Tell us a bit about how you got your start in brewing.
I started getting into craft beers more seriously in 2017, when I asked Dave (Padden) what I should do in order to get a job in a brewery. He suggested I read 'Tasting Beer' by Randy Mosher to begin with.
Pretty much at the same time my wife and I left for an epic 2 months’ US road trip to celebrate our PR. You can only imagine the number of beers I got to try over there, it was mind blowing. Once back, I started working at Liquor Emporium, doing tours with Dave Brewery Tours, and applied for the Microbrewing Cert III course at TAFE. All this led to my first brewing gig at The Lord Nelson.
Plus, fermenting might as well be in my genes, given I come from a winemaking family!
Can you recall the first drop you brewed that was a hit, or made you realise that brewing was what you wanted to do?
My first brew was a success in the sense that it was drinkable. And I learnt a valuable lesson: do not aim for high ABV when using malt extract…
What do you find most fascinating about brewing beer?
The almost infinite outcomes you can get by combining the four basic ingredients. I mean, even fermenting the same wort at different temperatures can have perceivable effects on the final product!
When did you start brewing with Akasha?
What do you like best about Akasha’s brew culture?
The fact that everyone is hands-on and come from very different backgrounds. It makes the place unique.
Laying down a dark, velvety bassline of Mediterranean dates, New World and American hops and Belgian yeast – all slinking beneath shimmering high notes of esters and a toffee, caramel and spice midrange – this Sticky Date Belgian Dubbel is pure music for your mouth. From its rich texture to its umami undertones, it’s one to add to your chillest playlist.
What inspired you to brew a Belgian Dubbel?
It's an homage to Abbaye de Bonne Espérance, the first ever craft beer I tried when I was 15 or 16. There was this pizza restaurant called Bar Centrale in my hometown where me and my friends used to go to on Sunday evenings after our trips to the big city. I would get a pizza Diavola and drink either Bonne Espérance or Chimay – rigorously. 750ml bottles, otherwise there's not much point, right?
Tell us something interesting about the ingredients, or how the ingredients in this Signature Series beer work together?
My thinking was: "How do I give a Belgian beer an Aussie twist?" I decided to substitute Belgian candi sugar with date syrup as a nod to the contributions of Mediterranean people to modern day Australia. Considering the sweet/banana esters, the oily date syrup, its fruity aroma compounds and the final gravity, this might as well be the dessert Belgian-style ale you've been always wanted to try but you never found out there.
What’s the trickiest aspect of brewing this particular type of beer?
Surely lifting the date syrup container and proceeding to empty its content in the whirlpool without getting scorched by the scalding wort. And it would have been even more difficult without Dirk's hot bath tip!
What is it about this beer that you think people will like the most?
The combination of date aroma, banana esters and thick mouthfeel. This is a sipper, or in the words of Teo Musso (of Birra Baladin), a couch beer.
What makes its Akasha incarnation stand out from similar beers?
I'm not familiar with many other Belgian-style dubbels being brewed here, so it's a bit hard to comment on this one.
Were there any revelations that came to pass about the brewing process when brewing this beer?
No matter how much you plan, beer has got a mind of its own.
Is there a particular kind of beer that you wish it were possible to brew, no matter how outlandish?
Imperial pastry stout with raisins, fennel seeds, pine nuts and dried figs. These are some of the ingredients of Pinza, a traditional cake from the Venice region.
Eager to experience the zippy kiss of Marco’s Sticky Date Belgian Dubbel? Then beat a path to the Akasha Taproom at your earliest opportunity and get your hands on some while you can – with only 250 litres produced, this ultra- limited release will be gone before you know it…
Available at the Akasha Taproom and Online Store ONLY!