In the middle of 2015, we received an email from a chap in Hobart asking for advice as he embarked on starting a beer blog. Chris Lukianenko had just left a job in marketing for Lion but was keen not to lose touch with the beer world for which he had so much passion.
Thus he launched The Beer Healer, a blog that would also allow him to indulge his passion for writing. We're not sure if out advice was of any use but we did ask him to get in touch again when the blog was up and running so we could feature it as part of our occasional Aussie Beer Blogs section.
The Beer Healer is well and truly up and running, offering a diverse array of content and opening doors into different parts of the beer and writing worlds for Chris. So, as promised in our initial emails last June, here he is to tell you all about the blog.
Name: Chris Lukianenko (Luki)
Name of blog: The Beer Healer
I enjoy weekends at the shack with my family; we go fishing, throw the kids around on the ski biscuit and just chill out (with a beer).
I am also the owner of Green Shed Brewing Co, so I like to brew beer in my spare time. We are going great guns, I now have five distributions for my Citra IPA, distributing 20 litres a month to my dad, my brother-in-law, two of my mates and myself!
When did you start the blog?
After four pints of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale one wintry night in July 2015.
Why did you start it?
I used to work for Lion Beer and, when I left, I realised how much I missed being part of the beer scene, so I thought this was a good way for me to still be involved, and maybe even score some free beers!
What first got you into craft beer?
My job at Lion, really. I was lucky enough to spend some one-on-one time with the great man, Chuck Hahn, at the Malt Shovel Brewery and then convinced him to come to the Hobart Beerfest to spread the word. A weekend with him, 10,000 beer nuts and 50-odd stalls and I was a craft beer lover for life!
I worked in marketing for Lion, but all I wanted to do was be a part of the Craft Beer Ambassador team, cos they had all the fun!
What does your blog tend to focus on?
I don’t take things too seriously, I am pretty conversational in my style and tend to go off on tangents a lot! I like to talk about all things in the entire beer world, not just Australian craft, and draw upon my past experiences in the big beer world when doing so.
I write a beer story on Mondays and a beer review on Wednesdays. The beer reviews are a bit of fun, I am no expert, so I don’t get too deep into the technical side of things and tend to weave a story in with them. One week I managed to draw a tangent between a Garage Project IPA and The Incredible Hulk roller coaster...
I have also just started playing around with video production, so every other week I put up a video beer review.
Why should people read it?
Because you never know what I am going to give you! It’s fun and light hearted and they might get a laugh, or occasionally learn something!
I also know the inside workings of big beer, so I might just accidentally blow open a big secret!
It fascinates me that we can take these four basic ingredients and produce a bazillion (yes that’s a word) different variations in colour, taste and smell with them. I love the fact that people are passionate about it and love meeting the characters involved with the industry.
What’s your favourite Australian beer?
I have so many that I want to say here, but I will nail it down to two…
Holgate Temptress, because I love to finish my nights with a dark beer, and this just smashes it.
The other is the Throwback IPA from Pirate Life, because I have kids and even a craft beer lover needs to take it easy every now and then, and this beer nails the flavour while still being mid strength.
What about non-Australian beers?
I tend to drink a lot of beers from the USA as I have spent a fair chunk of holiday time over there. It’s such a vibrant scene – and I keep a keen eye on what’s going on – so they tend to feature in my blog a fair bit.
I love Sierra Nevada Pale for its consistency and it was probably my first craft beer love, and I love Founders All Day IPA for being a game changer, packing so much into a 4.7 percent ABV.
However, the beer I love the best from over there would have to be Kona Brewing Company’s Koko Brown Ale. Many years ago, I shared a few pints of Koko with my mate Andrew, of Batch Brewing Company fame. We were drinking it at the local craft beer bar in Waikiki, the Hard Rock Cafe, and he promised me then that when his brewery got up and running he would brew his own version of it, which later became The Big Kahuna. I can’t get the Koko in Australia, but I seek it out every time I travel back to the USA.
What's your favourite time and / or place to enjoy a beer?
Friday beer o’clock at the shack… sitting on the balcony looking at the view and knowing I have two more sun soaked relaxing days ahead of me!
What are your hopes for beer in Australia?
I’d like to see the passion that we all share for craft beer break through to the mainstream, but in such a way that it’s driven by the smaller breweries, and not by everybody jumping on the mass produced gateway craft beers.
I want more people to have that epiphany moment when they try a beer that has more flavour than their regular mainstream lager and go: “Oh shit, there is more to this beer thing?” and then start their journey into beers with more flavour.
And then I would like to walk into a barbecue in five years time and see my once mainstream lager loving mates holding beers in their hands that I have never seen and then walk over and have a conversation with them all about beer!
Which three articles best show off what you do?