By: Chris Heaton; EMERALD VALE BREWERY
Cycling, trail running, hiking, good food and of course beer are some of the activities associated with our brewery, and of course general happy family fun.
It is quite easy to see why being involved with a restaurant and especially a brewery can be seen to be a romantic adventure. So, at the age of 44 changing ones Job title to: Guy who likes beer so much he makes it himself. Whatever he does not drink he sells, sounds like the dream job and totally irresponsible. Add into the equation a restaurant, and it starts to sound like a bit of work.
It’s after seven years of hard grind, ups and downs one realises that you are not able to participate in the social weekend activities, this does start to wear one down a bit. So quickly does time pass, that we have seen couples get engaged, married, fall pregnant, and as we welcome these families when they visit us for a meal at the weekends, we watch their kids grow from the side-line. It is difficult to remain focused especially when there is nobody to kick your butt, but still to this day it has been the best experience ever.
So, when an old guy (he is a couple of months older than me) posted memories of his first cycle ride and his impressive achievements since then. I decided on a whim that I would get on a bike and ride some of the trails we had created at the brewery. After all, it was on my doorstep., having adjusted my sons’ hard and uncomfortable seat to the maximum height, at 6am in the morning I set off on the arduous target of riding up the 800m driveway and back. To tell you that I struggled is an understatement, I nearly threw up at the gate and I still had to get back. It’s been a couple of weeks now and things that seemed impossible, like riding over the fence ramps or crossing a stream, seem achievable.
With this spurt of activity, I have found a new energy and found myself inspired, thinking more about creating new beers and improving on the ones that we already produce. Beer-making although simple in respect to the ingredients used (water, barley malt, hops, yeast), the difficulty of creating a drinkable beer is difficult let alone creating a great beer.
My simple method of assessment on general beer quality is down to simple rules.
No.1 Can you drink it?
No.2 If you can drink it will you have another one?
No. 3 Will you have it again in the future?
The complexities and the style of the beer does come into play, but drinkability is far more important. As a beer maker (not master) it is great to find unexpected inspiration from sore legs and a very painful butt.