Seven brewers, seven beers and seven chillies

There’s not much home brewing going on at Chas’s or my place. Chas is heading overseas soon and won’t be around to bottle anything he brews. I’ve got the Super Stout in the fermenter but haven’t got around to bottling it yet. That’s because it’s Good Beer Week here in Melbourne.

It all kicked off on Saturday 17 and goes through to Sunday 25. Heaps of stuff on lots if beer tasting, dinners, talks, tours, and of course brewing. Originally I wasn’t going to put up anything on this blog because it’s about home brewing. Then I realised the first event I went to was about home brewing!

The brewers

The brewers for System Wars – Iron Brewer

At the un-fun hour of 9 am on last Saturday morning the System Wars – Iron Brewer event officially started. It was hosted down at Grain and Grape in Yarraville. The idea was fairly straight forward, seven professional/near-professional brewers bring their own home brew equipment and make a beer. The catch, there’s one ingredient everyone needs to use and showcase in their beer. Plus, the have to commit to the base malt before finding out what the secret ingredient is.

Checking out chillies

Couple brewers talking about the chillies and what to do

Most brewers got in early and started around 8-8:30. So, by the time it started at 9 there was a lot of grain already converting to malt sugar. As the brewers had their own equipment there were a range of techniques going on. Each one was all-grain but with wide range of methods.

Chatting to one of the brewers he was talking about how he and another brewer had decided to do a saison. Both were working on the idea that the style works well as it really absorbs the flavour of whatever you throw at it. As long as the secret ingredient isn’t chillies they’d both be fine. It was only another 10-15 minutes later that chillies were announced.

Adding Candi Syrup

Adding Dark Candi Syrup to the brew

Rather than have the same type of chilli for everyone, there were seven types, one for each brewer. Those that started first got first pick. And the brewer who started after 9 got last pick.

A few brewers had picked a dark base to start with and the general feeling was that they were in the prime position to make a great beer. Of the seven there was a chocolate chilli brew, a smoked chilli and an Old Fashioned inspired brew which looked really interesting.

This was a fun day. Talking to people who do brewing at a much higher level and picking their brains on everything brewing related. There was a band and a BBQ going to keep things lively. I’m thinking next year I’ll be back.



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