The first time The Crafty Pint met Vince de Soyres it was in the bowels of the Flat Rock Brew Cafe. He had just moved down to Sydney from Port Macquarie, where he'd been brewing at the Little Brewing Company, and was about to take charge of the brewing beneath the Naremburn venue.
Offering Vince the gig proved to be an inspired choice for Flat Rock's owners as he quickly built on the good work they were already starting. During his tenure the brewpub put out a staggering number of different beers in different styles – from cask ale to year-long, barrel-aged blends – done to increasingly high standards, evidenced when Flat Rock started medaling regularly at major beer shows.
At some point during this time, we were also introduced to Thomas Cauquill, who was busy serving up some very impressive food as Flat Rock's head chef. That Vince and Thomas are both French seemed merely incidental at the time, but less so once we learned they'd teamed up and hatched a plan to open a French bistro and brewery in Alexandria later this year.
So, as they move from gyspy brewer and chef to brewery / bistro owners, we asked Vince to expand on their plans with a Who Brews? feature on Frenchies....
Frenchies Bistro and Brewery
Who are you?
We are two Frenchies: a chef (Thomas) and a brewer (Vince)
Where do you brew?
At the moment we gypsy brew at Casey's Brewery [Penrith] while we are setting up our brewery on Mitchell Road in Alexandria, which is due to open at the end 2016.
Why do you brew?
We want to bring some new and exciting flavours to the table and share them with our customers. You can get an idea from our core range where we use Comet, Strisselspalt, Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, Triskel – hops that you don't see much in Australia.
Our seasonal brews focus mainly on French styles – wheat beers, biere de garde, grand cru, sours, saison and fruit beers – but also on French ingredients in more typical styles like pilsners and lagers.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
I started my studies in Germany (in Cologne and in South Germany). That's where I discovered many new varieties of beer and the social dimension. When I came back to France I saw clearly what to do with myself!
What beers have you released to date?
I don't count them anymore! But under the Frenchies label we have:
- Old World IPA: Our first release with Frenchies. A golden Euro oatmeal IPA hopped with new hop varieties from France and Germany: Hallertau Blanc, Mandarina Bavaria, Triskel and French Columbus.
- Kolsch: Inspired by the Muehlen Kolsch Brauerei at the Heumarkt in Cologne, it's quite malty and hoppy for a Kolsch with the authentic fruity touch from fermentation.
- Comet Pale Ale: This has a caramel backbone to balance the intensity and complexity of the Comet hops. It's quite citrusy, spicy and earthy.
- Summer 2016: A seasonal hoppy summer ale using our favourite hops from the year: Citra, Galaxy, Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic
- Blanche: A French wheat beer brewed with bergamot, mandarin peel and coriander.
Where can people find your beers?
In most good craft beer bars in Sydney, and soon in our own venue in Alexandria.
What's the inspiration behind the brewery name?
In every restaurant kitchen and brewery we’ve worked since arriving in Australia, we’ve always been called "Frenchies". As two "Frenchies" living in Australia, with an immense love of the Australian lifestyle and its people, we decided to adapt our Parisian bistronomy culture to the Australian taste and terroir.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
I have our Old World IPA and Kolsch, and one bottle of each of the Christmas Ale 2013 and 2014 from the Little Brewing Company.
Which beers are found in your fridge most frequently?
Frenchies beers, as well as lots of biere de garde from various breweries. I like to drink with my meals and I found the biere de garde style matches well my French cooking.
Where do you hope your brewery will be in ten years from now?
I hope it will be still on Mitchell Road, brewing beers and serving meals for the neighbourhood. We don't intend to become a big brewery. We just hope to stay true to ourselves, brewing and cooking with love for people living nearby.
Keep tabs with the Frenchies via their Facebook page.
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