Anyone who’s a regular at beer events around Victoria will have come across Prof Pilsner: wise-cracking beer dinner host, restaurant manager, beer blogger and all round top bloke. He also gave The Crafty Pint lots of lifts to pubs when his leg was busted so we won’t hear a bad word said about him; instead, here’s what he has to say about himself…
Name: Pete Mitcham, aka Prof Pilsner
Blog: Beer Blokes
Started: November 2006
I write about:
Lean towards social & cultural aspects of beer and drinking in Australia as well as being an unashamed advocate of the Australian Craft Beer Scene
What you do when not blogging:
House Husband to three beautiful girls, and Regular Husband to a beautiful wife who has allowed me to further my quest for better beer for 20 years. Manager of the Courthouse Restaurant in Berwick by night and host of Beer Events through Beer Blokes. SES Volunteer (Road Crash Rescue) and School & Kinder committeeman. No time for much else, really.
Why did you start writing the blog?
It was one of those "happy accidents", really. A group of mates who I've known since Primary School get together for a Melbourne Cup Day Syndicate every year and we see if we can all get rid of a fifty dollar investment before the fifth race. In 2006 we actually came away with a bit of cash and two of us decided to buy the Home Brew kit we had always talked about. I named the venture, "Beer Blokes".
He’s a bit of a tech-head and he set up the blog to chart our progress as brewers. He rang me one day and "introduced" himself as Dr Lager. I replied as Prof Pilsner and Beer Blokes was born. He got bored of the blog after a single post and decided his role would be Technical Support and Product Testing, so now it's just me.
I found that I was soon bored to snores with the homebrew posts and slowly branched out into writing about new releases or trends as observed in the restaurant regarding beer and beer & food matching. People I met through work would ask questions and I would write the answers to the blog.
I then took up literary arms against the do-gooders who would use to the media to have us all believe that beer is the cause of all of our modern social ills and that legislation that disadvantages the good guys is a substitute for re-educating the bad guys.
I have never really done beer reviews because I feel that beer is such a subjective thing and taste and perception of flavour is a very personal thing. Likewise, I'll never bag a beer because, to someone, it might be just what they're looking for in a beer and who am I to disagree?
Why should people read it?
Those who enjoy reading my blog I suspect are those who, like me, don't take their beer too seriously. Beer itself is a social drink, the glue that bonds and really shouldn't be taken seriously or dissected and poked with sticks. Enjoy your beer for what it is and let it tell you its own story. I always say: "There's no such thing as a bad beer – just one you wouldn't have again."
What do you love / enjoy most about beer?
The more I have really looked into the whole craft beer scene, the more amazed I am at the range of styles and flavours. In my personal quest for further knowledge and, as a result of being able to share my passion, I would have to say that seeing someone genuinely surprised at how much they enjoy a beer that I have suggested is a continuing highlight. Breaking down the novices' perceptions of what beer CAN be and getting people just to try something different is very gratifying.
Your favourite Australian beer?
At The Courthouse Restaurant we have over 80 beers on the list and I get asked to name a favourite every shift. If I have to commit to just one, I'll be really SOFT and say a certain easy drinking well balanced Pale Ale from a certain Victorian Craft Brewer is always in my fridge. Is that diplomatic enough?! They know who they are. Or DO they!?!
Favourite non-Australian beer?
Weihenstephaner Pilsner. There, does that make up for my earlier non-committal? Oooh! Hang on! Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Or Tradition. Or maybe their Korbinian. Damn!!
Favourite place to enjoy a beer?
Anywhere, anyplace, anytime – as long as it is with mates.
Hopes for beer in Australia?
I can already see a massive shift just in the attitude of the next generation of drinkers. Through the Courthouse Restaurant and "clubs" like Ale Stars at The Local Taphouse I see younger people, male and female, willing to try new styles of Craft Beer where even five years ago they may have been drawn to mass produced and heavily advertised mainstream beers. I hope this wave gathers momentum so that Craft Brewers are able to keep producing a range of alternatives to the ordinary!
Like what you see? Then head over to Beer Blokes and join the Prof on his beery adventures.