Waltzing Matilda – Desert Island Beers – Scott Vincent, Australia
Welcome to the latest episode of Desert Island Beers which this week features Scott Vincent, Head Brewer at Matilda Bay Brewing Company. Scott was born and raised in Bondi, NSW where he developed a thirst for fishing, rugby and microbiology. Scott spent his first six years in beer as a microbiologist before making the move to brewer. He then got his dream job when he became head brewer at Matilda Bay in 2008, excited at the opportunity to help bring craft beer into the spotlight in Australia.
Now part of the Foster’s Group; if a brewery could be transient, then Matilda Bay would win the walkabout stakes as not only has it changed location several times, it has also changed states. For the latest home for this longest-established of all Australian craft breweries, is a former Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Port Melbourne – a move from Dandenong South and a long way from the Perth suburb of Nedlands, where its brew kettle was first fired in 1984.
Back then it was owned by Phil Sexton and friend’s, who blazed Australia’s craft beer trail, making small batches of beer for sale in Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor pub. First off the production line was Redback wheat beer – the first of its style made in Australia and still winning awards today. Other styles then unfamiliar to Australian palates, such as the dark lager Dogbolter followed and, in the early 1990s, the brewery was purchased by Carlton and United Breweries. Founder Phil went on to found Little Creatures, while the backing of one of Australia’s biggest brewers provided Matilda Bay with the financial clout to reach a much wider audience.
It left its West Australian roots behind to move to the Garage Brewery in the outer Melbourne suburb of Dandenong in 2005, where under the stewardship of then Head Brewer Brad Rogers (who has since founded Stone & Wood in Byron Bay) and now Scott it acts as the Foster’s Group, craft beer arm.
In an interview back in April 2012 Scott said ”We’ve been looking for a suitable site for the best part of 2½ years,” ‘Our lease was expiring at Dandenong South and we wanted a prime location close enough for visitors. It also had to be big enough to take a brewery. The brewing equipment from Dandenong South was moved to Port Melbourne, with extra fermenters and maturation tanks. A brewery bar and visitors’ centre was built and opened earlier this year and is now open seven days a week.
Matilda Bay Brewing Company was named after a water point on the Swan River near the original Nedlands site, which it quickly outgrew and so moved to North Fremantle. Whilst Foster’s bought it out in the 1990′s the provenance of the Matilda Bay brands has been something of a juggling act for their marketing people, especially after the North Fremantle brewery, where Redback, Beez Neez and Bohemian Pilsner were produced, was closed. The larger-volume Matilda Bay beers are now made at Hobart’s Cascade Brewery, joined by Dirty Granny cider.
Well-qualified when it comes to the technical side of brewing and experienced in making many different styles of beer, Scott is keen to ensure that Matilda Bay remains an innovator in the craft beer landscape.
Hi Scott; great to have you as a castaway on our Desert Island; which 5 beers would you want to have with you if you were stranded here and why?
Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) - Redback Pale - (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – 4.7%)
Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) – Alpha Pale Ale – (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – 5.2%)
“Alpha Pale Ale; our most awarded beer what else.”
Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) – Fat Yak - (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – 5.0%)
“Fat Yak; love that hoppy taste and easy drinking style.”
Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) – Dogbolter – (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – 5.2%)
“Dogbolter, I will need something to sip away the cool evenings.”
Reschs (CUB) - Reschs Pilsener – (Sydney, Australia – 4.6%)
“Reschs Pilsner, and The Silver Bullet; back to where it all began.”
“Depends on the time of day and weather. All of them.” Readers please note that Scott; whilst been told that as a brewer to select at most; one only of his own beers, for the Desert Island, has managed to choose a stash of four of his own plus a fifth from Carlton & United Brewers; his paymasters!
You can also take one meal to go with your beers, what would it be and why? Is it a ‘last supper’ or a perfect pairing for one of the beers?
“BBQ Chorizo on a lightly toasted role with mustard, pickles, caramelized onions, tomatoes, tasty aged cheddar, shredded lettuce and a frosty Fat Yak in the summer sun.”
You have a CD/MP3/long player but you can only take one album. Choose wisely!
“Alice Cooper – Welcome to my Nightmare.”
The Beer Book
You might be waiting a long time on your lonesome on the desert island, so we will automatically allow you a few books to keep your mind busy. You can pick between two beer books and two tomes:
• ‘The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver, or;
• Beer by Michael Jackson; plus;
• The Bible, or;
• another appropriate religious or philosophical work
“The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver
IRB Laws of the Rugby Union – the game they play in heaven! Semi-Religious.”
The non-beery, non-philosophical book; you can also take a something a little less taxing on the brain, what would that be?
“The complete works of Tolkein- it’s very long.”
The Luxury Item
What luxury item would help make your stay on the island bearable?
“A Motor boat, that way I can go fishing!”
Have you tried Scott’s favourite beers? Let us know and many thanks to him for taking part and being our castaway for the week.
This article was simultaneously posted at Real Ale Reviews on 7th December 2012 as part of our collaboration on ‘Desert Island Beers’.
Tags: Desert Island Beers, Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) - Alpha Pale Ale, Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) - Dogbolter, Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) - Fat Yak, Matilda Bay Brewing Co. (CUB) - Redback Pale, Reschs (CUB) - Reschs Pilsener, Scott Vincent