Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Published September 25th 2012
Drink beer, save the world
Sitting at a pop-up bar set up in the North Melbourne Town Hall for the Other Film Festival speaking with Deano from the Good Brew Company I cannot help but be reminded of a quote attributed to John Lennon. A young Lennon was asked by his primary school teachers to write down what he wanted to be when he grew up. After reading his response of "Happy" they, according to Lennon, "told me that I didn't understand the exercise. I told them they didn't understand life."
So it is with Deano who turned his back on a career in computer programming, a field in which he holds two tertiary degrees, to found the Good Brew Company. Deano can deliver hand crafted beers (in keg or stubby form) around Melbourne's inner north, all from a bicycle. Good Brew is also able to set up a bar at any social function within bicycling distance of its Brunswick home base.
I was speaking to Deano the morning after a rather surreal experience where he was serving a packed bar that was completely silent. This is because the punters at the bar were all deaf and used sign language to hold their conversations. "I've never seen a more vibrant bar but without sound," Deano laughs. The real challenge that night had been to communicate to the customers that it was closing time.
It all started in 2007 when Dean was in Germany. He received a call from his mother informing him that his father had just purchased a brewery. After being assured that this was not some elaborate hoax to lure her beloved son back to Australia, he jumped on the next plane back to Melbourne and began his career as a micro-brewer.
Deano is now in the lucky position of being able to indulge in his two passions: brewing and environmental activism. After his father purchased Buckley's Brewery he realised how much energy was used in the brewing process. "I loved the flavours that he was getting out of his vats but the environmental impact was killing me," says Deano. Thus it wasn't long before solar panels were installed on the roof of the beer factory with evacuated heat tubes used to heat the water for brewing. Not only does this save thousands of dollars in electricity and massively reduce carbon emissions but it also means the brewing process is expedited by having the water at temperature almost immediately.
Good Brew is all about "carbon minimisation" rather than carbon neutralisation. The latter option requires cash investment in carbon offsets and abominable paperwork. Carbon minimisation on the other hand simply requires Dean to "cut out packaging, use evacuated heat to brew the beer and concentrate on bicycle based logistics" .
Thus the Good Brew Company can now supply weddings, parties and events across Melbourne's inner north with quality hand crafted beer that has had its carbon footprint drastically reduced during its production, delivered from an environmentally friendly bicycle.
The chief products of Good Brew are Buckley's Beers. I was able to sample the malty Original Ale, the zesty (and genius) Lemongrass Pale Ale and the Dark Bock (a stout brewed like a lager which combines the nutty flavours of a stout with the crisp finish of a lager beer). All are fantastic beers, lovingly hand crafted and devoid of any chemicals often employed on the mass-production line.
Good Brew does not stop at beer however and I was also able to sample Dean's simply delicious "Magic Tea" that is a combination of apple juice, yerbamate', damiana, green tea, apple juice, kombucha plus bubbles. Kombucha (pronounced 'Kom-bootch-ah) is in fact one of Deano's passions and he shows me a bottle of the stuff which contains a "symbiotic culture of bacteria floating in a jar of green tea". Although this may not sound appetising I can assure you it is both invigorating and tasty. "It gets rid of any nasty hangover you might pick up (from other people's beers)," Deano enthuses. "It wakes you up and it fires up your body".
His magic tea is always greeted enthusiastically. "Everyone's asking me 'this is good, where do I buy this?' because everyone's stuck in 'oh this is good I must be able to buy it in a supermarket' but some things are so good you can't get them in a supermarket," and that very much sums up the Good Brew philosophy. This is part of the revolution beginning in our purchasing culture. Like customers of farmers markets rejecting the duopoly of supermarkets in Melbourne, people are now gaining a conscience regarding the ecological impact of our purchasing behaviours.
Next time you're throwing a party don't go and buy slabs of generic bitter or even hire a keg of mass produced swill, instead give your guests a taste of something real and also save the world while drinking beer at a very competitive price. Deano, his brilliant brews, his magic tea, his infectious enthusiasm and his bicycle are waiting.