THE BREWER

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Mick helping out friends Dudley Brown and Irina Santiago of Inkwell Wines. Dudley and Irina grow some of the best Shiraz in the McLaren Vale Region of South Australia. Photo is from vintage 2014 where we are carefully getting the luscious Shiraz grapes out of the bin into the hopper and de-stemmer, which is basically the only process between picking and fermenting as the ripe rick berries will soon burst as their own natural yeast starts working. Fashion selected so match the grapes!

 

Mick has been home brewing for nearly 20 years.  He acquired the habit from his father who tried to brew beer that was dark enough and bitter enough that his sons would not touch the stuff. Needless to say, dad failed in his quest and often found his kegs emptying at a much faster rate than his own consumption justified. Dad knew who the beer thieves were, and banished both boys to Australia.
After moving to Australia, Mick continued his career in financial services, and brewed for the love of it. Then a number of stars aligned and with the prompting of friends and family he started on the long path of a commercial brewery.
On top of his home brewing experience, and helping his mate out in his McLaren Vale winery,  he has taken short courses read a few books and bothered a lot of brewers in numerous craft breweries in several countries. Making Notes and absorbing every scrap of information he can along the way.
Mick’s view is that much of brewing can be learned from experience. Brewing is a constant learning curve, every time you introduce a new piece of equipment or experiment with a new technique or ingredient you are adding to your education. Though he agrees that a degree in brewing would be a great asset.
Never one to follow a recipe, Mick often experiments with various adjuncts. A big fan of Sam Caglione’s book “Brewing up a Business” (founder of Dogfish Head Brewery USA).  It was in reading Caglione’s tales of start up that Mick realised that his crazy ideas of adding fruit, chocolate, coffee, honey, sugars and spices to beer were not really insane.  And starting a brewery without commercial experience is feasible if you can cash-flow yourself through an initial lean period.