If the brewery you work for closes, there is only one option – start your own brewery.
For our latest Brewer Profile we caught up with Annabel Meagher, who has started Himmel Hünd Brewing in Victoria, having been part of the fall out of the closure of the Matilda Bay brewery in Melbourne earlier this year.
Himmel Hünd recently launched their first beer, Himmel Hünd Witbier and it’s already winning awards. The labelling took out a Gold at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.
With future plans to open a small brewery in Western Suburbs of Melbourne, we spoke to Annabel who kindly answered our ten questions.
Annabel Meagher – Himmel Hünd Brewing, VIC
1. What was your first brew?
My first beer at Himmel Hünd is a Belgian style witbier spiced with coriander and sweet orange peel. My first beer ever was a Coopers Pale Ale in a can – just add water 😉
2. How did you get this job?
I had been brewing for nearly 10 years at home after doing an all grain brewing project during my chemical engineering degree at uni and went on to study and work in Germany, where I drank a lot of great beers all over Europe. I built my own shed brewery back in Australia and I eventually decided to study brewing at Federation University and did work experience at Matilda Bay for 6 months. Unfortunately they closed and I decided to start my own brewing company with my partner, Henry who is a business analyst.
3. What’s your favourite beer that you have brewed?
The favourite beer that I’ve ever brewed is a raspberry pale ale that I made for fun… it was a messy operation and we didn’t bother accounting for the extra fruit sugars properly. So the beer had to be half frozen in the freezer before opening to stop it gushing. But it tasted fantastic!
4. What’s your favourite beer brewed by others?
Anything by La Sirene, they are making really fantastic beers at the moment. I used to love Hoegaarden – my “go to” beer, but as my palate has changed over the years and since they were taken over by a big company I have found it lacks a bit of substance and flavour for my current taste. Also a big fan of new Quiet Deeds white IPA.
5. Which beer would you like to brew?
I want to (and plan to!) brew a real sour beer. I love drinking sour beers and would like to have a go at turning my witbier into a sour raspberry or stone fruit ale using real wild yeast and leaving it in a wine barrel for a couple of years. I think sour beers are going to be the next big thing in beer.
6. What name would you really like to give to a beer, and what type of beer would it be?
Well I had a great idea for a beer name and style that came to me a couple of weeks ago….sorry, it’s top secret!
I would like to make a series of special beers named after breeds of dog that suit that style, such as a light beer named “Chihuahua” or a strong dark Abbey style ale called “Rottweiler”… I think it’d go nicely with our dog theme.
7. What’s your favourite beer style?
It’s a toss-up between a German hefeweizen and a German dunkelweizen…. Basically anything with wheat!
8. What’s your favourite hop variety?
I use a lot of Saaz but I love Hallertau hops the most. They smell amazing and remind me of all of my favourite German beers.
9. What’s your favourite malt variety?
Probably caramel malt because I love the deep red colour it gives to beers and mostly because I like to eat it when I’m brewing!
10. Which do you prefer – draught, bottle or cans?
Draught tastes better as long as the beer is fresh and the lines are looked after by the venue. There’s something great about a can too – great for camping and chilling on a hot summers day.
Technical Details of Brewery plant
We currently brew at Southern Bay Brewing Co. in Moolap.
It is a 120hL system that was built in the 1950s.
I develop my recipes on my own pilot system and scale it up. It’s an old brewery, but it’s also very well looked after and sturdy.
We always say at Southern Bay that this is real brewing because it’s very hands on. You even adjust the temperature of the mash tun using a hand valve, a bucket and a thermometer!