My brewing journey commenced back in the mid 90’s when I purchased a Grumpy’s Home Brew kit and started brewing beer with my best mate, Mike, in the cellar of his Father’s house in Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills.
We quickly moved from kit and kilo to partial mashes and worked our way through the expansive list of beer kits available at the time. Our consumption of the (usually) great beer was only slowed by the wait for the next batch to carbonate in the bottle.
Fast forward a few years – and having completed my Engineering Degree at University – another good mate, Cam, suggested a mash brewing course at TAFE. I jumped at the chance to learn more about the art of brewing. Our lecturer (and beer guru) Stephen Nelson opened our eyes to the intricacies of beer – yeast, water, malt and hops, and taught us how to brew beers from scratch. After seeing how easy it was to create a beer from those base ingredients, I was hooked. My thirst for beer was now overtaken by a thirst about beer.
Local home brew forums provided further inspiration and knowledge about brewing processes and the variety of methods ingenious brewers were employing to make beer – with outstanding results. I began to build various brewing sculptures for myself and fellow brewers, including my current three vessel RIMS system, all of which were a great joy to construct for this left handed civil engineer.
I then had heartening success when entering my beers in local and national home brewing competitions, while continuing to expand my repertoire of method and recipe style. By now I was confidently brewing a wide range of beers, including pale lagers and milds right through to imperial IPAs, Baltic porters and foreign extra stouts.
Transitioning into barrel aged and sour beers was an unexpected turn. This initially came about due to me pitching some lambic dregs into an questionable schwarzbier in a vain and unsuccessful attempt to ‘save’ it!
But the variety and depth in these beers is something to behold. I certainly enjoy the challenge of making these beers, although patience is often tested with some of these beer styles taking years to come to fruition with the slow acting yeasts and microbes involved.
The shed at home was filling fast with numerous experimental sours and barrel aged beers – filling even faster after relinquishing ownership of the laundry back to my ever understanding wife.
Along my journey I brewed for numerous friend’s parties, and other social events. And every time the beers have been enjoyed by guests with glowing – yet humbling – compliments for the flavours and styles on show.
This feedback, coupled with my experience and learnings fuelled my confidence to make the jump to pro-brewer.
Oh boy! Enter a plethora of paperwork, start-up costs and government approvals. It was a tough and gutsy leap to make, but a leap I’ve never regretted. Because throughout all this, the one thing that’s never waned has been my love for brewing and my desire to share it with others.
This is just the start for us at Left Barrel Brewing.
Passion for beer quality, variety and balance are our values.
If variety is the spice of life, then for me, it’s no different with beer. That’s why we’ll have a number of beers out in the marketplace featuring seasonal, experimental and once-off brews for you to enjoy. Along with our tried and tested core range of beers.
The barrel aging and sour beer cellar area is also a great passion of mine. Some of these beers are ready to consume in a matter of months, but others will take years to come together.
Currently we are brewing in the confines of the shed at home, but in the near future we plan to expand to a larger premises with a cellar door. In the meantime, I invite you checkout out our stockists page or come say hi at an upcoming event to sample our wares. Perhaps even join our mailing list or follow us through social media, for regular updates on our upcoming releases!
*** January 2018 update – Council Planning permission granted for our Taproom in Balhannah, a few more approvals required (building rules and liquor licensing) then it’s all systems go! ***