As part of our Club Hops subscription, we interview industry legends from the Australian beer brewing community. This edition we chatted to DJ McCready, co-founder and head brewer at Mountain Culture in Katoomba, NSW!
Image: Mountain Culture Brewing Co
Which of your beers are you most proud of?
The Hazy IPAs have been a huge success for us, but I would be lying if I said they were in our initial plans when opening the brewery. In fact, I had never brewed a hazy beer before starting Mountain Culture. We’re proud of them and of how they have developed over the time we’ve been opened - especially the Status Quo because it was the beer we put the most amount of work into perfecting. But on a personal note, I’m proud of our Decoction Lagers. A style that is not often made these days and one that meant we had to get undermodified malt made especially for us to brew them with.
Do you prefer to use traditional or hi-tech methods and equipment in your brewery?
I custom designed our brew kit so that we could do decoction mashing. We also installed a Reverse Osmosis filter so that we could basically start every brew with demineralised water and ‘build’ the water from scratch for each brew.
Have you got a definite plan for the future, or do you just go with the flow?
A bit of both. We know where we want to be in five years but you always have to be flexible. In our first year we had to contend with the Blue Mountains fires, flood and then Covid 19 which meant we ended up in a very different spot to where we had planned, but just had to adapt to make the most of it.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the business?
Tell us a little bit about your label designs.
They’ve been a long learning process with a lot of experimentation. We’ve used many different designers but we’re now finally settling on an identity with them. We want to express a bit of the Blue Mountains mixed with some vintage Patagonia. Sometimes we just want something pretty normal yet catchy to balance out the weird names and captions.
What’s the next big purchase in the brewery?
A robot arm.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking beer?
Generally a good Gin & Tonic or Negroni.
What’s your current favourite hop varietal and why?
I’ve been loving the Australian hop Vic Secret for its strong Orange rind and Pineapple flavour.
Where do you source your hops?
We usually just send Pat out into the wild and see what he comes back with. Sometimes we get lucky and he’s actually found hops!
What’s the biggest mistake a brewer can make in terms of hopping their beer?
Adding lots of hops but at the wrong time.
Want to explore Mountain Culture beer?
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Club Hops is the best way for you to indulge in all things bitter and hoppy. We hand select a dozen outstanding hop forward beers every two months, and cold ship them straight to your door!
Each pack will contain only the freshest brews, all cold stored on site to maintain those bitter, herbal, floral and resinous notes. You can expect your fill of Pale Ales, IPAs, and perhaps some higher alcohol Imperials, hopped dark ales, and other hoppy surprises!