I am very excited about this year.
But it’s not because of what will be happening in 2016; instead, it’s because of what is being prepared. I love Farmhouse beer and Farmhouse brewing and have decided to turn my passion into my livelihood. That means right now, and throughout the calendar year of 2016, I am in the planning stages of opening an Australian Farmhouse brewery.
This blog started as an outlet for me to channel and document what I was/had been learning from storied producers in Europe. What I didn’t realise was how forthcoming and encouraging so many of these brewers would be for me to take their advice in a very tangible way and learn from it. Over the past year as it were, my future derailed from commencing my PhD studies in astrophysics to pursuing a life as a Farmhouse brewer.
As for why, its quite simple. While I may be younger than many other brewer/owners, I have even the smallest chance to support the lifestyle that my wife and I envision by doing something I am genuinely passionate about. I would never forgive myself for not taking this opportunity and running. We Farmhouse beer enthusiasts are a modest group and because of this the project is somewhat bold. However, Farmhouse beer was not and is not made solely for its consumption. This is what is so attractive to me about this style of brewing. This project is about community, regionality, family, flavours, sustainability and agriculture. This broad focus is what enamored me, and what I believe will be so alluring to people who come to learn about Farmhouse brewing through my project.
But, in efforts to not upset my wide readership 🙂 (only joking) this does not mean the blog is closing down or becoming a ‘How To’ of starting a Farmhouse brewery. Instead much like my previous posts, I plan for this site to document what I learn and experiment with over this year. So, unsurprisingly I am going to be writing about and analysing all of my recipes and techniques I will be testing over the year. This means a lot of beer, a lot of different yeast strains, fermentation temperatures, conditioning times, wild yeast harvesting, spontaneous yeast harvesting, etc etc. But Farmhouse brewing has introduced me to so much more than beer so I will also write about some of the culinary techniques, various food and beverage productions, and relevant agriculture musings. So, it should be a good year of posts… much more useful and hands on at least!
I moved to Australia in 2009 and that was when I first visited the South Coast of NSW as an 18 year old, wide eyed traveller. I can still remember how stunned I was at the beautiful, green, rolling pastures of the region directly south of Kiama. It was this amazing mixture of beach, dairy farms, Irish countryside and classically Aussie laid-back mentality. Since that first time visiting Gerringong, I have only fallen more deeply in love with the locality.
On one hand, it’s easy to see why. The natural beauty of this region rivals damn near every other landscape I have ever seen (see the below photos). But on the other hand, I have mostly enjoyed going down there because of the people and their way of life. Its not nostalgia, as in ‘they live a simpler lifestyle like in the olden days’; instead, they have a way of balancing work and life so well, that is to the great envy of the many Sydneysiders who temporarily visit the region.
I guess its actually a lie to say that the brewers I met were my main inspiration for starting this brewery. Before I was even brewing much less Farmhouse brewing, this land, the South Coast of NSW, inspired me. So this is where the journey starts for me, with the land. Certainly, there wouldn’t be any Farmhouse brewery without a rural setting; however, for me I feel that this land in particular is so fertile and rich, it has been calling out for someone to join with it and embrace its terroir.
That is where I am right now, looking for a piece of land to put this brewery on. There are a ton of factors to consider but I am open to challenges that I will face in trying to find the right spot. It’s natural, really, for a Farmhouse brewery project to begin with the land. But it is telling too. Before I can even dream of making my first beer I need to encounter my ultimate partner in this adventure, the land itself.