When the news first broke that Burra Brewing Co was going to be opening in Korumburra I was excited, I have been closely following their progress on their facebook page ever since I saw an article about the opening earlier in the year.
I grew up in East Gippsland where I spent the first 26 years of my life before moving to the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I’m a country boy at heart so the one thing I really miss the most is rural Victoria in all its glory. The absence of living in an area I love has given me a soft spot for small independent breweries in regional Victoria where their focus is to support local communities and using local produce wherever possible.
This week I contacted Burra Brewing Co and this is some of what they had to say.
The Idea of Opening a Brewery
On a blokes golf weekend, 2 brothers and a mate come up with an idea of opening a brewery. How many of you could honestly say this same conversation has happened with your mates whether it be on the golf course, at the pub or anywhere beer is involved, I know this has happened with me many times. Over many beers, on this weekend Phill Dempster, Anthony Dempster and Luke Jones come up with a very rough plan to which Phill said: “It all seemed like a pipe dream”. After this weekend the guys started meeting up to discuss ideas on a venue, style, beers and how they would pull investments together to make the brewery dream a reality.
Burra Brewing Co consists of 3 owners.
Phill is the head brewer and has been crafting beers for well over 20 years, he brewed his first batch of beer when he was only 17. Phills brewing journey has been pretty typical as far as the homebrewing world goes. Starting out with a Coopers homebrew kit extract brewing, then moving on to adding addition hops, before moving on to all grain brewing 50-litre batches from scratch. He refined his skills by focusing largely on the water chemistry and temperatures before completing a Master Brewers Course with Vince Costanzo.
Phill is perfectly complemented by his business partners. Both Anthony and Luke have lived and travelled all through Europe discovering a vast array of the different beers that are on offer. Anthony owns an engineering and sheet metal business but also has worked in the hospitality industry. Luke is a financial planner who has a background of being a financial controller of some large hotel groups.
Through drive, resilience and mateship these three guys pulled off every bloke’s dream, to own a brewery. Their backgrounds combined should mean promising things to come from this brewery and I’m really looking forward to sampling some of their beers. Phill mentioned to me that, “we needed to get our wives involved and they’re all on board just as much as us”. They are definitely living the dream.
The owners of The Burra Brewing Co and their supporting wives. From Left. Phill and Ange, Anthony and Kim, Luke and Narelle.
A word from the Owners
Tell me a little bit about the venue?
At one stage we were looking to build in the 100 year heritage-listed train station, this wasn’t going to work with too many hoops to jump through. We found a few other buildings in town but nothing suits us better than what we’re in now. We started some small works on the building back in mid-2017 but the real construction didn’t start until Feb 2018. We had a big vision for the building and its all come together now but it hasn’t been light work. We’ve pulled about 180T of rock, concrete and dirt from the site, and poured countless loads of rock and concrete back in. We’ve worked with all local trades to make this old building we all know come back into life.
The Site Before Major Work Began
Why in Korumburra?
It was always intended for Korumburra, we are passionate about all things South Gippsland and the ever-growing list of producers of fine foods and wines/beverages. Korumburra is right in the sweet spot, its 1 1/2 from Melbourne CBD (45min from the outskirts) and its only 30min from the bass coast. (Inverloch).
What beer will be the inaugural brew?
Our Golden Ale for sure, it’s an easy drinking 3.4% lightly hopped beer. People are always asking if I am going to make a mid-strength beer and its something you don’t have to be a massive craft fan to enjoy.
What sort of beer do we expect to see first up?
Ales are what we will open with, and nothing over the top. We’ve plenty of time to present the “out there” beers to the public. I expect to open with our Golden, Dark, IPA, Pale and Summer Ales. We’ve some cool beers to follow them up with, and some we’ll use local produce to bring the extra pop to the beer.
Explain a bit about your equipment, capacities of new technologies etc.
