There's around 20 breweries and brewing companies that call Tasmania home today. Yet most of them have less than a year or two under their belts, making Launceston based Morrison Brewery something of an elder statesman on the scene. This week sees the family run business turn five, with celebrations taking place in the form of a tap takeover at Saint John Craft Beer this evening.
Despite being around half a decade old, however, there will be fewer readers on the mainland aware of the brewery than they are of, say, Moo Brew, Two Metre Tall, Seven Sheds or Van Dieman. Yet, on The Crafty Pint's visits to the state, it doesn't take long to come across locals ready and willing to sing the praises of the brewery launched by Paul Morrison, his wife and their wider family in 2011.
The brewery started out on the back of success for Paul in a number of homebrew competitions. At the time, he was working in local orchards but decided to put the skills refined at home to test on a commercial scale. Initially, the focus was on British and Irish style ales: a Dry Irish Stout, an English Bitter and a lovely Irish Red. More recently, the scope has expanded, taking in US influenced beers, such as a Pale Ale, hoppy Amber, IPAs and more. We've long been a fan of his Saison too, which did well in our latest blind tasting.
At present, you rarely see Paul's beers on the mainland (although we believe they're looking to make inroads so drop them a line, venues, if you're looking for something different for your taps) but can find them fairly widely around Tasmania.
So, as he prepares to tap some new beers for the brewery's birthday this evening, we invited Paul to become the guest in our latest Brew & A.
Why are you a brewer?
I love the process, seeing a beer through from recipe development to drinking. Seeing the enjoyment that people get from what we do and opening them up to how great beer can be is a big plus.
What would you be if you weren’t a brewer?
I can't really see myself doing anything else now.
What was your epiphany beer?
Meantime IPA. After drinking a lot of really hop heavy IPAs, this beer really showed me how great a beer can be if it's properly balanced. Sometimes just throwing bucket loads of hops at something doesn’t make it great.
Saison Dupont is also a pretty special beer for me.
How did you first get involved in the beer world?
I started homebrewing and, after entering and doing quite well in a few competitions, the decision was made to go commercial.
What's the best beer you’ve ever brewed?
We are continually growing and evolving what we do so I don’t think we have brewed our "best" beer yet. Highlights to date would have to be our Irish Red Ale, Saison, and Smoked Chilli Black IPA.
What's your single favourite ingredient to use in beer?
Malt. In today's hop fuelled world I think that the malt component of beer is severely lacking. To me, malt is everything: build a fantastic malt base and you can make it sparkle with carefully planned hop additions.
Are there any beers you’ve brewed that might have been better left on the drawing board?
Not so far, I was quite surprised at the success of our 2016 GABS beer Hot & Sour: a kettle sour with Trinidad Scorpion chilli, coriander and lime inspired by Vietnamese hot and sour dipping sauce.
What's your desert island beer –the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
I'm a big pilsner fan at the moment and a good one can be hard to find. Croucher Pilsner is a favourite.
If you couldn’t have beer, what would be your tipple of choice?
Single malt whisky, preferably heavily peated.
And the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone considering a career in craft beer?
Go for it. It can be extremely hard work but very rewarding at the same time.
Thanks, Paul. Enjoy the celebrations.
Past Brew & A articles can be found here.