The Newsletter, May 2019
May has been always been a good beer month especially with GABs and Good Beer Week being part of the beer calendar.
As part of Good Beer Week, The Melbourne Brewers were invited to participate in the Cryer Malt and Yakima Chief Hops SMASH challenge.
Back in March our club picked up Marris Otter malt and Chinook hops to make a SMASH brew and to be in competition with five other Melbourne Home Brew Clubs.
The ideal behind this competition is to draw people to home brewing and to promote home brew clubs to a wide audience.
This year Andrew Hamilton’s beer was the nominated brew from our club. Andrew smoked a portion of his Marris Otter grain and used the Chinook hops to make a Smoked APA. Although not winning the beer was well received by those in attendance. The winning beer, a saison was made by Macedon Brewers from the different grain and hops that they had received.
The three beers that our club made for this competition before selecting Andrews will be on taste at this month’s meeting.
Last Sunday a dozen or so of our members undertook a Cider Day at Pete’s warehouse. Chris Duckworth again organised the purchase of 800 kg of apples ready for juicing. Thanks again Chris for organising, it’s such a fun day and enjoyed by those that participate.
Usually this activity takes most of the day, however this year everything went smoothly. We were finished juicing by around lunch time. Cider Day has been going for a number of years now, so it was interesting to hear what everyone was going to brew, and what experimental ciders were under consideration . The proof will be in the tasting !!!
Next month is our annual general meeting, and as usual there are some who will not be continuing on the committee for various reasons. This year we only had a bare minimum on the committee and although the club continued to prosper, people will burn out unless we are able to fill all positions and not have committee doubling up on the work load as was the case this year. Please consider putting your hand up and being part of the future direction of The Melbourne Brewers.
The Annual Dinner will be on us before we know it, on August. 31st at William Angliss, the same venue as last year.
Next Sunday at Pete’s warehouse the club will be convening a Monster Brew Day to enable beers to be made and have time for them to be ready in time for the Annual Dinner. Monster brew day is also an opportunity for newer members to come along and brew on their equipment or to come and watch others brewing on an array of equipment. Remember that if you brew a keg for the dinner you will not have to pay for your ticket.
Hope to see you all Wednesday night at the warehouse.
Smash Comp 2019.
The next meeting, 29th May.
Will be back once again at Petes warehouse in Ferntree Gully.
There will be a guest presentation on Big Brewery Operations by Paul Doughty who used to work for Tooheys in the laboratory.
AGM 26th of June.
The AGM is coming around again and the committee needs new blood. Come get involved and help shape the club. It’s a great fun way to add your input and be more involved. Anyone is welcome and encouraged.
Brewer of the month.
This months brewer is…Erik Schwab
Tell us a little about who you are.
I grew up in Norway and after spending some time in the army came to Melbourne to study and ended up meeting my future wife here with just months before finishing up. We moved to Norway for a few years but settled down back in Melbourne. We’ve got two young boys at 4 & 6 years old. I work in Procurement at Goodyear.
When did you join the Melbourne Brewers and what do you like about being in the Club?
I joined the Melbourne Brewers about 8 years ago, but had a bit of a hiatus with the arrival of our boy. Initially it was getting tips and learning from more experienced brewers that brought me into the club (my wife was tired of hearing me talk about brewing). It’s the community and great social aspects that kept me coming back.
When and why did you decide to give brewing a try?
It was my brother in law that first introduced me to home-brewing. During a trip back to Norway we visited a local microbreweries and a farm with a brewshed from the 13th century. Later I brewed a batch of IPA together with him and he gave me some samples of his previous batches which were, to my surprise, very different from the less than palatable yellow swill imitating beer I was given at uni. I realised that homebrew could be really good. He gave me a copy of Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing and I picked up a starter kit from the local store. I have always had an interest in cooking, so the step into brewing wasn’t that scary.
Do you brew kit, extract, all grain or a combination?
Every batch from my second one has been all grain.
How many batches are you up to?
I am up to about 50 or so batches, but have managed to loose my initial brew log so I am not entirely sure.
What’s your favourite style to brew?
My favourite style is a hoppy pale ale or amber.
What about your favourite style to drink?
This is a hard question – it varies from the season and the setting. I probably drink mostly American Pale Ale, but also really enjoy a stout, saison or refreshing lager on a hot day.
Do you have a favourite store bought beer?
The one in front of me. I do try to support independent breweries when possible.
What system do you brew with?
I have recently upgraded from a single pot on the stove top to a 40 liter Guten (a big boilover that resulted in some scorched marks on the new stove top that are still there helped get me over the line – any tips on getting rid of the scorched wort would be appreciated).
What’s your favourite brewing gadget/tool?
A temperature controlled fermentation chamber lets me brew year round and probably made the biggest impact on the taste of my beer, but going to kegging was the best for my brewing – bottling was keeping me from brewing.
