South Australia's Next Wave Pt II

September 14, 2016, by Matt King

South Australia's Next Wave Pt II

Last Wednesday, we showcased three of the new brewing companies set to launch in South Australia in the coming months. Here, in part two of his look at what lies ahead for the state's brewing scene, Matt King gets the lowdown on four more that hope to have their first beers out soon.

Left Barrel Brewing

Who are you?

My name is Brad Bown from Left Barrel Brewing. We are located in Balhannah, in the Adelaide Hills. The beers we brew will be left of centre; I’m left handed and we will be barrel-ageing a number of beers. The name seemed to fit nicely.

What is your brewing background?

I’ve been a home brewer for close to 20 years now, have won numerous awards in state and national competitions and I’ve also assisted head brewers on a number of commercial systems in recent years across SA. Therefore, it was a natural step for me to make the jump to go pro. 

It’s been in planning for a year or so now and I’m keen to have a number of beers in the marketplace that bring different yeast profiles to the public.

What sort of beer do you like to make / drink and what will your core range look like?

Any beer with flavour and balance, be it sour beers, Brett [Brettanomyces] beers, barrel-aged imperial stouts, hop heavy IPAs or even a well made lager.  

Our core range will depend largely on the market, but I’m hoping to push the barrel-aged, tart and sour beers. Add in some wild fermented beers, and generally pushing the boundaries for our planned seasonal releases.

Anything else we should know?

I’ll release more information on [our first] beer once I am ready in mid-September, along with the many outlets that (I hope) will stock our beer!

Mephisto Brewing

Who are you?

My name is Pete Wellington and my brewery’s name is Mephisto Brewing Co. My homebrewing background, coupled with my experiences overseas, inevitably led me to begin a beer pilgrimage across Europe. I began travelling to cities and villages specifically to visit breweries of interest. It wasn’t until one of my last days before returning to Australia that I ventured upon the name Mephisto.

After researching its origin and understanding the themes and characters of the piece of German literature, Faust, I felt I related to the story. The more I thought about it, the more similarity and empathy I felt with the characters of this story. 

[You can read about Faust's Mephisto / Mephistopheles here]

What is your brewing background?

Having been brought up surrounded by homebrewers, my father introduced me to brewing at a young age. As soon as I was old enough to pull the level on the bottle capper, that became my job. 

I think the first batch of beer I made by myself was at 17, starting out how all homebrewers start: brewing questionable flavours and tastes. 

On return to Australia, my thoughts leaned more and more towards the possibility of opening a nanobrewery. The more I researched and the more I brewed, the more my thoughts became consumed by all things beer. Many of my friends and family would stare blankly as I began to spiral off onto a tangent talking about alpha amylase, beta amylase, cohumulone, and microflora. 

People have often said to me: “Let’s talk about something other than beer.” 

I could no longer work in the wine industry when my passion so clearly was devoted to brewing.

What sort of beer do you like to make / drink and what will your core range look like?

People often ask me what my favourite beer is. I can never answer this because it depends so much on the weather, my mood and the occasion. 

In older times, styles of beer were only seasonally available as the ingredients and fermentation temperatures relied on the weather. Nowadays, anyone can buy a stout from their local bottleshop on a 42 degree day. 

The beers which I have chosen to brew in my first 12 months of production are an IPA for Spring, pale ale for Summer, wheat beer for Autumn and stout for Winter.

Forktree Brewing

Who are you?

My name is Ben Hatcher and our brewery is called Forktree Brewing. We have a family farm in Carrickalinga (pictured at the top of this article) that formed part of the Forktree estate in the region in the 1800s and the proposed brewery location is situated on Forktree Road.

What is your brewing background?

Like a lot of people, I started out with the Coopers kit, worked up to kit and kilo and then made the jump to all grain. I completed the all grain home brewing course with Stephen Nelsen at Regency TAFE last year and invested in the kit to do 50 litre batches at home and haven’t looked back. 