Our equipment has been supplied by Spark Breweries and Distilleries. We looked at many options when it came to equipment. Very early in the process, we decided to brew on quality gear and not build a system. Sourcing a supplier is a process in itself, and Spark became a real standout with quality gear and friendly service. Our system is a 15hL 3 vessel brewhouse, with 90hL of fermentation space (2x 15hL and 2x 30hL) The fermentation tanks and brewhouse will allow for double batching larger volumes when the demand is right.
Burra Brewing Co Brewhouse
How has the experience been so far setting up the brewery?
The experience has been demanding but worth every moment, getting out of bed in the morning is much easier when its all about your own dreams. The industry is open and transparent when it comes to help and ideas. Suppliers are always happy to help and work with you when they know its a brewery.
When do we expect to see the brewery open and what have you got planned for when you do?
Not a day goes by without me being asked this very question “When are you opening….Have you got a date yet”
Many plans have gone into our opening, it’s a staggered opening with us bringing the beer to the public first. The second stage we will open our kitchen up and over a period of time this will increase on what its got to offer. Our opening date hasn’t been set yet, we’ve made that mistake way too many times. It’s about making sure everything is right for when we open. That being said we tell people mid-year, this gives us a couple of months from now to make it happen.
Making progress on the venue.
Where Can I Find Burra Brewing Co
12 Commercial St Korumburra
Social Media:Facebook & Instagram
I can’t wait until Burra Brewing Co opens thier doors so I can take the drive down to foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges and see what they have to offer.
The brewery will be open to the public on 11th August. If you get down there I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
I was gifted this Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout by a mate at work. The brewer behind this beer is Todd Kitchen, an award-winning homebrewer. Todd headed up brewing this mega beer with a couple of close friends who took on the project of a monster RIS.
A rich malty Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in a Whiskey barrel. The rich roasted malt flavour and smooth hop profile with good bitterness allow this beer to highlight the lovely oak flavour of the Whiskey barrel and the hints of butterscotch from the whiskey remanence in the barrel.
Let the Tasting Begin
This is a beer that makes you nervous to crack open and why not, at 14% ABV your now sitting at the big boy’s table.
This RIS pours black in colour with a 1 finger beige fluffy head that slowly settles down to a small collar. That small collar of foam retains extremely well for a stout.
Upon taking my nose to the glass I expect to be hit with a large whiff of alcohol fumes, I was wrong, this puppy delivers chocolate and roasted coffee aromas.
I take my first mouthful and immediately I am hit with a taste of whiskey, raisins roasted malts and dark chocolate.
The body is extremely full and there is a hint of alcohol on the back end, it’s like drinking silk.
Overall I am extremely pleased with this beer and how well its balanced against such a high ABV. It’s hard to believe this come from a couple of avid homebrewers which no doubt you will hear about in the future because these guys have a talent worth bottling, literally.
Keep an eye out!
The boys behind this beer are working on some big things behind the scenes so expect to be hearing from them soon for something exciting.
Subscribe below and throw us a comment about your thoughts on barrel aged beers or Russian Imperial Stouts.
Prancing Pony Mixed 6 Pack
Cheers to the friendly staff at Pakenham Bottle O who were kind enough to provide me with a Prancing Pony mixed 6 pack. If you’re in the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne I highly recommend checking out this store. It really is a hidden gem that has a surprisingly unique range of craft beers you would expect to see in a boutique store closer to the city.
Prancing Pony is a husband and wife owned brewery located in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia that came about in 2011. If you wish to find out a bit more about this brewery they were featured in a Beer & Brewer magazine advertorial.
Prancing Pony – Sunshine Ale
Sunshine AlePrancing Pony
This lovely golden Sunshine ale pours slightly hazy and pale golden in colour with a good level of carbonation. There is a nice tropical and citrus aroma on the nose and the taste is slightly spicy, this beer is very much like a pilsner that prances actively on the tongue. There’s a moderate bitterness which makes this the perfect beer to enjoy laying on the grass in a soul-warming autumn sun.
