Say guten tag to Pete Wellington from Mephisto Brewing Company, a nano brewery located south of Adelaide. Inspiration for many of Pete’s beers draw on the years that he lived and drank in Germany with the purists of old. His beers are brewed in very small batches, just 200L at a time. The core range adopts German character names and include Faust Pale Ale, Wagner IPA, Mephisto Stout and the latest style to join the group, Gretchen Wheat Beer. On the 5th of October, Pete is bringing his core range beers, plus three limited releases, to the Franklin Hotel for a complete tap takeover. Before the event, get to know a little more about Pete and his brewing company, Mephisto.
Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?
I’m 29 years old, born and raised in Adelaide, but with a bit of time living in the land of Kölsch, Dunkel and Berliner Weisse, Germany! I’ve worked in a range of fields but from now on I’m the proud owner and head brewer at Mephisto Brewing Co. located in the beautiful Southern Vales region.
Mephisto is a small production brewery, supplying to select venues in South Australia and Victoria. I’ve always been obsessed with all things beer, brewing and the history that goes along with it. I think it was inevitable that I followed this path. Growing up, I was surrounded by family and friends who brewed at home. This introduced me to the excitement of brewing, and the passion and connection brewers have with their beer.
Before establishing Mephisto, I devoted all my spare time to brewing. If I wasn’t at work I was making beer, reading brewing books, or chewing someone’s ear off about it. The problem I had was working full time didn’t allow me to brew the things I researched and the recipes I wrote. Deciding to leave my job and open a brewery wasn’t a hard decision to make. Spending all my time doing exactly what I love has become a lifestyle, not a job so I don’t think I’ll ever retire!
Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?
The support and experience extended to me by established breweries is something I’ll never forget. I’m still inspired by the guidance like-minded people were so generous with and knowing I’m now part of that community is an amazing feeling. I know I’m not alone on my journey.
Q3. How have you seen the industry grow and what do you think are some trends for the future?
The craft beer industry is evolving at an ever accelerating pace, especially in Australia. In the past, we looked to international craft beer consumer preferences to anticipate market direction. Now our Australian independent beer community is setting its own course. The constant development of thousands of new beers each year is pushing creativity to the edge and beyond. With so many minds conjuring up new, exciting styles and ideas, it’s impossible to say what the next big thing will be. All I know is the future is going to be bright and tasty!
Q4. Beer contains a ton of calories, what do you do to keep the beer gut at bay?
Honestly the beer belly took me by surprise at first! I’m of the firm belief that a good writer should read more then he writes, but when you apply this concept to brewing, the results can be unhealthy. I make a conscious effort to eat as healthily as possible whilst keeping active. Balance is key, if you consume the energy, you need to burn it off.
Q5. What was your epiphany beer that set you on your crafty way?
When Vale Brewing first released their India Pale Ale, I couldn’t get enough. At the time, in Adelaide it divided opinions and challenged people’s perceptions of what beer is. It opened my eyes that beer of superior quality was being produced just a short drive from home. I loved it so much, that years later I had a carton posted to me while living abroad! It reminded me of home.
Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?
I’m so happy to announce that Mephisto Brewing Co. is putting on our first ever tap take over at The Franklin Hotel on Friday October 5! It’s exciting to finally be releasing our Wheat Beer, Gretchen, the fourth beer in the House series. Anyone who knows me would attest that this release has been a long time coming – I’ve talked about Gretchen enough! The recipe has been fine tuned for well over two years. I admit, I got crazy and overthought it for a bit, but I’m confident she’s ready now.
Tapped alongside Gretchen will be our first three seasonal releases – a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, a personal favourite; a British Stock Ale I blend with an older vintage full of Brettanomyces; and finally an Imperial lager with 100% flame out hops and enough dry hopping to choke my fermenters!
Q7. We are all friends here in South Australia, so who would you like to collaborate with next and what would you make?
I love the idea of collaborating with other small, local producers. As to what we would brew, it would depend on who was involved. It would have to be something everyone is completely happy with and could brew again 10 years later and still enjoy it.
Q8. Some brewers stick religiously to the style guide lines when brewing a beer, others throw that book out the window. If you were to create your own style, what would it be like?
Jokingly I’ve mentioned a beer called ‘Sorry Stout’ – it’s a beer you could brew to give someone as an apology. The offence in question would determine the exact recipe but it would have to contain lactose because there’s no use crying over spilt Milk Stout!
Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?
I can’t think of a season or climate that doesn’t have an appropriate beer associated with it. I really enjoy my dark beers so I look forward to the onset of the winter weather and a Porter by the fire. Having said that, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold pilsner on a hot night – beer is definitely not a sometimes food!
Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?
I’m more than happy with the path I’m on. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I have had numerous conversations with Pete about his Wheat beer recipe, with the conversation spanning definitely over two years. Pete has a certain attention to detail and strives for perfection in all his beers. I look forward to trying Gretchen, finally, and having a crack at his seasonal release beers next weekend. Thanks Pete.