This year, I did the Micro Brewing course, again with Stephen at Regency, and have been fortunate enough to help out at a couple of micro scale breweries as well. [I have] a passion for creativity and having the ability to put something that I have crafted into a glass for people to enjoy. 

What sort of beer do you like to make / drink and what will your core range look like?

I like making ales with a bit of a twist; something that maybe people haven’t tried before and that doesn’t really fit strictly into a specific style. I’m liking pales and IPAs at the moment and have started to get a bit of a taste for the darker styles. 

We’re looking to do some beers that fit into our location. The three that we’ve pretty well locked in are a Sunrise Ale (golden ale), Sunset Ale (Oz Red Ale), and a robust porter (yet to be named). We’ll also look to do what I like to call a SFA (Southern Fleurieu Ale) that we may look to do as a collaboration with our neighbours at Smiling Samoyed.

Anything else we should know?

I just love the local craft scene in South Australia. Everyone is really on board with helping out with any questions about starting up. It’s a real pleasant departure from the corporate world and I guess it benefits everyone to have a heap of people making great beers and making South Australia a destination for quality craft beer.

Beer Garden Brewing

Who are you?

We are Mark and Janie Butterworth, plus there’s our three sons: three mini Master Brewers in training. We are a family-owned and operated brewery called Beer Garden Brewing. The name is literal in that we will be opening “The Beer Garden” in Port Lincoln. 

Sustainability and permaculture are a big part of our lifestyle so it fits that we bring that into the business and, with the brewery situated on roughly an acre, it makes perfect sense. Thinking more longer term, the Eyre Peninsula grows about 45 percent of South Australia’s grain crop, including malting barley, and we really want to be able to use this in our finished product; the Eyre Peninsula is therefore our garden in a way. 

We are based in Port Lincoln with our site (an old bakery, pictured below) just outside the CBD of town. It’s a really beautiful but seasonal coastal town so we are really pushing to open for the summer season, which is awesome in Port Lincoln. We are hoping to commence building renovations in September and then bring in Prancing Pony’s old 10 hectolitre brewhouse, commission and start brewing before the end of the year.

What is your brewing background?

Mark’s background is in Process Engineering and Janie’s is in Analytical Chemistry and Quality Control and both skill sets complement brewing really well. We have been brewing for 15 years and over the last 12 months we have both gained brewing qualifications through Regency TAFE.  

We are really enjoying the challenge (most days) of bringing together all the various facets of experience needed to start a business in arguably the best industry to be in. After years in the mining industry and living out in the outback of South Australia it really was a case of coming up with a business idea that we really had a passion for and would work in our chosen home town of Port Lincoln. We wanted to use our backgrounds but work in an industry where we could genuinely enjoy work and as they say: “not work a day in our lives”.

What sort of beer do you like to make / drink and what will your core range look like?

Well, we are both pretty much seasonal drinkers and after just getting through our most freezing winter in 15 years it has been pretty much stout, stout and more stout. You’d have to say though that Mark loves his wheat beers (which is handy as we have a few hundred acres of cropping land up in Cowell) and Janie loves malty, full bodied dark ales. We will do a full range of beers considering there isn’t really much on offer between about Perth and the Clare Valley! 

Anything else we should know?

We’ve been rapt with how welcoming almost everyone has been to us as new entrants to the craft beer industry. We’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Adelaide Beer and BBQ Festival, the CBIA Conference and a number of craft breweries across Australia, and we are excited about how passionately people talk about craft beer and are willing to share what they’re doing. We look forward to being a part of that and welcoming people to our brewery when we open, hopefully, later in the year.

Sustainability is a key focus for us; we’re aiming to re-use as much of our “waste” water as possible, establish a permaculture garden, be 100 percent solar powered and create some really positive interactions with the community to spread this message.  

Craft breweries are a great platform from which sustainability messages can be displayed with the community, and we aim to go as hard as our capital will allow!

You can check out part one of Matt's feature here. Or drop him a line if you've got something going on in beer in SA that we should know about.

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