The first Melbourne Brewers Steinbrew was held at Murrindindi Scenic Reserve in March 2002.
It all came about because some silly old bugger happens to suggest to the committee that we do a club camping weekend, and maybe incorporate a brew in the bush as an attraction. Most of the committee thought it was a great idea, but who was gonna organise it…
Having just read an article about how Stein Bier originated in the foothills of the European Alps, I then went on to do a few experimental brews in my back yard. I had trouble finding a suitable rock that could be super-heated and then dunked into the wort without shattering. Didn’t have a great success at home but running out of time I thought I would just wing it and grabbed some granite rocks from the Cardinia dam wall.
Got to the campground Friday mid arvo with a meter of redgum & lots of brewing gear…and beer. Later on, my two fire marshals turned up, Graeme and Jeff. The brothers dug a firepit big enough to bury an elephant. Saturday morning a few more helping hands turned up and we did a few wood runs.. just to fill up this bloody big hole in the ground.
My trusty old 40 litre three tear system was set up on ladders, star pickets, trailer, stumps, you name it. As usual the brew went like clockwork, until…
At sundown we lid the firepit (bonfire) and chucked in the granite to be heated. It was an impressive sight dumping the white glowing rocks into the boiler…yeah, cheers all around. After tossing in about a dozen glowing rocks, it was time to pull them out again to make room for fresh ones from the fire. Disaster… The rocks had completely disintegrated into gravel in the bottom of the boiler. The brothers again sprang into action and quickly heated up some of the rocks from the pit they dug yesterday…river rocks. Yes, you guessed it, exploding rocks and shards whistling around our ears, fortunately no one got hurt. However, we did find enough good dry river rocks to finish the boil. The boiler lid was sealed up with duct tape and chucked in the river to cool down. In the teeny-weeny hours of the night we got the boiler back on dry land. We now had an excellent gravel filter in the bottom of the boiler for the runoff, however it was a little slow. Yeast was pitched and brew well aerated in the truck on the way home.
No surprise, the beer had a distinct mineral, earthy taste. Not the finest brew I’ve ever made but certainly unique. It was served at the club dinner.
I did this gig for the following ten years before Andy partnered up with lazy Linton and others.