Jared Birbeck from Birbeck’s Brewing Company in South Australia is delving into the family history for part of the inspiration for his IPA.
What beer are you making for GABS?
The beer that we will be making will be a traditional mid 1800s style IPA with a bit of a twist. It will be a black IPA. Around 6.5 per cent abv and heavily hopped with traditional English hops it is surprisingly balanced.
Does it have a name yet?
We’re calling this one ‘‘The Merchant’’. All of our beer names form part of the story of Birbeck’s beers. The Merchant has a few links with many Birbecks in Australia and the UK being merchants of some form. William Henry Birbeck, travelled out to Australia in 1843 from London as a merchant seaman. The recipe is based on IPA recipes of that time.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The inspiration came in a couple of ways. Firstly, I’m a passionate homebrewer and had bought Mitch Steele’s book, IPA, which inspired me to craft a recipe at home. Then, discovering more about my family history, it seems there were brewers by the name of Birbeck operating in Cumbria which made doing a bit of a twist on a mid 1800s IPA perfect.
How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
There is a fair amount of effort in designing the beer so that it works. An idea is fine but making the beer balanced, approachable and easy drinking as well as fitting into a reasonable price point takes a bit of juggling.
Does GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
GABS does give the opportunity to try something new. We are in the very early stages of building the business so it offers a great opportunity to get something different out there as well and get our name in front of people. As a homebrewer as well, I love being able to do something different.
Does the spectapular bring out a competitive streak?
It sure does. The opportunity to put up your beer in front of people at an event like this makes me want to make sure the beer is the best it can be. People may not know Birbeck’s when they come in but they will be looking for it afterwards.
Explanation for the unaware: GABS is Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, from May 24-26 this year where brewers make a beer they’ve never made before and bring it along so the punters can try it. Cool, huh?