The Melbourne Festival kicks off today (Oct 11), heralding two weeks of arts events all over the city. Many of the best shows and gigs are taking place at the 1200 capacity Festival Hub that has been erected on the banks of Yarra.
For the second year running, Boatrocker will be providing the beers at the Hub, meaning that you don’t have to suffer Crownies or Boags while indulging your cultural side. Look out for the likes of Smash! and Alpha Queen on the pop-up bar by the Yarra.
To mark the occasion – and Boatrocker being named Best Brewery and Best Beer at this week’s Good Beer Showcase – we posed a few questions of Matt as part of our resurrected Brew & A series.
Favourite Australian beer (other than your own)?
For consistency, quality, and flavour, I’d have to say Feral Hop Hog IPA. It’s a great pale ale that is always on song.
Epiphany beer – the one that set you on the road to becoming a brewer?
I’d have to say Cantillon Lambic, uncarbonated, served from a ceramic pitcher at the brewery. It opened my eyes to another world.
Desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
Just one! Crikey, that’s tough! If only there was a beer to compete with the Wonka chewing gum that Violet Beauregarde couldn’t resist!
As there isn’t, I think I’d go with a Gueuze. Enough acidity to quench my thirst, and enough alcohol to make me forget I couldn’t escape the desert isle!
Favourite beer and food match?
Personally, it depends on the time of year, and what’s in season. I find the Belgian abbey beers just superb with slow cooked meats, or bright and zesty IPAs with spicy marinated bbq meats. But then a nice imperial stout with Stilton is just awesome. [Yes it is. Yes it is.]
What are we likely to hear cranking from the stereo on brew days?
The reggae show on PBS on Friday is great, and gets us in the mood for the weekend. Other than that, [other Boatrocker brewer] Matt’s iPod is full of Frank Zappa, Bamboos and many many more keep us happy!
Favourite place to enjoy a drink?
The front garden of our brewery, as it gets all the afternoon sun, and is a great place to do some quality control.
If you were a beer style, what would you be?
Tough question! Either a Flanders Red (barrel-aged, slightly tart, but refreshing), or a pale ale (balanced, approachable, enjoyable). [We’re leaning towards the former, Matt!]
The best thing you’ve ever traded for beer?
Other beers! Really lovely barrel-aged ones! Oohh, they were good!
When I’m not making or drinking beer, you’ll find me...
Spending time with my family, or tending the hop garden for our research project.
Your hope for beer in Australia?
That beer is on a level pegging (or greater) than wine; that it is seen as more than swill; that the Australian people embrace it for what it is: a socially essential drink that brings people together, and makes the world a better place; that the understanding of beer as an agricultural product is realised by politicians and public alike.