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MankerBeer Meets: Pre-CBC: Cam Hines/Mountain Goat

Photo: Jason South/theage.com.au

Photo: Jason South/theage.com.au

We have seen pre-Copenhagen Beer Celebration interviews with brewers from China, Japan and New Zeeland – as well as with brewers from the western side of the world but lets stick to the eastern countries, or more specifically Australia. Mountain Goat Brewery is not only one of the more famous Aussie craft breweries but also great proof that beer can be brewed everywhere where someone with the passion for proper beer decides to set up shop. We had a talk with Cam Hines, co-founder and owner of the brewery that have been around for quite a while and since moving 2004 to a new building in North St, Richmond have been in the forefront of a sustainable environment, as an extra their beers are vegan friendly. Australia has not been famous for their craft beer scene and most pubs have been owned by one of the larger breweries, with little room for craft beers on the free taps, so despite being around for over 15 years 2012 marked the year when they for the first time could pay tax on their profits. Like in the rest of the world the winds are chaning and the world wide craft beer scene is growing, but it has taken time. When Mountain Goat first opened they produced 6.000 liters, last year they producted over 1 million litres and with more pubs opening up free taps for craft beer the beer revolution is progressing faster for every day. Let the Q&A begin.

 

Manker Beer: Not all beer festivals have Aussie craft breweries attending; but Copenhagen Beer Celebration sees both Mountain Goat and 8 Wired (although from New Zeeland). What can you tell us about your brewery and yourself?
Cam Hines (CH): We started back in 1997 after Dave and I saw craft beer in North America for the first time. Up until that point I really wasn’t very interested in beer because Australia really only had one type of boring lager on offer. So we changed that and went about trying to convert the local people of Melbourne. I has taken a long time but we are now growing very quickly. Makes me glad we stuck at it.

MB: You and fellow founder Dave Bonighton founded the brewery in 1996, a lot has happened since then – both in Australia but also in the rest of the craft beer world. What is your view on the craft beer revolution that we have seen the last couple of years, could one see it coming back when you started?
CH: We absolutely always thought craft beer would take hold internationally. It has just taken a lot longer than we hoped. But at least it’s happening at last we can be part of it all.

MB: You started shipping beer to the US in 2011 (an IPA and the Hightail Ale), how many international markets do you currently ship to? Is there room for new ones?
CH: We have shipped a bit of beer to the US and Sweden and a dribble into Singapore and Hong Kong. It is very early days for us and yes I think there is opportunity for more export markets in the future. We just have too be able to keep up with production first.

MB: CBC is a great meeting platform with brewers-only events, for you personally what do you look forward to the most with CBC?
CH: I have never been to Copenhagen so first up that is exciting to me. But to get all these great breweries together from around the globe is going to be awesome. I’m sure we we will get to meet some great brewers and beer geeks!

MB: It seems as if more and more Australian brewpubs look beyond their local market? What is the status of the Australian craft beer scene?
CH: In the last two years good beer has really started to take hold in Australia in a big way. What is really cool is that many bars / pubs are not renewing their tap contracts with the big breweries and instead are putting some great craft beer. The momentum is building by the day so it will be exciting to see how far we can take it here.

MB: You have made a couple of collaborations, some only with Australian breweries; among them Abbey Collabbey which has been made twice now together with Matilda Bay and Moondog, if I’m correct? How did you come up with the idea for Abbey Collabbey?
CH: Basically there are two other breweries very close by to us in Melbourne. We thought why not get us all together and see what comes of it? It’s been a lot of fun.

MB: In 2011 Mountain Goat made the first international collaboration for an Aussie brewery and together with one of my favorite British breweries Thornbridge you brewed Thorny Goat. Has this collaboration and the collaborations among Aussie breweries made it easier for future collaborations by putting Australia on the beer map?
CH: Yeah I think first and foremost it’s just great top get like-minded brewers together. For sure it helps spread the word too and that is a bonus.

MB: How is an average day in Cam Hines life and how has it changed along the growth of the brewery?
CH: My average day has changed a great deal in the last two years. At last we have been able to employ more staff and those staff do their jobs very well. So much better than Dave and I trying to do everything ourselves. So finally we are starting to work on the business rather than in it. I oversee our sales manager, financial controller and bar manager and then they all have many staff that report to them. My business partner Dave looks after everything to do with production and now has a head brewer who sits below him. We’ve both travel a reasonable amount these days, meeting with distribution partners, trade etc.

MB: What breweries do get inspired by and admire the most?
CH: I really like the little guys that are fresh and new and I also have a huge amount of respect for more established breweries that have opted to stay independent. The challenges just keep getting thrown at you and I admire tenacity a great deal.

MB: Which Mountain Goat beer is your favorite and which one do you think could be improved or is the least satisfied with?
CH: I am enjoying our IPA at the moment and we brew a stout called Surefoot in winter. I like that a lot. We are doing some tweaking on our Hightail right now. Just some gentle tweaking to get it to the best place we can

MB: What should beer fans really not miss at Copenhagen Beer Celebration?
CH: Fancy Pants is a nice one. Nothing crazy, just a nice fruity amber ale that is very drinkable. It’s a hot climate here, so we have learned to make beers with flavour that you can drink a few of.

We are really exited to try some more Aussie brews at CBC and we are thankful for the time set aside by Cam for our little interview. The full list of beers at CBC can be found through this link and the below listing of the beers Cam is bringing is subjective to change. Pinks gets to try them all.

 

Mountain Goat CBC Beer List:

  • Hightail Ale
  • Steam Ale
  • IPA
  • Rapunzel
  • Lil Sister
  • Surefoot Stout
  • Bubble and Squeak
  • Abbey Collabey
  • Fancy Pants

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  1. […] bryggerier som kommer närvara. Det är en imponerande arbetsinsats och du kan läsa intervjuer med Cam Hines från Mountain Goat, Gabe Fletcher på Anchorage Brewing och Bryan Baird från Baird Brewing. Bland många, många […]


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