Justin Fox and Paul Wyman

Before Christmas I visited Colonial Brewing to interview Justin Fox, head brewer, Richard Moroney, brewery manager, and Paul Wyman, assistant brewer for an article that has recently appeared in Crafty Pint.

Our conversation was both informative and very funny, covering the usual beery topics and alstrange brew house games and other things I won’t mention here in case there are delicate eyes reading this!

I closed the interview with 5 quick (at times, not at others) questions and here’s the results:

What beer did you have last night?

Justin: Colonial Kolsch

Richard: Nail Clout Stout

Paul: Green Flash Rayon Vert

Best album to play in the brew house?

[everyone laughs then Justin counts to three]

All together: Wolfmother!

Paul: Kylie Minogue

Richard: Wolfmother, not Kylie Minogue

Best snack to eat with beer?

Paul: Pork

Richard: 12 hour marinated briskett that has been slow cooked on a charcoal BBQ

Me: That’s not a snack!

Justin: Medium rare meat and something massive, black and bitter

Colonial Brewing Brewer's Board
Colonial Brewing Brewer’s Board
Name one Australian beer you’d wish you’d made

Richard: The original Matilda Bay pilsner with the under modified malt and Saaz hops, that would have been awesome

Justin: Mountain Goat’s Andy Reserve Amber Ale, the one they did for GABS. But I’ve got lots, I could say I wish I did Stone & Wood – simply constructed and really accessible and that’s a bit like what we’re trying to do with project, forget all that style shit

Paul: I think I’m the same, Stone & Wood or you wish you had created Hop Hog, something that started a movement.

Justin: Don’t wish that, you beat Hop Hog! [with Monk’s The Chief]

Paul: Just brewing a beer that was the epiphany beer for someone

Justin – I’ve had it for everyone, you’ve had beers where you drink it and you just go “oh man, that’s so good I wish my porter tasted like that at the moment”. You drink Jeremy’s pilsner [Cowaramup Brewing] when it’s on song or you drink a Nail Stout and you’re thinking “Oh John, how do you do it?!” [bangs hands on table] “It’s so good” [continues to hit hands on table]

Finish this sentence – The WA craft beer scene needs more ….

[silence]

Justin: Jedis

[everyone now in hysterics]

Colonial Brewing is COOL Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!
Colonial Brewing is COOL
Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!

5 Minutes with Nick from Eagle Bay Brewing

Five minutes and five questions with Nick, head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing

It’s that time of year when you are reminded how valuable it is to spend time with the important people in your life. I think we would all agree that our local craft brewers are very important people so here’s 5 minutes and 5 quick questions to get to know Nick d’Espeissis – head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing – a little better.

Weighing husks, Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Nick weighing cacao husks
Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… days in the week!

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed …

Swan Draught, seriously!

What beer are you drinking right now?

Yallingup Coffee, not even lunch time yet! Loving the Feijoa Pale though

*note: Feijoa Pale Ale is the latest Eagle Bay Single Batch release which is a collaboration with New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys – available now (and I am keen to try soon!)

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

Eagle Bay Kolsch, the new hop bill working really well for those lazy summer days

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

ESB and blue

Eagle Bay Single Batch American Brown Ale 5.6% abv
Eagle Bay beers