In a craft beer world filled with experimental recipes and exotic flavours, sometimes all you want is a straightforward, everyday beer. At least, that’s the motivation behind Pat Casey’s eponymous brewery in Penrith.
Pat has been in the business of beer for fifteen years. A keen homebrewer since he picked up the art back in England many moons ago, he opened his first homebrew shop, Blue Mountains Brewing Supplies, at Faulconbridge in 2003. Currently, he is the owner of Absolute Homebrew at Penrith, his second homebrew store, which opened at St Marys in 2006. Since opening the first store, he’s seen plenty of beer trends come and go, but has recognised the consistent demand for good quality easy drinking beers.
Thus, he decided to start his own brewery to produce exactly that. The centrepiece is a second-hand, steam-powered, 1,800 litre Bohemian Monobloc Brewhouse sourced from the USA that has retained its original copper jacketing. In 2015 – a few unitanks, a mill and a bottling line later – he was almost ready to complete the picture. Before jumping in headfirst, though, he decided to iron out a few kinks in the system first.
Initially, Pat rented out his tanks to some of Sydney’s gypsy brewers, giving them the opportunity to scale up their beers while giving him the opportunity to test out his setup. He had a go on his own system too, contract brewing for various companies. Eventually, he gained the confidence and raised the capital for the last piece of the puzzle: his own cool room. Then, jigsaw complete, production of the Casey’s range finally began.
The core range consists of three beers – Lounge, a pilsner-inspired pale golden ale, Night, a malty black ale in the tradition of NSW Old beers, and Tifter, a “3C” bitter amber ale named for the three hops it contains: Centennial, Chinook and Cascade. Every two to three months, these are joined by a different seasonal beer, keeping the range at a manageable four or five.
Yet, the most unique feature of Casey’s Beer is not the beers themselves, but rather how they are sold. Aside from the occasional tap at the pub or odd bottle on a shelf, the majority of the beer is delivered straight to the customer via a home delivery service. The packaging is designed especially for posting, and Pat uses Australia Post's wine delivery service to ensure the best care in delivery. Punters can choose between straight cases of any of the three core beers, or a mixed case containing the cores plus whatever the current seasonal happens to be. And, for those who wish to try before they buy, the brewery is now open four days a week for tastings and sales.
By selling direct, Pat believes he’s able to offer not only a better price, but a more consistent quality – something that’s particularly important for a beer that can’t hide behind excessive hopping or additional flavours. Although, instead of taking Pat’s word for it, he insists everyone try for themselves. After all, a home-delivered taste test is only a few clicks away. And, if you don't like any of the beers, they come with a money back guarantee.
Marie Claire Jarratt