Nowra’s HopDog is one of the country’s newest and smallest breweries, set up by Tim Thomas and his wife in 2011. Highly experimental in the brewhouse and with beer names that hint at his love of metal, he’s been playing around with barrels, Belgian yeasts, fruit, coffee and, it seems, pretty much anything else he can get his hands on.
Here, Mr HopDog tells us a little about what makes him tick and what got him into the whole beer malarkey in the first place…
Favourite Australian beer (other than your own)?
Bridge Road India Saison! Pure awesomeness.
Epiphany beer – the one that set you on the road to becoming a brewer?
It’s a toss up between James Squires Summer Wheat beer – it came out in 1996, it had a cockatoo on the label with an orange up its bum, and it was like “Wow! This is awesome, and it’s not Carlton Draught!” and Little Creatures Pale Ale. I remember when it won the AIBA and a mate of mine was working at Liquor Land (they were the major sponsor), but it was worth the $70 on a student wage.
Desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days? Eau Benite from Unibroue. 10 times awesome, and a rarity now a days.
Favourite beer and food match?
Mussels and Orval.
What are we likely to hear cranking from the stereo on brew days?
Metal! \m/ Most probably Hellyeah, Pantera, Armon Amarth, Anthrax, Megadeth or Static X. Even some Primus, or Tom Waits too.
Favourite place to enjoy a drink?
On my back deck.
If you were a beer style, what would you be?
Double IPA. I’m surly and bitter at the best of times, but awesome when you get to know me.
The best thing you've ever traded for beer?
My wife. She came to my house for the first time, I was brewing, I offered her a beer – Orval – and she loved it. So, Orval for her/my affections.
When I'm not making or drinking beer, you'll find me...
At home with my five-year old twins, three-year old daughter, my wife (Mrs HopDog) and a pint.
Your hope for beer in Australia?
Equality in excise reform, a better range an acceptance of craft beer in the wider community, man’s acceptance of his fellow man, and Triple J to stop playing crap techno and chill music, and bring back the metal.