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Boutique beers emerge from love of home brew

SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Mike Webster shows off his new beer with The Commercial Hotel’s iconic mannequins at Boonah.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Mike Webster shows off his new beer with The Commercial Hotel’s iconic mannequins at Boonah. Claudia Baxter

A BOONAH brewer is cracking the top off a new venture he hopes will boost tourism in the Scenic Rim.

Mike Webster has been bottling home brew for more than 30 years in his backyard shed where he came up with two recipes so good he had to introduce them to others.

Meet Fat Man and Digga - the two brews launched by Scenic Rim Brewery last month.

Mr Webster said the Fat Man Maroon Ale is an Irish red ale representing the spirit of Queenslanders.

"Our milder variety of hops will leave behind a slight bitter taste, but we promise it'll be nothing like what a New South Welshman experiences after frequent losses," he said.

Digga's Pale Ale, a summer fruity beer with a nostalgic flavour, was inspired by Mr Webster's father who served in the First World War.

The former builder and his wife Wendy founded Scenic Rim Brewery in August last year, with their first brew bottled in September at Beard and Brau in Tamborine Village.

Mr Webster did a university course in Germany last year to learn more about microbreweries

"Beer is one of my loves," he said.

"I've been a builder all my life. In 2010 my spine gave way on me and my doctor said a change of employment might be a good idea, so I shut down my building business.

"I started homebrew through necessity. I had a wife and two children and not a lot of money, so one of my mates introduced me to it and I thought this is better than what I can buy commercially."

Since the launch, Scenic Rim Brewery has produced four 750 litre batches of its Larrikin range, which have proven popular at several Boonah pubs where both beers are now available on tap or by the bottle.

The Commercial Hotel publican, Noel Summers, said the ales had both been well received.

"We find a lot of the younger people are all looking to try something different that is boutique in style," he said.

The Websters plan to open their own brewery to give tourists another reason to visit the Scenic Rim. "We've got a couple of sites picked out but it depends on time, dollars and council restrictions," Mr Webster said.

He said boutique beers were highly sought after as an affordable luxury. "Rather than go out and spend $50 of a carton of beer, people are spending a little bit more at $75 for a beer with more flavour," he said.

BEER BASICS

  • Scenic Rim Brewery beers are personally labelled and packed.
  • They are free of artificial preservatives and colours often linked to hangovers
  • Try them at The Commercial Hotel and Simon's Tavern or Mt Alford Hotel.

Topics:  beer brewery


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