5 minutes with Jack from Indian Ocean Brewing

‘5 minutes with’ is a 5 question Q&A with great beer people, this edition features Jack Purser, head brewer at Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

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.

Joel from DTC and Jack brewing up 50L of Russian Imperial Stout - to be released winter 2017
Joel from DTC and Jack brewing up 50L of Russian Imperial Stout – to be released winter 2017

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.

Little Red Fish at Long Chim Perth
Little Red Fish at Long Chim Perth

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.

Jack Purser and Brody Watts, Indian Ocean Brewing Co
Jack Purser and Brody Watts, Indian Ocean Brewing Co. Photo from Indian Ocean Brewing Facebook

girl + indi brew day

Invite me along to a brewery and I’m going to be a very happy girl, it’s really that simple.

Last Saturday I was at the Indian Ocean Brewery in Mindarie for their annual Indi Brew Day, a day offering brewery tours and tastings of the full Indi range with the brewer, Dave.

Invite me along to a brewery and I’m going to be a very happy girl, it’s really that simple.

Last Saturday I was at the Indian Ocean Brewery in Mindarie, invited along to their annual Indi Brew Day – a day offering brewery tours and tastings of the full Indi range with the brewer, Dave.

For those who don’t know the Indi it’s a brewpub in the Mindarie Marina. To get there just drive along freeway north until you can’t go any further, then go a little further. Soon you’ll see the signs to take you to the clear blue water of the marina where you’ll see plenty of boats belonging to far wealthier folk than me.

Mindarie Marina
Mindarie Marina – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

I have to admit that it had been many, many years since I visited the Indi , mostly due to the distance required to drive there.

Now that I’ve been I have to say quite simply that if you like beer it’s well worth the trip

The Indi Brew Day was a great opportunity to catch up on all that was happening at the brewery, meet their brewer Dave Brough and, of course, taste the range of beers on offer.

I also did an interview with Dave that you can read here where Dave talks about his beers, being awarded WA’s best brewery at last years Perth Royal Beer Show and gives us a sneak peak into his beer for Melbourne’s Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) coming up in May.
Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing
Dave Brough, brewer at Indi – Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing

Dave took the group through his beers starting with the White Cap, a Belgian-style witbier and finishing things off with the Stout.

The White Cap is a great example of the style, showcasing big bubblegum aromas, rounded citrus flavours and just a hint of spice. It’s not hard to see why the beer took out a gold medal at the 2013 Perth Royal Beer Show.

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

Bohemian Pilsner: Generally speaking a more full bodied pilsner compared to German counterparts, it originated in Pilsen in the Czech Republic with Pilsner Urquell

Personally my favourites from the range were the Indi Pils and the Big Red.

It’s always nice to stick your nose into a glass of pilsner and get big interesting aromas. Dave’s Indi Pils is based on a bohemian style pilsner with light cereal malt aromas, some stone fruit aroma and flavour with a lingering bitterness. Well balanced and easily worthy of a pint or four.

The Big Red is an American style red ale with fresh tropical hop aromas, I got a lot of mango, that follows through in flavour with a little toasty malt to keep things balanced.

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Big Red – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

It doesn’t matter how many brewery tours I go on I always learn something new and the tour with Dave through his brew house was no exception.

Good Beer Week is an annual ten day celebration of beer in Melbourne, happening this year May 17-25. GABS happens on the last weekend and showcases more than 100 new beers. Very exciting stuff!

Dave is the only brewer at Indi which, as he pointed out, there isn’t much room for anyone else anyway. “It’s a brewery shoehorned into a broom closest,” he said with a laugh at the start of the tour. He took the group through the brewing process and finish things off with a tasting straight from the fermentation tank of his Belgian Blonde, his entry to this years GABS – the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) in Melbourne during Good Beer Week. Can’t wait to try the finished product in May!

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Belgian Blonde straight from the tank – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

Big thanks to all involved in the Indi Brew Day and for inviting me along to take part!

Thank you Laura Moseley, social media & event consultant and passionate foodie for inviting me.

Thank you to Mindarie Marina, all the staff at Indi Ocean and a huge thank you to Dave for taking the time to talk through his beers and take us through the brewery.