Cheap Australian Beer Anybody?

How Could I Refuse?

How Could I Refuse?

That may have got your attention. Well, it certainly got mine. For two reasons. Beer is not particularly cheap in this country and, of course, most of it is a lager. They call it a bitter, as with “Victoria Bitter” or “XXXX Bitter” but it’s not. It’s lager.

Living here in Australia I often find myself saying “It’s like going back 20 years and I love it!”. Less traffic on the roads, cheap petrol, schools with big playing fields, that sort of thing. Which is great. But just like 20 years ago in England, you can only buy alcohol here from an off-licence, or bottle-o as they are called. So, just as England was back then, it’s expensive.

If you want bitter, then be prepared to dig deep in your pocket. For example, a bottle of Abbot Ale will cost you about $7 from a specialist bottle-o. You’re looking at over £3 a pint to drink indoors and the choice of decent beers is very limited. We need ASDA! Three bottles for a fiver and a huge choice of beers if I remember correctly.

But don’t panic. You can buy your thirst quenching lager (and you will drink lager even if you’re a bitter man – just because of the heat) for about $40 for a carton (30 x 375ml cans). And you can get your premium quality beer from …..

Brews Brothers!

You can brew 50 litres of top quality beer for just $170. That, according to my maths, comes in at around 90p a pint. Now we’re talking, no, slurring, at that price!

Let’s brew some beer….

Mix Your Ingredients

Mix Your Ingredients

This is where you mix your ingredients. The hardest part is selecting which beer to brew. I was stuck between Raj Pale Ale – 5.6%, Funnelweb – 6.1% and Hop Head IPA – 6.3%. After a chat with Mike, who runs the microbrewery, I opted for the Hop Head. I was then given four bowls and a bucket along with a list of my ingredients. All I had to do was weigh the different ingredients and put them in their bowls. Too easy!

Then you fill your bucket with malt from one or more, depending on your recipe, of these barrels…

Mix Your Malt

Mix Your Malt

Then throw it all into one of these….

The Microwbrews

The Microwbrews

Like this…

Pour in Malt

Pour in Malt

No brain is needed, the helpful staff will show you how to do it all. It’s fun and takes about an hour. When you’re done, the beer is put into it’s fermentation bin and stored in the cooler.

Fermentation Bins

Fermentation Bins

Depending on your brew, two to four weeks later, you return to bottle it. First, clean the bottles…

Sterilise Bottles

Sterilise Bottles

Then take them to the bottling station and start filling those bottles with your beautiful brew.

Bottle Station

Bottle Station

Bottling the beer isn’t exactly a barrel (hahaha – barrel, there’s a clue) of laughs. It took me a couple of hours to bottle it all. Mike said “It is a bit like digging a hole, except when you’re finished you’re not staring at a hole, you’re staring at six cartons of lovely beer”. So true.

I was nearly finished, when a guy pulled up in a truck. He went over and had a 10 second conversation with Mike, who 30 seconds later reappeared with a trolley that had three big shiny aluminium kegs on it.  Within two minutes they were loaded on the truck and the guy was gone. All in the time it took me to fill four bottles.

This guy had invested in the keg kit……

The Keg System

The Keg System

I want one!

I really enjoyed my visits to brews Brothers and I will definitely be going back, regularly. They have a huge selection of beers, I’d like to work my way through some of them. There’s plenty of staff around to help you complete your brew as quickly as possible….

Helpful Staff

Helpful Staff

…and the rewards are well worth it!

Two Full Fridges of Beer. (One Behind)

Two Full Fridges of Beer. (One Behind)

Yes, I ended up with 130 bottles of 6.3% Hop Head IPA. You know, I think I’ll go and crack one open right now. It’s beautiful!

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Graeme December 23, 2011, 6:58 pm | Link

    Is there much of a demand for micro-breweries producing ales / bitters in Oz?

    • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 9:44 pm | Link

      There are quite a few around, so I assume they are making money. Homebrew here in general is bigger business than it is in the UK I think, but then it would be. Beer is dearer here.

  • Pip in Sydney November 19, 2011, 9:06 pm | Link

    Finally got to Oz! Living in the hills district of Sydney and loving it! Not loving the price of beer! $45 for 30 cans of standard 330ml lager, a pint is over $6 (I refuse to drink schooners!).
    But one bit of good news, ALDI has just been granted permission to sell alcohol from there stores! This is good news because back in the UK ALDI were responsible for boosting a huge amount of small Winery’s in france by selling there wine dirt cheap, they’d sell it for a few months, Tesco would jump on it and sell it for 4x the price. ALDI would just find another small winery to buy from, I bought wine from ALDI for years on the advice of a relative who was a director for a major world wide brewary! I’m hoping the same thing happens over here. The problem at the moment is the lack of competition, no one in Oz seems to want to rock the boat. I’m hoping ALDI with some micro brewaries and wine makers may start causing some of the big ones to knuckle down and start competing.
    Loving the blog Bob, it did factor in our descision to finally come over!

    • BobinOz November 22, 2011, 3:33 pm | Link

      That truly is good news, Aldi are certainly ruffling the feathers of the big two. Unfortunately, I just googled it and it’s not happening in Queensland yet. But I suspect it will one day.

      Yes, beer prices are expensive, but I have got used to that now. I suspect you will too. Although I have helped myself by building a microbrewery in my garage. I now make wonderful bitter beer that works out at about 65c a pint.

      Yes, I don’t drink schooners either, got to retain our heritage.

      Cheers Pip!

  • Sean July 21, 2011, 9:38 am | Link

    THAT, is so cool!

  • BobinOz January 28, 2011, 3:14 pm | Link

    Yes, very cheap, and it is top quality brew, whatever one you choose.

    Yum!

  • Dave January 27, 2011, 10:28 am | Link

    So about a buck twenty seven per bottle, for good quality micro-brew. Bloody good……

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