While arts and crafts is a well-known local hobby, there’s another type of craft gaining traction as a pastime. Craft beer brewing is growing in popularity amongst beer aficionados and beginners alike, with resident brewer John Clark keen to meet other locals with this similar interest.
John has been brewing his own beer for over 20 years, noting some key advantages to fermenting at home.

“I think the two main benefits of brewing your own beer is firstly, the cost. You can brew top quality beer for a fraction of the cost,” John said. “It’s not uncommon to brew a good craft ‘look alike’ beer (that might cost you $80 a carton of 24) for about $50 for 23 litres, or approximately 2 ½ cartons. Easy to see the economics in that,” he said. “Secondly, there’s a sense of achievement when you make something of quality that tastes really good!”

Despite these benefits, common beer brewing myths may prevent people from following their dream into the world of malt and barley.

“One of the great myths about home brewing is the taste. We all had a dad or uncle, who brewed their own beer and they were the only ones who liked it,” John said. “But the brews of today are of a high quality and you can get brewing recipes that copy other brews and it’s hard to tell the difference. Besides, after a while you tend to tinker with the ingredients and come up with your own unique flavours.”

Another preconceived issue is the time it takes to brew your own hazy pale ale. While sterilising bottles can be time-consuming, John brews in kegs to get the most beer for his hours.

“The time I take to put a brew down, rack it off then keg it, takes maybe a bit over an hour of my time. The complete brewing process, from putting a brew down to drinking is about 4 weeks,” he said.

John is keen to meet other local brewers or those with an interest in brewing to share experiences and ideas, noting now is a great time to get into brewing given the recent beer excise increase by the ATO.

“It really isn’t as daunting as you might think. It’s a great past time and is very satisfying. And existing brewers are always open to new ideas and new methods. I would like to learn how to brew from scratch, like the grass roots brewers who make their own wort,” he said. “I am just trying to gauge the interest in brewing in Samford Valley.”

If you’re keen to learn how to brew or would like to share what works or what ales you in your beer-making experience, please contact John on 0418 180 787. If enough people are keen to talk amber, he will organise a date, time and venue for a get together.

Tanya Hall