Wig & Pen Brew Day

By Sam Highley, Editor

Gazza_Duffbowl One of the most popular days on the Canberra Brewers calendar each year is the Wig & Pen Brew Day. The extremely generous support of Lachie McOmish (owner) and Richard Watkins (brewmaster) of the Wig & Pen allowed about sixty members and friends to gather at the crack of 9am on Saturday 4 June, for a day full of beer, coffee, cheese and food.

Richard set out to provide evidence that a focus on the process, rather than the ingredients, is the best way to improve your brewing. With this in mind, he designed a beer featuring no less than sixty ingredients, including twenty different types of both malt and hops. The resulting beer was on-tap recently at the July club meeting, and the general consensus was that it was a definite winner.

A new initiative for this year was to provide every attendee with a job for the day. This ensured not only that everything got done, including the less-than-desirable jobs like spent-grain shifter and mash-tun cleaner, but also everyone got involved in some way. The most important job for the day was Water Control Officer, which was handed out to Paul (aka Phaesler, aka Mozzie) in honour of his diligent work in the days leading up to the event, keeping everyone abreast of the water-supply issues that never eventuated.
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Paul (aka phaesler) (1)

Paul (aka Phaesler), water-control officer for the day.
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Wig & Pen Brew Day 2011

The Canberra Brewers members take over the Wig & Pen for the day
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Jonathan (aka Defenestrator) and Keenan (aka bluetoff)

Jonathan (aka Defenestrator) and Keenan (aka bluetoff) weigh out hops
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Richard Watkins ran the members through a guided-tasting of a couple of barrel-aged beers produced at the pub, including Lunch With The Monks and Bob's Armpit, before we headed downstairs and got a tour of the new fermentation and barrel rooms. While downstairs, we were treated to a few more samples of some sour beers, and before we headed back upstairs to the pub, we got an exclusive tasting of the yet-to-be-tapped Russian Imperial Stout (RIS).
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Paul (aka Phaesler)

Can you pick "Bob's Armpit" from "Lunch With The Monks" purely by aroma?
Yes would be the answer, as Paul (aka Phaesler) discovered.
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Fermentation, fun for the whole family!

Richard Watkins shows Canberra Brewers members Chris (aka Growler) and
Conn (and child) through one of the fermentation rooms at the Wig & Pen
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Richard and Ben

Ben (aka bennyc) receiving a sneak peek of the Russian Imperial Stout (RIS)
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One of the new features of this years event was a fantastic cheese-making demo hosted by Wig & Pen owner Lachie McOmish, where he demonstrated the process of making camembert and ricotta cheese. Those club members who hadn't already soaked-up all their free time with all-grain brewing were inspired by the possibilities of home-made cheese.
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Andrew (aka Andrew Blen****), Lachie (Wig & Pen) and Paul (aka phaesler)

Andrew (aka Andrew Blen****) and Paul (aka phaesler) watch as Lachie
demonstrates the curd-cutting process as part of a cheese-making demo.

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Not to be outdone by home-made cheese making, David Steel (aka Steelo) provided an amazing demonstration of home coffee-roasting, that involved the repurposing of a bread maker and heat gun to roast green coffee beans into a spectacularly evenly-roasted and very tasty product. Those that tasted the coffee agreed that the result was very impressive, and i'm sure there were bread makers missing from quite a few Canberra kitchens in the weeks that followed.
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Coffee roasting

Dave Steel (aka Steelo, second from left) demonstrates DIY coffee roasting.
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I'm already looking forward to next years event, and until then, we can only hope that it will come close to what was a fantastic event this year.

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Posted in Committee Reports, Editor's report and club news

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