SMALL BREWER SEEKS BIG BEERS
Jeff McGrath is ready for hire. After recent success in homebrewing McGrath is fully prepared to take on larger tasks.
And size will be important for the WA resident as he moves from small scale to big beer.
However, McGrath has shown he can make the jump up the levels after an exciting and confidence-boosting 12 months.
McGrath was deemed the Australian Amateur Brewing Champion in September and as a result got the chance to showcase his clone of Russian River’s Pliny The Elder to the drinking public at the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in May.
He worked with Paul Wyman at Colonial Brewing Company to mass manufacture the brew, which was well received amongst the 120 unique beers on offer at GABS.
And it has given the native of the US Rockies in Montana the taste to pursue his goal.
“The end game for me is finding my way into the industry with a job. It is a tough industry to crack into,” McGrath told The Sip.
“I did the study with the International Brewers Guild in the UK but the jobs are few and far between and if they are available they require experience.
“But I’ll push on.”
McGrath has shown the next step doesn’t trouble him after turning his Hop McStuffins from a small batch out of a 70-litre system in his car port to the more than 10 times larger tanks at Colonial.
Hop McStuffins, which as the name suggest oozes the green and yellow stuff, an Imperial Stout and an Imperial Barley Win that hit 16% ABV collected gold medals from the six beers McGrath entered at the amateur awards.
The Imperial India Pale Ale recipe was adjusted perfectly so it would work with the huge increase of ingredients. In the end 400 litres was put into kegs.
“Looking at Untappd (app) after GABS and it was 3.6 out of five and there were some good comments. I was happy with that,” McGrath said. The picture above shows him enjoying Hop McStuffins at Clancy's in Perth.
“When I had this chance I thought ‘great I can brew with Paul again”. He was my first choice as we have got on well over the years.
“Steve Jeffares (festival co-founder) asked whether there were any brewers in WA that could help me brew for GABS and I brewed a beer with Paul when he was The Monk in 2013. It was called Rough Draft, a Robust Porter.
“It is not too hard to scale up but if you have specialty malt it doesn’t scale linearly.
“It’s about how well you know your system. When you know your system and how it reacts it is easy to build up a small recipe.”
McGrath got into brewing in the US two years before coming to Australia.
His wife was undertaking a PHD and the pair opted for a working holiday. However, that was likely to now become an extended stay after five years in Perth.
With some luck McGrath can get the opportunity to impart his influence on some more WA beers.
“We had some friends that I brewed with and they bought a kit as a wedding present. I did some partial mash and then when I came here I went all grain,” he said. “There is good supply in WA.
“I have a cool wife who fully supports me making more beer than I need around the house.
“But it would be nice to do it to a larger scale out of the house.”