GRANITE BELT BREWERY
Craft Brewer (and chief bottle washer, haha)
GRANITE BELT BREWERY
Location: Stanthorpe, Granite Belt Wine Country, Queensland
photo credit: Lachlan Gardiner
What made you decide to become a brewer?
“After buying Happy Valley Retreat we were in a wine district and wanted to put in a brewery. It was before craft beer went boom in QLD, and we started the process of getting the required approvals from all levels of governments etc.
Initially we were going to use a contract brewer to do most of the work, but brewing is addictive.
We started making 50 litre all grain batches to work out recipes. The more we brewed the more studying I did. I was hooked.”
What did your introduction to brewing look like?
“After doing 50 litre batches for a while, the approvals were obtained and our new equipment turned up.
My cousin’s father-in-law used to own a brewery in Western Australia. Graham came over and helped set up the equipment and he helped me brew the first 4 brews.
His knowledge was priceless and I still discuss ways to improve processes”
What were you doing before this?
“Prior to owning Happy Valley Retreat (now known as Granite Belt Retreat) I was an Business Analyst working on utility billing software in Australian and the England”
What does your day-to-day actually look like?
“Every day is different with the brewery, timber cabins and restaurant. The brewery requires a lot of cleaning to tanks and hoses, and we work a lot to reduce oxygen uptake in the beer .
Brew days are the best days, but more often it is kegging and bottling and more cleaning and typically ends pouring beers in the bar.”
Do you have a favourite product, or one you’re most excited about?
“Our Irish Red Ale, we have worked to make it a good balance of hops and malt.”
Do you have a favourite tool in your trade, that you just couldn’t live/work without?
“Apart from our Dissolved Oxygen Meter, it would have to be our 4 head bottle filler. It can punch out about a carton a minute, a lot better than our manual bottle filler which was a brain numbing job”
What do you wish everyone knew about your products?
“There are no preservatives in our beer, just natural products ”
When you’re not making beer, what do you like to do out and about on the Granite Belt?
“If we have time spare, we head for icecream at Jamworks with the kids.
Otherwise we like Donnellys Castle and Sentimental Rocks for short walks ”
Where you’ll find Geoff…
“I am normally around and if not working in the brewery, I am working in the bar”