Are ridiculously good brewers! If you’ve ever sat down and supped a Cooper’s Sparkling Ale or been lucky enough to get out there and visit places like Feral with their amazing range of breweries out in Swan Valley close to Perth, you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve seen what the legend that is Chuck Hahn has achieved with the Malt Shovel/James Squire range or look at the beers from places like Redoak and Wig and Pen, you’ll see a vibrant brewing community that’s bursting at the seams with inventiveness, creativity and cracking beers.
There’s one brewery over in Australia that we’ve started to make a few links with. Not only are they in the select group of breweries around the world that have a specialised piece of brewing equipment called a Rolec Hopnik (along with Meantime, Victory and Odell’s) but they also make one of the finer pale ales in the world. In fact, it’s one you can get quite easily over here and I recommend that you hunt it out and give it a try.
The brewery in question is Little Creatures, based in Fremantle. I’ve never been, but heard that it’s a must see with an awesome waterfront location, great food, awesome beer and top notch Australian custom. I’ve heard they even bowl overarm when playing cricket on that side of the country (ouch, low blow!!!).
I got to meet Little Creatures’ Chief Brewer, Alex Troncoso when judging over at the World Beer Cup in Chicago earlier in the year and he mentioned they had a young, keen brewer who was keen to come and check it out over in this part of the world. A webcam interview and a blimmin’ long flight later, we had our newest brewer, Caolan Vaughan who comes to us with a well-established pedigree… not bad for a pipsqueak of 25 years old! He already has three years brewing experience with Creatures as well as some time at a few other Aussie micros. Couple that with his Brewing degree and we have a Thornbridger in the making!
I think the photo below sums up Caolan’s commitment to the cause… He’d been travelling for between thirty and forty hours on a series of planes and buses, yet still managed to make it to the Sheffield Tap where his first UK beer was none other than Jaipur! Not bad for an Aussie!
Already, Caolan has began to make some fantastic changes to the processes here at Thornbridge and is full of new ideas and a load of experience. I think he’s pretty chuffed that he doesn’t have to work rotating night shift anymore, but reckon he’s chomping at the bit to get things moving and help us get more Thornbridge brews out the door.
Our brewteam seems to get stronger by the day, which is brilliant to see. What with our two Italian Food Scientists, one a bona fide Doctor of the Zymurgical Arts, the other the UK Brewer of the Year, our other resident Kiwi, himself a former Homebrewer of the Year, a talented British ex-Chef and our newest assistant brewer, the ex-IT ninja with a love of homebrewing and recent Brewing Diploma under his belt, I think the team is beginning to reach full circle. Great people make great beer.
As for Caolan… if you see him around Sheffield, say G’day and I’m sure he’d be keen for a beer and a yarn.
And at long last… finally I’m not the youngest brewer on the team! Hooray!!!