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 …..
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….
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…
Then throw it all into one of these….
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.
Depending on your brew, two to four weeks later, you return to bottle it. First, clean the bottles…
Then take them to the bottling station and start filling those bottles with your beautiful brew.
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……
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….
…and the rewards are well worth it!
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!