When Craig Talbot sets up his handcrafted beer stall at the Springwood Growers Market on December 16 it will be one year since he launched the venture.
The former scientific researcher only had Pale Ale ready for sale at that first Springwood market, but it sold out – a sign of things to come for his Winmalee-based business, Brew Mountains Brewery.
“My problem now is growing pains – I can’t make enough to meet the demand – which is a good problem to have,” said Mr Talbot.
In the last 12 months he has added three more varieties to Brew Mountains Brewery’s range of preservative-free and additive-free beers, producing a Pale Ale, Porter, IPA and West Coast Amber.
Mr Talbot proudly puts the focus on local and Australian ingredients – he even grows some of the hops used in his beers at his Winmalee property.
Born in England, Mr Talbot worked as a cancer researcher in London before moving to Australia and has applied this background to his brewing business. “I used to work with yeast in medical research so I understand the science behind it,” he said.
Like many Blue Mountains residents, he was a city commuter for years while always dreaming of “doing something more local”.
With the support of his Sydney-born wife Gabrielle, that something turned out to be Brew Mountains Brewery.
The origins of Mr Talbot’s passion for beer go back to his childhood in Saddleworth in rural north-west England.
“I’ve been brewing since I was about 12 with my granddad back in England. He was really big about making his own beer and I always used to help him,” he said.
Blue Mountains residents can now enjoy the fruits of that childhood interest at the Rotary Glenbrook Markets on the first Saturday of every month as well as the Springwood Growers Market. Leura Cellars and Glenbrook Cellars also stock the Brew Mountains Brewery range and Mr Talbot has started producing kegs which will be coming to the Station Bar in Katoomba in time for Christmas.
Mr Talbot currently has a limited release Summer IPA available and will be selling another special beer for Christmas at the Springwood and Glenbrook markets – a 9.5 per cent strength, Breakfast Imperial Stout, produced in collaboration with US brewery, The Old Opera Brewing Company.