Since launching in 2016, the colourful decals of Mephisto Brewing Co have been staring out from the taps of many of South Australia's craftiest haunts.
As Australia's only brewing company with a German literature-inspired name, Mephisto is one that stands out just as well as the characters that grace the beers with which they share a name. The man behind the brewery, Pete Wellington, is a brewer led by his passion both for the traditional brewing culture of Germany where he used to live and the modern world of craft beer.
Ahead of the brewing company's second birthday at Treasury 1860 in Adelaide, we thought it was high time we invited Pete on to tell his story as the latest entry in our Who Brews...? series.
Mephisto Brewing Co
Who Are You?
Pete Wellington, owner and head brewer at Mephisto.
Where do you brew?
I have a production facility located in the Southern Vales region of South Australia and the beers are brewed on a custom-built four-vessel system.
Why do you brew?
Nothing beats the rush I get from conjuring a beer in my mind and the process of brewing it, with a level of anticipation of being able to pour it into my glass.
What beers have you released to date?
So far my commercial release beers have been:
- Wagner IPA
- Mephisto Stout
- Faust Pale Ale
- Gretchen Wheat
- Edgware British Stock Ale
- 1.21 Gigawatts Imperial Hoppy lager
- Black Banana Belgian Dark Strong Ale
What's the inspiration behind the brewery name?
The name Mephisto is a character from the book Faust, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the early 1800s. I drew similarities to the main character because he was followed by a black dog, which is a common reference in today's society to depression, which I had battles with in my younger years.
In the book, the black dog later reveals himself as Mephisto (the devil) and offers, in return for Faust's soul, to grant him all knowledge of all sciences.
I felt that it was a fitting name for my business because my emotional struggles are what led me to start my own business, and I do anything to learn as much about brewing science as I can fit into a lifetime.
Also, I believe that to turn your passion and art into an income you sometimes have to "sell you soul".
Is there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
While living in Franconia, in Bavaria, I found myself saturated in traditional beer culture. To say the least, it was an incredible experience. However, this led me to start thinking about the future of beer and this is when I realised that I could be a part of beer's history and help shape its direction.
While tradition has an incredibly important role to play, the evolution of our relationship with beer is ever-changing and exciting.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
All my fridge space is currently jam-packed with hops and yeast, leaving little space for much else. However, I do have a growler filled with a high gravity Belgian Blonde Ale which a close friend of mine brewed.
What would be your desert island beer?
Berliner Weisse would have to be my first pick if I was to be stranded on a desert island because it is perfectly suited for beach weather. You can drink tons of it and not get too pissed! It is refreshing as hell and there's not much that you can't put with it.
If your brewery was a band, who would it be?
That is a very difficult question to answer because when it comes to the beers I brew I am a stickler for precision. However, the way I go about the rest of my business is not necessarily orthodox.
This train of thought leads me to think about Eric Clapton who said, when asked about composing, something like: "Learn everything and then forget it."
So, in the brewery I am like a one man string quartet where everything is practised and rehearsed and only performed when it is perfect, but in the marketplace I am like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Where do you hope your brewery will be in ten years from now?
The next growth stage of the business will commence in 2019 when production volume is set to increase and canning will begin for the House Series Beers.
As well as this, we will be revealing our mobile bar and intend to see everybody at local Adelaide festivals. As far as what the next ten years will look like, I am sure there will be others who will join the team and, who knows, there might be a venue planned, possibly even export of cans overseas.
Where can people find your beers?
Currently, Mephisto Brewing Co beers rotate through the taps of some of the smaller, independently owned bars in and around Adelaide.
If you're reading this before Mephisto's second birthday, you can find the details by heading here.
And you can find other entries in our Who Brews...? series by heading here.