How do you like your beer? Preservative, additive and chemical free, hangover-proofed, sparklingly clear, locally made, brewed just the way you like it?
We found such a beer in a boutique Burleigh restaurant, so we went looking for its source: Aardvark and Arrow Brewery in Varsity, our own Gold Coast owned and operated microbrewery!
If I’m really truthful about my experience brewing beer, it extends no further than helping Pa wash out the bottles, so getting a lesson on how to brew professionally is a bit beyond me. But somehow, Guy Scruton, the owner of Aardvark and Arrow Brewery, makes it all sound very simple!
Aardvark and Arrow is a dual function microbrewery. Not only do they brew small batches (50 litre lots) of beer to order for specialty clients such as boutique restaurants and clubs, but they’re also open for the public to brew their own blend using the brewery’s commercial grade equipment and professional help. No joining fee; just come and take a look!
Our tour is a real eye opener. This is as far from the home brewing setup in Pa’s garage as you can imagine! Housed in a huge warehouse in Varsity Lakes, Aardvark and Arrow is huge ‘man cave’ of leather lounges, sparkling vats and white 50 litre plastic kegs which will house the life of many a party!
The beauty of small batch brewing is that you can pay attention to detail, manipulating the product for individual taste – less hops, more malt, more or less alcohol, gluten free…making the brew exactly the way you like it. The beer is handcrafted, commercial quality and you can even boast that you’ve made it yourself!
Here’s a quick guide to the process… Firstly, select the style of beer you like. (You’ve got a choice of about 100 beers and several ciders, so this is where a previous tasting test comes in handy!) Use the recipe card to tell you the amount of hops (added in three lots), malt and grain to add to the kettle, plus yeast, which is added after the wort is filtered and cooled. This whole process takes about an hour. Your barrel of brew is then moved into the climate controlled fermentation room for 10 days, then into refrigeration for the brew to settle (the lagering process). After carbonation and filtering, it’s ready to be canned, bottled or put into a keg for you to take home – your own ‘honest to goodness’ quality beer for half the price! For many enthusiasts, making beer is a social occasion, one you might like to share with friends!
Refrigeration is a must for microbrewed beer because it is preservative free. The brewery has ‘kegerators’ available which hold two kegs of beer, or there’s even a refrigerated option at the venue. Needless to say, you can buy a keg for a party; hire a sound system, a fridge, or even the venue!
But before you embark on the brewing journey, find out which beer you prefer. Every third Friday night of the month from 4pm – 7pm is Tasting Night. For $10 there’s a sausage sizzle, raffles and different varieties of beer and cider on tap. It’s a great opportunity to meet other brewers, to try different varieties, or even to find a partner or two to split a brew lot. Overlooking the action in the den is a huge aardvark. Cheeky and cheerful, it’s a wonder he’s not winking!
It all sounds like a lot of fun! I can see myself reclining on one of those leather lounges with a glass of cider or ginger beer in hand…so long as I don’t have to wash up all those bottles!
Unit 4/13 John Duncan Court, Varsity Lakes, Queensland 4227 Ph: 07 5593 8050