Following his success at the Queensland Royal Beer Awards, Slipstream Brewing’s Daniel Thomsen spoke to Beer & Brewer about his passion for craft beer and his dedication to learning that earned him the accolade.

Thomsen, who was recognised with the Emerging Queensland Brewer award, is originally from Darwin and says he was initially drawn to home brewing because of his love for craft beer.

“Good craft beer was pretty hard to find in Darwin, but for whatever reason, I was always drawn to drinking something different than everyone else. On the rare chance that a craft beer would come up, I’d always want to try the new one that popped up in the bottle shop. I’ve just always loved the product and from there got into home brewing with a friend in Darwin.

“I’ve always had a real interest in how things are made, especially food products. I have always been interested in making something from scratch. Making my own beer from scratch was a really exciting prospect,” he said.

A few years later, Thomsen decided to make the move to Brisbane, primarily in order to make a career change into craft brewing. It was at Slipstream that Thomsen met a lot of his industry mentors.

“Henry Wu was a big mentor of mine when I first came over. He was the lead brewer at Slipstream when I first arrived, and he now works at Ballistic Brewing. Henry has a crazy work ethic and he taught me what was possible in terms of how much work you could get done. He’s a good team player and great to be around. He was a big inspiration.

“Nowadays, I’m working under Gavin Croft who is our Head Brewer at Slipstream. He’s an encyclopedia for beer and incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. He wants you to ask questions and just be keen on improving,” he said.

For Thomsen, one of the most exciting parts of working in craft brewing is working towards the next great beer.

“What really excites me and keeps me going in the industry is pursuing the next awesome beer. When a batch pops out that we think is amazing, we call it a unicorn, so we’re always chasing another unicorn.

“What’s really cool about the industry is that it’s not solved. There’s no magic sequence of processes and recipes that’s going to equate to a magical beer. There’s a lot that we don’t know about how to make awesome beers. We’re working it out with everyone else. That’s what excites me. There’s always more to learn,” he said.

As well as Thomsen’s award at the Queensland Royal Beer Awards, Slipstream won the Champion Small/Medium Craft Brewery award, which the entire team is happy to have achieved.

“It’s a goal we’ve been working towards for a long time. There’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of improvements that had to happen to get there. I’m really stoked about that, and I want us to keep winning more awards,” he said.

In particular, Thomsen attributes the win to the quality of the Slipstream Brewing brewpub.

“One thing we try to do is have a new beer on tap every week. We have a small pilot system that we are just constantly pumping out. Hopefully, every time you come here there’s something new and something different that you haven’t tried before,” he said.

Looking to the future, Thomsen is excited to continuing to work and grow his career at Slipstream, but he does hope to take charge of some of his own projects in coming years.

“In the short term, I want to keep making better beer at Slipstream. Long term, I’d really love to do my own thing. It might just be me whispering to some barrels or something like that, whatever that looks like, but that’s definitely where my plans are in the long term,” he said.

Thomsen’s advice to new entrants to the industry is to focus on learning and growing your knowledge.

“My advice to upcoming brewers is to really embrace a student mindset and work. Understand that if you’re just entering the industry, you really don’t know anything. Find someone who does and annoy them and ask lots of questions. Just be humble enough to do all the boring jobs like packing boxes and scrubbing floors, because it’s all part of it,” he said.

“I always talk about being a vampire, sucking up as much knowledge as you can from anyone around you. There’s so much knowledge in the brewing industry, especially in in Brisbane. Obviously, politely suck up the knowledge, but get as much out of it as you can.”

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