With a new brewery coming, new branding launched this week and the GABS 2015 People's Choice award under his belt, it's been a great year for Steve "Hendo" Henderson of BrewCult.
We had a chat to him about the wins of his recent past and his plans for the future, which you can read here. We'd also already sent him the questions for our Brew & A feature so, if you'd like to know a little more about the man behind the 'Cult, read on...
Why are you a brewer?
My vascular system is dependent upon a steady supply of beer. Without it, I would probably die.
What would you be if you weren’t a brewer?
In some boring IT job dreaming of becoming a brewer.
What was your epiphany beer?
Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale – back in the day when it was brewed in North Fremantle. I was living in Perth when I discovered craft beer and although I had plenty of Little Creatures in my time, it was Alpha with its huge hop kick that made me go like Miro in that video.
What’s the best beer you’ve ever brewed?
I'm particularly proud of Southern Bay Hop Bazooka IPA. I love the first iterations of that beer, the original label and how a cool bunch of passionate crew worked together to make a fantastic IPA out of a very, very old brewery that was originally designed to make lager.
What’s your single favourite ingredient to use in beer?
Are there beers you’ve regretted brewing or would have been best left on the drawing board?
No, thankfully. If ever I do what I call a "high risk" beer which has ingredients or techniques that would make the beer extreme, I will pilot brew it in my kitchen just to be sure.
If you could do a guest spot at any brewery in the world, which would it be and why?
Magic Rock. Stu is a legend, his beers are awesome and I'd love to return the favour of having him as a guest in my brewery.
Which local (Australian or Kiwi) breweries inspire you?
KAIJU! and Exit because they keep me on my toes to innovate as well as being handsome gentlemen. Shenanigans and Wolf of the Willows because they both make cracking XPAs like Winston and XPA.
I also love the flourishing nano scene in Brisbane which mostly centres around Bacchus – here I dig Brewtal and Beans Brew – great guys making very small batch beer and giving it a red hot go.
What is your desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
Assuming it's a tropical locale with hot weather I'd be pretty content with Stone & Wood Pacific Ale.
If you couldn’t have beer, what would be your tipple of choice?
Gin. Whisky. Nuff said.
And what would be the soundtrack to the those days?
Skrillex ... because things are about to get messy.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before becoming a brewer?
Probably the business aspect of running a brewing company. I wish I knew more about accounting as I'm still learning.
And the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone considering a career in craft beer?
Get educated. I speak to many people who want to go pro and I say to each and every one of them, "go and get an education". Go do Federation Uni, ECU, TafeSA, Siebel or IBD but go and get a formal education.
Many people see me as a home brewer gone pro but what they don't realise is that, although I am an avid home brewer, I didn't just wake up one morning and decide to go pro. I spent five years while still working in IT getting a formal brewing education.
Do the hard yards.
Thanks, Hendo. Look out for details of a forthcoming launch event for his new look beers at The Catfish in our Events Diary soon...