Haaaaaave You Met……Western Ridge Brewing Part 2?

‘Haaaaaave you met’, shines a spotlight on the brewery owners, the brewers, venue managers, the beer pourers, the sales representatives, bottle shop workers and the beer drinkers of the SA craft beer industry. We will discover their inner secrets, find out what gets them out of bed in the morning and we might even unravel some exclusive news along the way. The hard questions have been asked, so you don’t have to. Enjoy!

Western Ridge Group Photo
Photograph by Martin Ritzmann

Part two of the Western Ridge Brewing and Distilling Collective sees Alex Marschall and Olexij Straschko. The first part was extremely informative and it was evident that these guys mean business. Take a look at what Alex and Olexij has to say about our great industry.

Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?

Alex: I am Alex Marschall and although I have been a passionate spectator in the SA craft beer industry for a number of years, I have only been actively contributing for 10 months since the opening of NOLA Adelaide (craft beer bar) in which I am a co-owner. I have now taken a step further and joined a brewing collective (Western Ridge Brewing) to allow me to share my honed beers with the SA public after years of home brewing.

Olexij: My name is Olexij Straschko and I’m part of a collective of brewers called the Western Ridge Brewing Collective. In this we focus on creating beers made by brewers not just by a brewery. We are trying to put faces to beers, not a label.

Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?

Alex: Since swinging open the doors at NOLA we have accepted an adopted family of beer enthusiasts through our ‘Tipping for Taps’ campaign, brewed multiple collaborations (i.e. Fringe FestivAle 1, 2, 3 & 4 with Little Bang, Cherry Ripe Porter with Barossa Valley Brewing, Blood Moon IPA with Mismatch and a few more in the tanks!  Held successful beer degustation’s, and rolled out a mobile bar (The Beer Porter) allowing us to bring good beer to anyone for their private events.

Olexij: I’ve been pretty chuffed to see our beers recently out there in the public, I’m a simple guy to please and making other people happy with good beer is pretty damn good to me. Making the dream a reality is amongst the greatest moments, I imagine moving into our own space will be a moment of greatness.

Q3. Predicting the future, what trends are coming in the near future for beer in Australia?

Alex: I think heavily hopped beers will continue to be highly sought after, sour beers are still gaining steady momentum and people will continue to get more and more experimental with ingredients to try and create the next unique specialty brew.

Olexij: I think we will shift away from the big, hoppy, boozy beers and move towards alternatives even embracing the healthier sides of fermented beverages. Production wise, I see a shift towards the local, celebrating the businesses that help other small businesses. That’s true at least in our business model as we seek to use locally made malt and locally grown hops.

Q4. What is your favourite beer style and how did this come to be?

Alex: I am still a big fan of a nice fresh and well balanced IPA. On a hot Australian day nothing beats an IPA with truck loads of refreshing hop aromas balanced out with a sizeable bitterness and malt body.

Olexij: Whilst I love different beer styles for different occasions, I always can enjoy a malty darker APA towards the red spectrum.

Q5. Where is one place that you would love to see good beer served?

Alex: Everywhere! I think everyone deserves to have access to quality, locally brewed craft beers. Perhaps one market not yet conquered, would be having a decent range of craft beer cans during airplane flights.

Olexij:  Music festivals! Our first beer actually was for a local music festival so that was pretty cool, but most beer at music festivals is average and overpriced. It doesn’t have to be that way but it often is. We have plans to change this!

 Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?

Alex: As mentioned above, keep an eye out for Western Ridge Brewing beers popping up. We are due to released our first brew in late 2016 and have an exciting line-up of recipes to follow!

Olexij: We plan to work more closely with malt and hop producers in Barossa and really create beers that celebrate what Barossa has to offer for flavour and seasonal changes. I wish I could share more but there are definitely great things beyond the horizon.

Q7. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Alex: More often than not, my alarm. I have set a reminder to go out to the shed and check on the progress of my homebrew’s ferment before leaving for work!

Olexij: Needing to poop. Haha, but seriously, I like having a coffee whilst going outside to feed the animals and water the garden before trudging off to the gulag

 Q8. Do you dream about beer? If so, what is your most memorable dream about beer?

Alex: Very regularly! …but more so day dreaming.

Olexij: I have dreamed about picking bucket loads of hops, that’s pretty close to beer. I’m super fond of gardening so that plays on my mind.

 Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?

Alex: Spring is an exciting time for drinking as everyone’s moods are lifting, the days are getting longer, and beach sessions are just around the corner!

Olexij: Summer would have to be my favourite beer guzzling season, because the weather is fine you can actually feel really rewarded after hard work with a few cold beers. However when I think about it I probably drink worse beer in summer because the first beer after busting my gut in the garden goes down far too quickly so I care less about what that first one is.

 Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?

Alex: I would love to own and operate my own brewery. The ability to design and brew from the ground up and then share it with the public would be a great feeling.

Olexij:  Part time hop farmer/breeder, part time brewer. This combines both my loves. In fact, I’m almost there but not getting much money for it but I really cant complain.

That is the entire Western Ridge Brewing Collective now featured and it seems they all have the same direction. I find it an interesting point about each member owning their own recipes and can take their beers with them if they leave. Thanks lads for your answers. Next week I will feature Frank Samson from Prancing Pony.

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