The chances are that more Aussies – and indeed more beer drinkers overseas – are going to be hearing and seeing more of the Australian Brewery in the future. Having started up in Sydney’s northwest three years ago, they’ve been steadily working through a staged plan described to us by their Beer Ambassador David Ward as:
- Open the brewery and start selling beers internally at the venue
- Get draught beer out around Sydney
- Move into packaging (which they did as the first Aussie micro to opt for cans)
- Set up national distribution
- Explore overseas markets
With David having just completed a tour of Melbourne to spruik their latest seasonal, a small but growing presence in Queensland and exports due to begin to India, it would seem things are going very much to plan.
So we thought we’d bring back our Brew & A feature, one that offers an insight into the brewers behind the beers. We asked some questions of head brewer Neal Cameron, a man with a long, distinguished career in brewing and a respected beer judge who, it transpires, also has a serious passion for Black Sabbath….
Neal Cameron (pictured above) – Head Brewer at the Australian Brewery
Favourite Australian beer (other than your own)?
Murray’s Anniversary Ale. [Murray’s head brewer] Shawn grabbed one from Murray’s personal stack a couple of years ago and we enjoyed it together. A truly stunning beer made all the more wonderful through sharing with the brewer – and the fact it was knocked off.
Epiphany beer – the one that set you on the road to becoming a brewer?
I think I was destined to do it from the womb – my Mum used to enjoy a Guinness during pregnancy (I think the doctors used to hand it prescriptions for the stuff then).
A trip to Mahrs Brau in Bamberg in 2003 was the real clincher. Their cask conditioned lager – ungespundetes served straight from the cask – was a lightbulb moment. I have been trying to recreate that sense of wonder in a beer every since.
Desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
I’m sure there should be a rule against beer narcissism however I developed our Pilsner to be my ideal beer – and it is.
Favourite beer and food match?
An unpasteurised pint of Guinness with Dublin Bay Oysters and Soda bread and salted butter – drunk and eaten in one of those dreadfully Irish pubs along the Harbour Bar in Dublin city centre.
What are we likely to hear cranking from the stereo on brew days?
Black Sabbath followed by Black Sabbath with perhaps a bit of Johnny 5 thrown in for some cheerfulness.
Favourite place to enjoy a drink?
Harts Pub in the Rocks.
If you were a beer style, what would you be?
A dusty import nearing its sell by date.
The best thing you’ve ever traded for beer?
My wife. Seriously. [Tis true – ask him!]
When I’m not making or drinking beer, you’ll find me...
Writing about beer, talking about beer or walking the dogs: Schofferhofer & Rosie.
Your hope for beer in Australia?
That we move away from the tactical IBU/ABV race and move to the same passion for quality, depth of flavour and some semblance of drinkability.