Brew & A: Holgate's Ian Morgan

September 7, 2010, by Crafty Pint
Brew & A: Holgate's Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan is Paul Holgate’s right hand man at the Woodend brewery. The one-time US Marine is also an avid student of the history of beer, as you’ll see from his two-part feature “How Beer Is Made” elsewhere on the site.

But what set him on the road to becoming a brewer? Where’s his favourite place to enjoy a pint? And how bad is the selection of music on his iPod? All is revealed in the first Crafty Pint Brew & A…

Favourite Australian beer (other than your own)?
So many to choose from, but I’d have to say that Mountain Goat Hightail Ale wins for sentimental reasons as well as being a damn good beer. Way back at the turn of the century, shortly after arriving in Australia from the beer mecca of Seattle and having people thrust a mass produced lager at me and talk about how bad American beer was, I was living in Richmond and found out about the Goat open nights.

At the time it was just the first Friday of the month: Dave (Bonighton) was manning a barbecue and selling snags for $2 and there was one loo for the multitudes (men found a convenient ivy-enclosed niche down the street when lines got too long). It was inspiring to see that a few brave brewers, Paul Holgate included, were bringing flavoursome beers to Australia.

Epiphany beer – the one that set you on the road to becoming a brewer?
Not so much a beer as an entire brewery. The Big Time Brewery in Seattle was my local when I started there at uni. Up until then I’d been a godless Budweiser swilling heathen. With 12 beers on tap, including one cask ale, it was a truly mind blowing experience. I never looked back. If I had to choose one, it would probably be their Bhagwan’s Best IPA.

Desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
Pints of Holgate ESB off a beer engine.

Favourite beer and food match?
Holgate Hopinator with seared kangaroo fillets.


Holgate’s Ian Morgan and vomiting daughter


What are we likely to hear cranking from the stereo on brew days?
Given past experience, rather than any music showing what a fine and eclectic taste in music I possess, my iPod will probably start playing something from my comprehensive selection of ‘80’s one-hit wonders. What can I say? You catch a pearl and ride the dragon’s wings…

Favourite place to enjoy a drink?
Within a mile of the brewery where it was made.

If you were a beer style, what would you be?
If I drank myself, would it be cannibalism?

The best thing you’ve ever traded for beer?
My self respect. And it was worth it.

When I’m not making or drinking beer, you’ll find me…
Trying to make my baby daughter laugh – and usually succeeding in making her vomit on me as well.

Your hope for beer in Australia?
Lower excise taxes for small brewers. The excise on beer is about 1000 times what it is in the US. If small brewers were only granted a tax break equal to that already enjoyed by winemakers we’d be able to employ so many more people, improve our equipment and processes and make our beer better and faster (and hence most likely CHEAPER for the customer).

Crafty Pint note: To find out more about the campaign for fairer taxes on craft beer in Australia, visit the Fair Go for Craft Beer website.

Next up on Brew & A: the Kooinda boys reveal all…

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