Say hello to Pete Fincher, assistant brewer and all things beer at Sweet Amber Brew Co, Regency Park. Pete has an interesting background, working abroad in Saudi Arabia, China and Wales for many years in the aquaculture industry. He dabbled in set skill areas that directly translate into the brewing industry, such as sanitation of equipment, chemistry, physics and of course; physical labour. Pete is also passionate about music, first picking up a guitar when he was 15. Since then he has merged into the DJ scene, playing at raves and clubs in both Adelaide and Melbourne. In 2012 he started his own techno label called Nightime Drama, however he has since handed the label over to focus on his brewing.
Q1. Who are you and how are you involved in the SA beer industry?
Hi everybody, I’m Pete! Assistant brewer and beer slinger at Sweet Amber Brewing Co. (Regency Park).
Q2. What are some of the great moments you have had whilst being involved in this industry?
Well, where to begin… The fermenter blowing up in my face. Misreading recipes and dry-hopping with twice the dose – of the wrong hop. Being covered in yeast slurry… All very memorable moments filled with joy.
Actually, my first brew day was slightly stressful but very rewarding. Or was it ‘very stressful’ and ‘slightly rewarding’? I can’t recall.
Beer & BBQ was also great to meet a bunch of awesome people in the South Australian brewing industry. I’m sure I’ll get to meet everyone else soon.
Q3. How have you seen the industry grow and what do you think are some trends for the future?
There seems to be a lot happening at the moment in SA, don’t you think? Some of the more well-established breweries are making massive upgrades or building entirely new facilities. There’s a bunch of new contract and gypsy brewers launching beers. New venues are opening. Old venues are becoming more craft conscious. Still, there’s plenty of growth ahead…
As far as beer styles go, since we’re breaching summer, I think Brut and Sour IPA’s will start to appear more. Bruts won’t last long though, they’re slightly underwhelming in my opinion.
If there’s something I would like to see more of in the future, it’s self-sufficient brew pubs – like the Wheaty. Something I have learnt from working for Sweet Amber is that community is a real focus, and this type of venue (brewpub/taphouse) nurtures community. I’d love to see more brewpubs in the suburbs.
Q4. Beer contains a ton of calories, what do you do to keep the beer gut at bay?
No, I shouldn’t joke. I try to keep on my feet and busy at the brewery. Unfortunately, where there’s a brewery – there’s beer. So, it can be a bit of an arm wrestle at times. Lately I’ve been getting back into some old fitness regimes in an attempt to deflate it completely. Watch this space.
That’s something else Sweet Amber has a strong focus on, balance. It’s easy for drinking a general health to get out of control in this industry but the staff and owners are good at creating a healthy environment.
Q5. What was your epiphany beer that set you on your crafty way?
To be honest, probably Vale Ale when it first hit the shelves. It was literally a flick of the switch, I never looked back. Other beers that come to mind around that time are Feral’s Hop Hog and Six Point’s The Crisp.
Q6. Do you have any exciting news you can share with me? Maybe about future plans, collaborations or anything new?
Nothing too exciting right now – that we can mention. We have a few things on the cards for next year, but it’s too early to say. Don’t want to get ahead of ourselves…
We are planning to start packaging the core range early next year. That’ll be fun.
We’re always releasing new beers. We just launched our ‘O-Bahn Kolsch’ for October, and made another batch of the super popular ‘Devil’s Elbow IIPA’. We’ve also just kegged a Tropical Pale Ale to kick off Summer.
Q7. We are all friends here in South Australia, so who would you like to collaborate with next and what would you make?
Wheaty!! What do you think Jade and Crew? We could call it Swheety. (Sweet Amber X Wheaty) Lol. It could be a lactose filled Vanilla Lager.
We’d like to continue exploring the idea of collabs with other creative types e.g. clothing brands, artists, musicians. It’d be a novelty for them and a great partnering opportunity for us.
So far, we’ve only collaborated with Mischief Brew – Cold Brew Coffee for our Coffee Stout. It’s now one of our most popular core range beers.
Q8. Some brewers stick religiously to the style guide lines when brewing a beer, others throw that book out the window. If you were create your own style, what would it be like?
Struth… Tough question.
Aroma: Pineapple with herbal notes
Appearance: Hazy Amber/Red
Flavour: Smoky bready/biscuit flavour with some fruity sweetness
Overall Impression: Hawaiian pizza!
Everyone likes pineapple on pizza right??
Q9. What is your favourite season for beer drinking? Why?
I don’t really have one sorry Matt… The standard answer here is, every season has it’s beer.
Winter is perfect for the dark and malty styles. I like the creativity that goes into stouts and porters, experimenting and pushing the boundaries. And the buzz that comes with a RIS.
However, a nice, citrusy Berliner Weisse in summer is always tough to beat!
Q10. If you could choose any profession, what would it be? Why?
Training dolphins how to hang glide.. I think people would pay to see that.
I do love pineapple flavours in my beer, especially coming from the aroma, however it definitely does not belong on pizza. Sweet Amber has two great venues, a beer cafe located in the seaside suburb of Semaphore and the brewery and tap room just behind Coopers in Regency Park. Any time I step into one of these two venues, the sense of community is very much evident and strong, with regulars cracking jokes and sinking beers. Cheers Pete for answer my questions and introducing yourself.