Commercial Description: A refreshing and thirst-quenching Summer Ale made from 100% pilsener malt and hopped six times with only citrusy hops, producing lychee, mango, pineapple, orange and melon characters. Straw coloured, light malt sweetness, moderate bitterness with a citrus kick and dry finish yet long in flavour.
Prancing Pony – Pale Ale
This clean easy drinking Pale Ale that pours hazy and deep golden in colour with a medium white head that retains well. The aroma and taste are both quite earthy with a generous hit of biscuity malt and a slight hint of citrusy hops.
Commercial Description: A rich, dark-golden colour with lots of head, malt aroma and big hop flavours. The emphasis is on hop, malt and fruity flavours. A full flavoured, rich ale without the high bitterness of some more assertive American Pale ales. Definitely a ‘bigger’ ale than the ‘Blonde Ale’ and favoured by those who appreciate a fuller but balanced flavour profile. Also four-times hopped with more late hop additions in the boil and fermented with American Ale style yeast for more fruity notes. This goes well with full flavour Asian dishes, fish, seafood and chicken dishes.
Prancing Pony – Amber Ale
I expected this Amber Ale to be bitter and sweet but it’s actually easy drinking with some citrus flavour and light caramel coming through. It pours deep amber in colour with a thin white head. Amber ales are not typically a style I would usually drink but this has me keen to explore more Ambers in the future.
Commercial Description: Rich amber colour with lots of malt aroma and hop flavours. The style is based on ‘American Amber’. A malty Amber ale with citrus and resinous hop characters. Designed to have good body yet light and easy with ‘long’ flavours and lingering late bitterness. This ale is six-times hopped with American and Australian hops and fermented with ale yeast. The perfect ale to share with pasta and steak or hearty home-style cooked meals.
India Red Ale
Prancing Pony – India Red Ale
Pours a dark amber brown with a small white head. There is some nice coffee coming through along with spicy and resinous hops. Sitting at 7.9% no wonder it packs a punch, a well balanced red IPA that perfectly compliments steak and chips, this beer has balls.
Commercial Description: This ale is based on ‘American Imperial Double Red Ale’ according to the British Ale Style Guide. With a dark red brownish colour, a firm creamy head and lots of fruity aromas on the nose, this ale has a big, malty body with late bitterness. The Red has been crafted with big dry hop aromas coming through from citrusy and tropical fruity hop varieties. With late lingering bitterness, it is in perfect harmony with the fruity hop aromas. This Thoroughbred goes well with Asian and Curry dishes and presents well when matched to blue cheeses and smoked meats.
Hopwork Orange – American Pale Ale
Prancing Pony – Hopwork Orange American Pale Ale
Pours medium amber with a small 1 finger white head. This punchy IPA has caramel and orange on the nose then when you drink it you can savour the spicy citrus and piney flavour along with a decent amount of bitterness.
Commercial Description: The unmistakable pony brand of the infinite long flavour. An exceptionally smashable APA with uncanny blend of hops, oozing aromas of oranges, followed by an excursion through the fruit orchard. Intense tangerine flavours, hints of honey melon, mango and pine. The hop bitterness raises and lingers smoothly for a thousand years.
Pagan’s Empire – Imperial Pale Ale
Prancing Pony – Pagans Empire Imperial Pale Ale
An Imperial pale ale, whats that? I’m assuming it’s the equivalent to an India Pale Ale but if I’m wrong please correct me in the comments below. It definitely falls into IPA territory with a citrusy aroma along with a spicy, piney and resinous taste.
Commercial Description: A single IPA with rye in the malt bill and a resinous hop blend, with a nose of spices, pine, hay, grapefruit rind and passion fruit. A smooth malty backbone, rounded, but assertive bitterness, lingering for a crisp finish. We can hear the drums rumbling in the distance and see the ‘early’ stone dudes dancing around the fire.
My pick of the bunch would have to be the India Red Ale, by Australian standards, it’s quite a big beer, so too many of these would see you falling off the pony.
Have you tried of these beers from the Prancing Pony range? I would love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments below.