Less than a week before GABS and based on the amount of hits I’m getting on the site for it, it’s going to be huge. By now you have probably looked at the beers and decided what you want to try and whether or not you want to commit to the full 60. It is truly an admirable goal but probably one I won’t be attempting myself. While I’m atteding two sessions, my strategy will be to use tasters to try the ones I’m most interested in, and ones from breweries I’m not familiar with, then get a couple of proper sized glasses and just enjoy the beer. Beer tastings can be overwhelming and I know there is no way I’m going to remember them all, so it’s my goal just to enjoy as much as I can. No matter how you approach it though, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Remember that moderation is the key as well. We don’t want people partying themselves out before Good Beer Week, and there is nothing worse than a messy drunk beer geek.
Anyway, this interview is with Jon from Bright Brewery in Victoria. I was fortunate enough to try their MIA IPA recently and it was a real winner. One of the best IPAs brewed in Australia. You can also read about the paragliding incident that inspired the name. While not a permanent addition to the range, it’s one that really got people around here talking. Their GABS beer is the “Resistance” IRA… that’s India Red Ale (for those unaware, it’s one of those kind of made up new world styles. Red in colour, but hopped like an IPA… Make of the name what you will).
Most events such as this are a showcase of a range of beers, usually basic styles with the brewery staff selling their wares behind a small table. What do you think the benefits of an event like GABS are in winning people over to craft beer?
I think that GABS is a reflection of a pretty big shift in Australian beer drinking habits – people are looking for real choice, actively seeking out craft beers made by people who care deeply about the quality of the beer they’re producing. The fact that GABS is set to be such a huge event, with a focus on big, very special beers kind of changes the game and shows that craft brewers are less inclined (and less expected) to produce compromise “gateway” beers for the uninitiated – instead we can focus on the important things – flavor, balance, quality, and not be scared to go big. Punters are more and more likely to try bigger and weirder things, and to appreciate the effort that has gone into crafting them.
With so many other potentially amazing beers all on the bill do you feel any pressure on you and your beer? or are you just like a punter and are happy to be involved?
For sure – but I always feel pressure to make sure all our beers are great – I guess single batches magnify this. The stress doesn’t come from the fact our beer will be served alongside offer sings from some of my favorite brewers in the world (I’m more excited about this), rather it comes from the challenge of coming up with something that I’d be truly proud of, and from the fact the bar staff at the brewery will beat me if I don’t make something really special that they can have after work!
Are you attending, and if so, what beers are you most looking forward to trying?
I’ll be there every day, and am looking forward to far too many beers to list.
Why an India Red Ale?
The seasonal beers I’ve been brewing over the past 12 months have been driven by the seasons here in Bright – I wanted something imp-IPA quantities of hop character, but with a bigger and more complex malt profile than the well attenuated US west cost IPAs I tend to love in spring and summer. I’ve used a combination of malts not usually pared with tropical/citrussy hops – the darker caramel malts I’m hoping will play devil trombones to the silver trumpets of the hops.
The nomenclature of these type of beers is so fuzzy and silly that we could have settled on calling it any number of things, I just liked the acronym. Gerry Adams wasn’t available to officially endorse the beer, unfortunately.
Was there a conscious decision to avoid out there ingredients and styles ala many of the beers?
I love “out there” beers, and am really impressed when brewers execute crazy things well. I think however that there is still so much innovation possible with ‘traditional’ ingredients, and that sometimes people can get carried away with an idea without fully thinking through the impact of a particular ingredient of technique on the finished beer. My very favorite beers in the world have grown out of long brewing traditions, and tend not to have too many crazy things in them.
Your MIA IPA was one of the most talked about local beers recently, this being an India Red Ale, is it going to have a similar hopping schedule?
Really similar. Very big late additions and liberal amounts of dry hopping. Completely different hops, but similar schedule.
Any paragliding before this one?
Always. Went back and conquered the mountain I crashed on before the launch of the MIA. Top landed, stayed the night, and hiked back the next day. exorcised some flying demons.
Anything else you want to add about your beer, GABS or craft brew itself?
I love festivals, and GABS looks set to be the best we’ve ever had in Australia. This kind of event gives me an excuse to do what I love more than anything else – drink excellent, new beer and talk beer and brewing with other people who are just as obsessed as me – I get massive satisfaction from this kind of thing.
This may or may not be the last in this series. GABS is only days away now and I’m still waiting on a couple of responses. I hope it isn’t the last as these have been fantastic reading and something I can hopefully reprise next year. I would love to try get all the brewers on board, so let’s hope GABS happens again! In the meantime, check out the Bright Brewery website (not that I expect that it’ll take you a year, it’s just a turn of phrase):