Were you to draw a Venn diagram featuring IT geeks and those at the pointier edge of the craft beer world, chances are the overlap would be significant. Often, it seems that when you ask a brewer, blogger or craft beer aficionado what their occupation is (or was) the response will be: “In IT.”
That's the case for the duo behind Little Bang Brewing, the Adelaide brewing company we first featured on the site here. Both are former video game developers who, more than a year ago, ditched the mouse and keyboard to indulge their passion for the malt and hops.
Throughout 2015, Ryan Davidson and Fil Kemp brewed, tasted and released beer as Little Bang Brewing all from Fil’s garage. Originally, they started brewing their own beer to keep the costs down. But, due to overwhelming popularity leading to struggles to keep up with demand for their early releases, such as Beard Fiction, Icon and Uncommon Cloud Saison, from local pubs and drinkers, they realised they needed to step up to the next level and expand.
Now, as 2016 takes shape, a lease has since been signed on a new site, trucks have been packed with their gear and the brewery has moved to a larger headquarters.
The new brewery building has been geekified to the extent that the permanent home for Little Bang is home to a golf and bowling green as well as eight shiny new taps. The entrance features a giant mural of an octopus – one that will be familiar to drinkers who've come across their playfully named Galacatopus: a 10.8 percent ABV American barley wine. On the more practical side of things, they have a 75 person capacity, meaning Ryan and Fil can now look to charm their fans with wit and charisma as they serve them drinks – as well as brewing beer in a more comfortable, open setting, of course.
Within the new dwellings is also some newly acquired, up-cycled brewing equipment, in the form of two 1,200 litre fermenters, a converted kettle and an experimental pilot kit designed and built by Fil. The old tanks they used in their backyard operation will now be repurposed as hot and cold liquor tanks.
The venue is open from midday to 9pm, Fridays and Saturdays, plus whenever they happen to be around. The entire brewery area is open plan, meaning drinkers will be able to watch the beer they’re drinking being made.
Pick the right day to visit and you might get to get involved in brewing too. Every Saturday, the general public will be asked to help out as the 23 litre pilot kit is fired up to create something different.
“With a pilot batch, the general public can have their input to the recipe and, in four weeks' time, they can come back and try it,” says Ryan.
Aside from getting their guests involved, the Little Bang guys have been so inspired by their new setup that they've already been floating around some fresh, innovative ideas for the future that go beyond beer; there's talk of spirits, wine and an ambient temperature saison tank, to name just a few, plus plans to start bottling.
Add in an intention to try out some rare brewing techniques and the fact they should be able to meet their hometown's demand and it's exciting times for Ryan and Fil who, presumably, are rather enjoying life as beer geek's beer geeks.
Photos by Iain Dalrymple.