- Tell us a bit about how you got your start in brewing.
I started brewing at a larger brewery in regional NSW in 2016. I had done a small amount of homebrewing and a little bit of brewing related study, but nothing of note. Moving into brewing was something that had been an intention for a number of years, but the right opportunity hadn’t come up. I saw the ad for this brewery while waiting at the airport for a flight from Tokyo back to Perth (my hometown). It was the last day before applications closed, so I weighed up the options with my partner and decided to go for it. I think my lack of brewing experience was balanced by my prior education/experience and a willingness to move to somewhere that’s about 5-6 hours from any capital city. It was a great learning experience, lots of shiny stainless and clever automation. After a while it began to feel a bit impersonal - we’d be brewing 35-40 times a week and I didn’t feel all that connected to the products I was making so I eventually made the move to the craftier side of things.
- What’s your favourite all-time beer and why?
My all time favourite beer would be La Fin Du Monde by Unibroue in Canada. I haven’t had it for years, but the memory of my first time trying it is why I give it that position. It was the first beer of its kind that I had really tried. It was so complex and balanced and refreshing, even at 9% alcohol. It was a revelation of the possibilities of flavour that could be imparted in a beer.
- Can you recall the first drop you brewed that was a hit, or made you realise that brewing was what you wanted to do?
It was an existing beer that we brewed under contract at the first brewery that I worked at - a Belgian style wheat beer that was incredibly laborious. Normally the brew shift would need an extra person when that was on the cards. I had only been working there for a short time, I was on the night shift and we were brewing that beer. I had made it once before with supervision and it had been a real scramble, but something clicked that night, the pieces fell into place and I brewed for the whole shift without needing the extra hand. I went from feeling like I was chasing my tail, to seeing how all the parts moved together. That lightbulb moment of understanding the rhythms of the brewhouse, of which processes would interlock with others to slow you down, or what preparations would make things run more smoothly was the thing that got me hooked and made me think brewing was for me.
- What do you find most fascinating about brewing beer?
I think brewing is such a multi-faceted process. There’s elements of science and creativity, and there’s always so much going on with so many moving parts. Whether it’s juggling the daily tasks, or the longer term production plan, it feels just like juggling or spinning plates, and it’s really rewarding when you can make everything line up and run smoothly. I love the ‘art of brewing’ side of things - thinking up new recipes and trialling ways to improve existing ones, but that’s only a small portion of what happens in a brewery. It’s the daily challenges and seeing a plan come together that I really enjoy.
- When did you start brewing with Akasha and what made you want to work for Akasha?
I started working for Akasha in the middle of 2022. Akasha has always been a brand that I’ve crossed paths with over the years. About 9 years ago I did a bit of study with Gab Porto, who eventually became the Head Brewer. A bottle shop near my house did growler/squealer fills, and Freshwater was one of the first beers I bought from there. I was visiting some friends in Sydney in 2016, and they took me to this “new brewery in Five Dock, opened by someone from their homebrew club”. I’ve always heard good things about the company and the beers, so when the opportunity came up to work here, I already had a very positive view of the place. Then talking to everyone during the interview process cemented those ideas, and sold me on it
- What do you like best about Akasha’s brew culture?
It probably sounds strange, but I really like that Akasha is run like a business. In craft brewing especially it’s often the evolution of a hobby, and successfully turning a hobby into a profession is quite a task. It’s a pretty informal workplace, but everyone goes about their work in a very professional manner. There are breweries that are very efficient but soulless, and breweries that are fun but disorganised and I think Akasha has a nice balance of efficiency and enjoyment.
- Is there a particular kind of beer that you wish it were possible to brew for Akasha, no matter how outlandish?
There’s nothing that I particularly yearn for - the beauty of our Akasha Project and Barrel Program releases mean that we already brew a broad range of styles. Those different labels make it less restrictive when making a new release, not necessarily adhering to our core style, and still having an appropriate avenue to be adventurous. I have a few things on my not-at-all-hidden agenda that I want to make, but I think I can make a good case for them so you might see them in the future