Good Beer Week 2016 – 2/8/16

Hi all, welcome to the NBC blog. My name is Andrew Dean, Assistant Brewer at Northbridge Brewing Company, and this month, I’ll be sharing a little about myself and my recent adventures as an aspiring brewer.

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As brewers, we all love a beer, and admittedly it’s what drew me to it, drinking beer as part of your job is pretty appealing, but it’s a bit more involved than that. My role at the company involves product handling through all stages, from yeast propagation, brewing and filtration to problem solving, as well as creative input and recipe development, most importantly, heaps and heaps of cleaning, which is arguably 80% of the job. It can certainly be dull at times, but at the end of the day when the brewery is tidy and the beer tastes great, you feel pretty freakin’ satisfied.

Work aside for the moment, a few months ago, Head Brewer Ken and I headed to Melbourne for the tail end of Good Beer Week 2016, which is a great opportunity to network and see what brewers around the country and the globe have been up to. Along with Alan Proctor from Billabong Brewing, we sampled beers at the Crafty Squire, Artisan Brewing’s Red Rye Saison and Mash Challenger on the hand pump at the Royston Hotel, nitrogenated Hightail Ale at Mountain Goat, funky Ales at Moon Dog, more beers at Mountain Goat and then the Royston again. This just being the first evening of Melbourne beer culture, I genuinely struggled to keep up with my more experienced counterparts.

After picking up a casual Silver medal for our Kolsch and Bronze for our Lager at the Australian International Beer Awards dinner, we headed to the unofficial main event of Good Beer Week on the following day, to which I had been saving myself, the GABS. The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, is a massive 3 day beer, cider and food festival, held at the incredible Royal Exhibition Building, showcasing a mass of stalls, many from breweries I’d never heard of, the big attraction for most, were the imaginative and original 120 festival beers brewed exclusively for the event, served from two “Kegtainer” bars.

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Ever searching for inspiration for a new seasonal or single keg release, I headed straight for the Kegtainer bar. Barrel Aged Cherry Ripe Porter from Barossa Valley Brewing, which had a pleasantly restrained alcohol content, the Marrickville Pork Roll from Batch Brewing, with additions of cucumber, carrot, coriander, chillies and pork broth, spoke to my own time spent in Vietnam, and the controversial Belly Button Beer from 7 Cent Brewery were just a few to note.

Though for all the choice, sometimes a full glass of any well made beer with good company and atmosphere is the ticket. Whether it be at the local, interstate or at the Northbridge Brewing Company.