Written by Chris Thomas, Homebrewer editor
The bi-annual Australian National Homebrew Conference, otherwise known as ANHC 5, was held in Adelaide last weekend (13-15 Oct).
Attracting brewing superstars such as Mitch Steele (formerly Stone Brewing in the US), Bert van Hecke (Triporteur, Belgium) and world-renowned author Stan Hieronymus, the conference also pooled some amazing local talent in Red Proudfoot (Pirate Life), Brendan O’Sullivan (3 Ravens) and homebrewer gone pro, Kevin Hingston (Pact Brewing).
Thursday was really the prologue to the Friday and Saturday sessions, but it was still a packed day.
First the judging for the Australian Amateur Brewing Championships (AABC) was held from 8am (yes, you read right!). Next was an afternoon tour of the Coopers brewery before one of the highlight events, a beer and food matching evening held at the magnificent (and kind of spooky) Adelaide Freemasons Hall. Five outstanding homebrewed beers matched with a five-course menu designed and prepared by head chef Becky Hartman-Kearns.
There were several standout sessions across the next two days. Mitch Steele opened the official conference presentations on day two with a look into the history of IPA, where he discredited the notion that the India pale ale was heavily hopped to survive the sea voyage.
Steele went on to look into recipe development and some of the new and exciting new hops on the market – a few of his favourites from Australia include Galaxy, Ella, Vic Secret and Enigma (two of which he used in his collaboration brew with Club Brewing Co. while in Australia).
Steele also spoke briefly about East Coast (or New England) IPAs and the buzz around them. This is something we’re only hearing about right now so hopefully we’ll start seeing some in Australia over spring and summer.
System Wars, which used four homebrewing machines (PicoBrew Zymatic, Braumeister, Grainfather and RoboBrew) to create a clone of Coopers Sparkling Ale was another highlight. All are outstanding machines, which was evidenced in the four sampling beers. Coopers’ managing director and chief brewer Dr Tim Cooper was impressed by the quality and closeness to his beloved Coopers Red.
Stan Hieronymus took the audience on a monastic brewing journey and developed a recipe for a Belgian strong ale, which many brewers are keen to get home and try.
But perhaps the most engaging speaker for the conference was Bert van Hecke, head brewer, owner and malt baker of BOMBrewing, which make Triporteur beers. Van Hecke challenged the traditional view of what makes a Belgian beer, noting that it is much more than the yeast. In fact his beers don’t use what many see as a traditional Belgian yeast. But, as he reminded us he is Belgian and makes Belgian beers, and Belgian beers use other ingredients such as candi sugar and spices to give them a point of difference.
Van Hecke also provided one of his beer samples for the conference, Triporteur Full Moon 12. It was fresh, balanced and smooth. If you can get hold of one I’d recommend it. The difference could be van Hecke’s own malting and new world approach!
Check out Beer & Brewer Issue 39 for the full wrap, which will hit stands 17 November.