5 minutes with Steve Wearing from Homestead Brewery

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.

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!)

3 Ravens Juicy IPA

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.

 

Homestead + first impressions

Homestead Brewery in the Swan Valley have made a great first impression on me and I’ll be spending many a sunny afternoons in their beer garden

My first impressions of Perth’s latest brewery, Homestead Brewery, can be summed up as follows – awesome, really big, friendly and damn good beer.

I could leave it here, maybe throw a few photos up, but it seems too lazy to be even remotely comical so I’ll press on.

Located in the Swan Valley, Homestead is really freaking big. It’s more than just a brewery, it is a pub, it is a dedicated functions space, a beer garden, a deli, a fine dining restaurant and don’t forget there is also Mandoon Estate winery and cellar door too.

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Mandoon Estate vineyards

For me the first big tick is for friendly staff who seem to genuinely give a damn. When I visited last week with Mitch aka Beersine, we were served by Liam who happily took me through a taster of the four beers currently available.

Homestead on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The second big tick is for seriously tasty beers. Kaiser’s Choice Hefeweizen was delightful, just the right amount of banana and soft spice that reminded me why I fell in love with this style of beer in the first place. The No 1 Premier, a Belgian Pale Ale, immediately reminded me of fruit tingle lollies with it’s almost sherbet-like flavour upfront and big carbonation. We were surprised to hear Liam say it had been the most popular so far. The Pale Ale, named Thunderbird, was bursting with that familiar American hop nose we’ve come to adore and the Black Swan Black IPA was fantastic, that perfect balance of roasty and hoppy that makes you want to do a little dance.

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If you’re keen: great article on Crafty Pint on Homestead Brewing – ‘Setting up Homestead’

Mitch and I visited Homestead for work purposes, planning the details of our upcoming WA Beer Week Event – Beer and Food Masterclass so we painfully restricted ourselves to just one beer. I picked the No 1 Premier because it really grabbed me in that first taster. The sherbet-like sweetness mellowed out into a well rounded, stone fruit and vibrant beer I could easily have a few of on a warm afternoon. This will be a hit of the summer!

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