From local blueberries to the pure rainwater of The Otways, we speak with Prickly Moses Head Brewer Luke Scott to find out what it takes to craft their premium beers. We also get a sneak peak at Prickly Moses’ offerings for Brewers Feast, including an exclusively made festival beer.
You have roughly 20 different beers and ciders in your repertoire. What’s the key to creating such a diverse range, while keeping the integrity of the ingredients at the fore?
We have been brewing for over 10 years now, many of these beers and ciders have been specialty seasonal batches that have proved to be really popular and our customers have requested them to be brewed on a regular basis. Having two venues, one in Apollo Bay and one in Queenscliff, allows us to showcase a large range of beer and ciders. It also gives us the opportunity to brew our seasonal beer more regularly.
Having a strong relationship with our suppliers enables us also to get access to new ingredients such as different hop varieties, along with this it’s also important to liaise with our suppliers to enable us to continue purchasing these ingredients if we are going to keep on brewing certain beers.
Do you have a favourite drop from the Prickly Moses range?
I personally don’t have a favourite beer in our range. Ultimately it comes down to a variety of factors as to what in our range I drink. For instance, some of our beers, like our Summer Ale or Chainsaw, are great to enjoy for any occasion – others are great beers to be consumed with food. In the cooler months I really enjoy our Stout or Black Panther.
How many of your brews will punters be able to sample at Brewers Feast?
We will have five beers available at the Brewers Feast. We haven’t specifically decided which beers in our range we will showcase as yet. There will certainly be a mix from a sessional type beer such as our Summer Ale and or Chainsaw, the experimental brew we are brewing for the event, mostly likely one of our IPAs and probably a malt forward brew such as our Red Ale. Be sure to swing by the stand and try them all – hopefully there is something in the range that suits most people’s tastes.
Tell us a bit more about the experimental brew you’re doing exclusively for Brewers Feast.
We have been really fortunate to source a hop that has just come from the American Hop Breeding program. There isn’t too much known about this hop so it’s going to be a great fun project as it’s really new. The organisers of the Brewers Feast are coming down to brew it with us. It’s going to be a hop forward Pale Ale, which will have some tropical and stone fruit flavours and aromas, that should be a great beer to enjoy at the event and at the start of summer.
Prickly Moses Handcrafted Beers and Forbidden Fruit Ciders were first made at Otway Estate Winery and Brewery, formerly a site used for the production of wine only. What was the inspiration for Otway Estate to branch out?
The owners saw the growth of the Craft beer sector. Beer generally takes around three weeks to brew whereas wine takes many years to make from when the vines are planted through to when the wine goes into the bottle. We certainly enjoy both and they work well together. We were the first Winery and Brewery in Victoria and obviously have added cider to our product range as well.
As a location producing both beer and wine, do you see Otway Estate and Prickly Moses as torchbearers in the argument that beers can be just as complex and unique as wines?
Certainly, we believe both wine and beer are great matches with food.
One of the highlights of Brewers Feast is the pairing of beers with food. What do you like to recommend people graze on when they’ve got a Prickly Moses in hand?
Our sessional type beers work really well with seafood, such as salt and pepper squid. Our malty driven beers certainly are great matches with meat dishes.
The most important ingredient in any beer is the water with which it’s made. Located in The Otways, what is it about the water in your beer that elevates it?
We use all rainwater in our beer brewed at Otway Estate. It makes a great clean starting block to brew our beers from. Fortunately, the Otways is highest rainfall area in Victoria enabling us to have a consistent and fresh water source.
Where do you source your other ingredients, such as the fruits used in your ciders?
We source the fruit from fresh fruit suppliers most of it comes as fruit puree which make using it and handling it much easier.
You also use some more unusual sounding ingredients in your beers. Is the Blueberry Hefeweizen what it sounds like, a blueberry beer?
Yes, we use local blueberries in that German styled wheat beer. We also us a specific yeast that complements the fruit flavours really well.
Brewers Feast takes its beer pretty seriously, and so does its audience? Why do you think drinkers have gravitated so much to premium craft beers in recent years?
I think drinkers like diversity in the beer they drink. The also like to meet the makers and have a chat with the brewers who are generally like them and enjoy flavoursome unique beers.
Is Prickly Moses working on anything else exciting in 2017?
We always have different beers in the pipeline. Coming into summer is always a busy time building up stocks for the festive season, although we always like to experiment and create new and interesting beers. Keep a look out!
Brewers Feast takes place in the Convent’s Heritage Gardens 1 – 3 December 2017