Introducing Denham D’Silva, owner and founder of Barossa Valley Brewing Company. Beers such as ‘Hop Heaven, Canis Major and I Can’t Believe it’s Not Bacon’, are released from this brewery. The Hop Heaven and Canis Major are awarded winning beers with Hop Heaven being awarded multiple gold medals at the AIBA awards and the Canis Major taking out the best beer in show at the 2014 Adelaide beer awards. Barossa Valley Brewing is one of the first craft breweries in SA, opening back in 2005. Denham is an old hand at running a brewery, so take a look at his answers and his thoughts on our great industry in South Australia.
Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?
Denham D’Silva. Founder of Barossa Valley Brewing
Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?
Recently I got the chance to sit at Ken Grossman’s table at the 2017 AIBA awards. His Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is what got me into craft and I told him I suspect my Hop Heaven may have been influenced at a subconscious level by his iconic Pale Ale. Soon after Hop Heaven was announced as a gold medal winner. Ken was the 1st person to congratulate me. Very cool moment.
More regularly we challenge some of the world’s best wine makers at our regular Beer v Wine dinners. We have won the day against some extremely prestigious wineries. Watching wine lovers realise that well-made beer is an amazing beverage that can sit next to the best wines in the world is always a great and satisfying moment.
Q3. Predicting the future, what trends are coming in the near future for beer in Australia?
I think there will be two distinct craft categories which will grow. Craft will move into main stream and the growth of ‘Session’ beers will continue. But I think there will continue to be growth in unique beers such as barrel aged and sours. Craft breweries are nimble and open to innovation so I see this being something which we do well and should not loose as a point of difference.
Q4. What is your favourite beer style and how did this come to be?
I keep wandering down many rabbit holes but keep coming back to hop driven IPA’s and APAs. I think this is because I fell in love with craft in the USA in the early 1990s when this style hit the scene.
Q5. Where is one place that you would love to see good beer served?
Think everyone says this but sporting stadium, cricket, footy, rugby.
Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?
We are starting a barrel aged and fortified beer program which we are very excited about. We plan on working with wineries in the Barossa.
Q7. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The knowledge that there are no rules. I can experiment as much as I want in an effort to create amazing beer.
Q8. Do you dream about beer? If so, what is your most memorable dream about beer?
Yes, we are developing some new packaging technology and have dreams about this new innovation. Can’t say much more unfortunately.
Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?
I drink beer all year round but Summer is my favourite. While I am very big on matching beer and food at anytime, a BBQ with great beer and back yard cricket with my kids on a warm Summer day is an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?
I have a few passions, family, my kids, rugby but in terms of profession, I did the corporate thing for over 10 years and there is nothing I can see myself being as dedicated to as creating great beer.
I like the statement about craft breweries being nimble and innovative, which as Denham said, sets the independent breweries apart from their commercial counterparts. It looks like Barossa Valley are going to continue on with some fortified beers, after their 18 percent fortified stout for this years GABS. Thanks Denham for your time. Next week we have Barossa Valley’s lead brewery Tom, who also has an interesting side project that has not been seen in SA before.