When we talk about Australian craft brewing here at The Blind Monk - admittedly that's something that happens quite a bit - there's one brewery that always gets us excited; Mountain Goat Beer from Victoria. The MG boys have been fermenting killer beer since the early nineties, while we were all getting down to Powderfinger and Ace of Base, (possibly with a KB lager in hand) they were in their Melbourne Back yards getting creative with water, malt and hops, and those same guys are still going full steam today, but on a much grander scale!
One of the most exciting things that Mountain Goat brew is their Rare Breed series, their latest creation; India Red Ale, is currently flowing from The Blind Monks taps. This is a special beer with four different US hops and some deep red malt to give it a unique, and not to mention, delicious flavour. We spoke to Dave Bonighton from Mountain Goat to find out how the hell he keeps coming up with this stuff!
BM: What made you decide to start jump in and start a brewery.. in other words are you mad?
DB: Yep, stark raving. When we started back in 1997, opening a craft brewery was a certifiable act.
BM: When you started brewing the India Red Ale, did you stumble across this amazing recipe or did you start with an end taste in mind?
DB: We always start with something in mind, and work it back from there. The India Red came about from chewing on some red malt samples we were given.
BM: Are you like most of us, a functioning alcoholic or do you manage to keep yourself under control even though you are surrounded by beer daily?
DB: Yup, I have at least 2 days off a week, and a month a year. It’s a must for longevity, I want to be doing this for a while yet...
BM: What has been the biggest challenge with your brewing?
DB: The challenge is always making the beer the best it can possibly be. So much work goes into that. Most brewers are their own harshest critic.
BM: Where do you see the craft beer industry going?
DB: I’m really optimist about craft beer in Oz. As a beer drinking nation we’re only just waking up to the fact that there’s more to beer than yellow, fizzy lager. Soooo much more.
BM: Do you mainly drink beer or do other beverages really get you going?
DB: I love wine, I also drink whisky and gin. But I always come back to beer. It’s a broad church, from sours all the way to barley wine, a well-made beer is a thing of absolute beauty!
BM: You are consistently brewing the same beers now, Do you still love to get in and invent a new one?
DB: I love the fact that we consistently brew our best-selling beers - that’s challenging but super-rewarding at the same time, but I also love developing new beers. It’s two sides of the same coin. I’m pretty excited about two new brews we’re working on as we speak. Can’t say anymore just yet...
BM: There is talk of cans coming back in... your thoughts - bottles or cans?
DB: For me it’s not one or the other. There’s an occasion for each. I think cans have been neglected for a long time and will find their rightful place sooner rather than later.
BM: Favourite beer you have brewed?
DB: Don’t make me choose...
BM: Finally, When can we get you into The Blind Monk for a session?
DB: How’s tomorrow?