What’s been your best highlight since you started brewing?
I haven’t been brewing for competitions yet, but having friends and family who drink pale lagers go back to the taps for seconds and thirds of my beer instead of the esky is pretty rewarding.
What about your biggest disaster?
One year I figured I’d brew a Christmas Ale -full of spices and dark molasses flavours. I rushed the bottling to get it ready for Christmas and it wasn’t fully fermented. Having to call all my friends and collegues I’d given some bottles to explain that they had to open the gushers outside or bin them was quite humbling. If it’s not ready or right – don’t serve it.
What’s your favourite brewery to spend some time at.
We don’t go out that much, but the best memories is from going to Little Creatures in Freo when I spend a summer in WA some 15 years ago.
What would be your best tip for others?
Have fun brewing and don’t stress – beer wants to be beer.
What do you love about brewing that keeps you picking up the paddle?
I love the process of making beer from scratch – having some tasty beers on tap is a pretty good reward too.
When you’re not brewing, how do you spend the rest of your spare time?
I enjoy puttering around the garden/veggie patch and have also taken up smoking meats. The busy social life of young boys keep us busy most weekends as well.
The Annual Dinner, 2019.
The date is set, 31st of August at William Angliss in the city.
After party nearby but still to be determined where.
Our sponsors put up some fantastic prizes this year in support of the Home Brewing Community. Lets show them some love back and get behind them when you next do your shopping or recommend a store to a new brewer. It’s these sponsors that keep our competitions running so lets return the favour and support them any way you can!
Monster Brew Day.
Sunday June 2nd at The Warehouse from 8am for people to start setting up.
The Old Dick.
Since 1999, the Club Brewer of the Year trophy has been an unusual mechanical device, affectionately known as “The Old Dick”.
The trophy was built about 22 years ago by former Member Dick Seville who was a popular and eccentric Member of the Melbourne Brewers and the ABAV which preceded it. “The Old Dick” is designed to hold a 750ml bottle of beer and to gradually tilt it in order to pour the contents without disturbing the sediment, thereby obtaining a crystal clear beer.
Dick an engineer by trade would regularly take the device with him when dining at BYO restaurants and drinking his own beers, mostly bottle conditioned brown ales.
Longstanding Members will remember Dick as the quietly spoken gentleman who would bring a large plate of cheese and onion sandwiches to every club meeting which would be unveiled late at each meeting after the standard Club nibbles had been consumed. These would rapidly be devoured and were a traditional part of Club meetings for many years.
Dick was an inventive guy having a hand in building one of the first commercial washing machines ever built in Australia. Unfortunately, Dick passed away several years ago but much of his brewing equipment was donated and subsequently auctioned by the Club so many current Members have equipment designed and built by Dick and his legacy lives on.
The Old Dick was donated by Dick’s family and Colin Penrose. So next time you see “The Old Dick” remember that it, like our Club, has a rich history built on the efforts of eccentric good blokes like Dick Seville.
The Old Dick is a prestigious award given to the Club Brewer of the Year, based on all the members points tallied from all competitions entered. First, Second and Third all generate points to determine who gets to be this years Brewer of the Year.
Your membership comes with these great benefits plus many others so support the club and help keep it going.
(This is a great saving over an individual subscription)
Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month at different locations. They are a great place to socialise, listen to talks, participate in Club competitions, BBQ’s and of course taste lots of beer plus many other things.
A monthly newsletter outlining upcoming Club events and competitions as well as general Melbourne Brewers information and photos. This gets distributed by email a few days before Club meetings.
Members are also advised of upcoming events by email. Our member email distribution is also used as a forum to discuss topics of interest and to provide brewing information amongst members.
Periodically, Members volunteer to have a Brew Day at their brewery and invite Club Members or guys who may be interested in brewing to have a look at how they brew, equipment used etc. Brew Days are a good way for novice brewers to learn how to make all-grain beer.
Every so often, days are organised for a group of members to build or assemble equipment e.g. convert kegs to boilers, make immersion chillers, yeast stir-plates, counter pressure bottle fillers, temperature controllers.
Events & Excursions
Periodically the Club organises events/trips e.g. trip to Maltings, Melbourne microbreweries, weekends away at country pubs, fishing trip.
Annual Club events include the Annual Dinner, Xmas party, Steinbeer weekend and Beerfest weekend (Club run comp).
Club buys (Bulk buys) of equipment offer significant savings to members.
There is a large range of brewing books and equipment available for loan by members.
Things to keep you busy.
Monster Brew Day on the 2nd of June.
Get a brew happening for:
7th of July, Westgates Stout Extravaganza.
31st August, The Annual Dinner.
October, Baysides Oktoberfest.
Go to our Calendar and sync it with your own so you never miss an event.
Get some reading done after you buy some books through our book depository link.
Last but far from least, help keep the Club alive and don’t forget to pay your membership fees for this financial year