When it comes down to it, for all the experimentation, history, science, artistry and so on that goes into making the beer world so fun and fascinating, it is, at the end of the day, all centred around a liquid that can make us feel pleasure. And that's pretty much the sole reason Mick Wust decided to launch a beer blog.
He writes for a living, drinks beer (and eats copious amounts of food) when not writing (although we imagine there's a pretty sizeable crossover in this Venn Diagram), and has combined the two in Schoonerversity. It's not trying to be big or clever, it's him writing about what he wants as he enjoys adventures in beer..
With most of those adventures taking place in and around Brisbane, where Brewsvegas kicks off tomorrow, what better time to make him the guest in an Aussie Beer Blogs feature?
When did you start the blog?
Half way through 2015, so what… a year and a half ago. Geez. Time flies when you’re drinking beer.
Why did you start it?
It was a turbulent time in my life. I was moving house and leaving a secure job, all related to bad depression and anxiety. As I was looking to start a new "career" (whatever that means), and I loved beer, I thought I’d like to work in the craft beer industry. And since I already loved writing, I figured writing about beer made sense as a way to grow my knowledge, make contacts and even just as a new hobby.
Turns out that a career in the craft beer industry wasn’t a good fit for me. But writing vaguely beer-related rubbish is a fantastic fit!
What do you do when not drinking beer and writing about beer?
For fun? I read books, binge watch TV, desperately try to keep some potted plants alive with minimum effort, take part in a small gin-tasting club, and I attempt to be a good husband and friend.
For work? My wife and I have our own business, writing content for small businesses that brings out their personality. And I’m a part-time barista in a little cafe in Newstead. (Come to think of it, those things are pretty fun too. It’s nice to get paid for them.)
Also I eat a lot.
What first got you into craft beer?
I love eating and drinking more than most people I know – my taste buds and my belly dictate a lot of what I do. My dad and my grandad are both infamous for their eating, and I clearly got the gene.
When some mates of mine introduced me to Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale, Fat Yak and Pacific Ale (some of the classic gateway beers of 2010/11!), hunting down good beers became part of my eating/drinking regime. The fact that I had friends to share the journey with (and just to share a beer with) played a big part in that, too.
What does your blog tend to focus on?
Like most of the beer blogs around, there’s definitely an element of: “Whatever I feel like writing.”
But I tend not to write much beer news or review many beers. Other people have more interest in that and do a much better job of it than I do, so I leave them to it.
I mostly write about beer and people, or beer and life. Good people make good beer even better. The reverse is true, too: good beer improves the experiences you have with good people. I also love asking people how beer enriches their life and sharing ideas on how to enjoy beer in ways that aren’t only about the beer.
In the same way that people’s time at university isn’t only about the subjects they study, but also about the people and the experiences… well, your time at Schoonerversity isn’t only about the beer, but also about the people and the experiences surrounding it.
Why should people read it?
All I’m really aiming for is to give people a genuinely enjoyable read that’s somewhat related to beer. Anything else is a bonus.
You’ll rarely learn anything. Occasionally you’ll get a tiny peek behind the curtains of a Brisbane brewery or bar. Hopefully the rubbish I write will give you a chuckle, and keep growing your love and appreciation of beer.
What do you love and enjoy most about beer?
I love how good it is to share beer. I don’t often drink beer on my own because I crave that moment when you take your first sip, turn to the person next to you, and say: “That is a damn good beer.”
I love sharing my beer with other people, and I love when people share their beer with me. I love trying new beers and talking about them with people. I love that moment when one person says: “Another one?” and someone else says: “Definitely.”
What’s your favourite Australian beer?
Does anyone have a simple answer for this?!
My heart melts for big and boozy beers, and red and dark beers:
- Modus Operandi Former Tenant Red IPA.
- Boatrocker Ramjet, and all its variations.
- Bacchus Brewing Red Bellied Black… and any of their barrel-aged 10 percent-plus dark beers.
- Aether Brewing Viktor Imperial Red.
What about non-Australian beers?
Founders Brewing has a few that make me drool – Dirty Bastard, Curmudgeon, Backwoods Bastard, Redonkulous, KBS… they’re all absolute beauties.
And I love Knee Deep Brewing’s giant juicy IPAs.
What's your favourite time and/or place to enjoy a beer?
A slow Saturday or Sunday afternoon with mates: six hours, eight boozy monsters, and an endless supply of hot chips.
What are your hopes for beer in Australia?
Honestly, I think we’re already on a fantastic trajectory. We take quality seriously. Breweries are trying new and exciting things. Craft beer folk are keen to share their tastes with their friends.
And for the most part (in Brisbane at least!), the community is warm, with breweries and bars playing nice with each other and giving each other a leg up, in the joint cause of growing and improving the beer scene. As long as that’s the case, I can only imagine good things happening.
If you're reading this in time, Brewsvegas 2017 kicks off with a launch party at Newstead Brewing's new venue in Milton on March 9.