HELLO TONY JONES: THE WEST END BREWERY LEGEND IS COMING!

HELLO TONY JONES: THE WEST BREWERY LEGEND IS COMING!

Considered a legend at the West End Brewery in Thebarton, Tony Jones retired recently from West End and Lion Australia after an incredibly successful 36 year long career. Lucky for us, Tony is attending Red, Rock & Ribs this weekend as Community Brewer to conduct Brewer For A Day Mini BrewKit sessions for hobbyists.

Tony, whose signature still appears on the Southwark Bitter label, also spent five years in Sydney as the Chief Brewer, developing brands for a little brewery you might have heard of called James Squire.

We managed to catch Tony for a quick chat in the lead up to Red, Rock & Ribs and boy did we have a good time talking about (and drinking) a delicious froffy.

 

RRR: Tony, great to have you working with us at Red, Rock & Ribs this year. I have to ask, what got you into brewing and beer all those years ago?

TONY: You could say that it was in my blood! I had two uncles who worked at West End when I was growing up, so beer was always a conversation point in our family. I found I always had a passion for beer, but it wasn’t until some years after I had completed my degree in Science that I finally landed a job inside the laboratory at West End!

RRR: And land you did, give your successful 36 year career with West End and Lion. Over that time what was your favourite project to work on?

TONY: As you can imagine there have been quite a few, but probably my involvement with James Squire developing limited releases under the Mad Brewers label was very exciting and rewarding. Mad Brewers was the funky off shoot of the Squires brand and all the brewers at Malt Shovel were actively involved in coming up with offbeat recipece for the releases. Hoppy Hefe and Scribbly Gum were two notable releases that were cutting edge and created much excitement in the market.

RRR: So in your opinion, how have tastes evolved in beer drinkers over the last decade?

TONY: The explosion of craft brewing in the US has revolutionsed the flavour experience for beer drinkers. Many beer styles beyond our easy drinking Aussie lagers are now readily available locally. In particular hoppy ales have had a big resurgence in popularity and have even resulted in new beer styles like New England IPA and even the so called Milkshake IPA’s hitting the market recently. The modern beer drinker has many styles and brands in their portfolio and are no longer sticking to one or two favourites. Drinkers are now aware of the impact that different hop varieties can make to beer flavour and are ken to explore new tastes and styles of beer.

RRR: Tony, great to have you working with us at Red, Rock & Ribs this year. I have to ask, what got you into brewing and beer all those years ago?

TONY: You could say that it was in my blood! I had two uncles who worked at West End when I was growing up, so beer was always a conversation point in our family. I found I always had a passion for beer, but it wasn’t until some years after I had completed my degree in Science that I finally landed a job inside the laboratory at West End!

RRR: And land you did, give your successful 36 year career with West End and Lion. Over that time what was your favourite project to work on?

TONY: As you can imagine there have been quite a few, but probably my involvement with James Squire developing limited releases under the Mad Brewers label was very exciting and rewarding. Mad Brewers was the funky off shoot of the Squires brand and all the brewers at Malt Shovel were actively involved in coming up with offbeat recipece for the releases. Hoppy Hefe and Scribbly Gum were two notable releases that were cutting edge and created much excitement in the market.

RRR: So in your opinion, how have tastes evolved in beer drinkers over the last decade?

TONY: The explosion of craft brewing in the US has revolutionsed the flavour experience for beer drinkers. Many beer styles beyond our easy drinking Aussie lagers are now readily available locally. In particular hoppy ales have had a big resurgence in popularity and have even resulted in new beer styles like New England IPA and even the so called Milkshake IPA’s hitting the market recently. The modern beer drinker has many styles and brands in their portfolio and are no longer sticking to one or two favourites. Drinkers are now aware of the impact that different hop varieties can make to beer flavour and are ken to explore new tastes and styles of beer.

 

RRR: But if you had to pick a favourite, what would your all-time beer be?

TONY: It’s so hard to pick one single favourite beer. Style plays such a bit part in enjoyment as does the occasion you are involved in when drinking. But that said I think Sierra Nevada Pale is a classic US style Pale Ale and has redefined the pale category globally. I love one of these on a hot summer’s day. In the colder winter months you just can’t go past the toasty, roasty warmness of a Southwark Old Stout.

RRR: What new challenges do brewers face in this new world of beer?

TONY: At the moment it’s the hop revolution which is challenging brewers the most! How do we get those fruity, floral or piney flavours into our beer without excessive bitterness or gumming up the brewery? Equally challenging is dialing up the flavour spectrum with new varieties which deliver interesting new flavours to beer. A brewer needs to do his research these days as well as be prepared to experiment. But it’s all good fun.

RRR: Tell us more about Panhead. What makes this beer worth the admission fee this weekend at Red, Rock & Ribs?

TONY: These really are handcrafted beers which buy into the hop revolution sweeping the beer market. The skill of the brewer comes into play in creating a platform in the beer on which ti overlay the interesting hop characters that are being showcased. What I love about Panhead is how the hop aroma shines through a well structured beer.

RRR: But if you had to pick a favourite, what would your all-time beer be?

TONY: It’s so hard to pick one single favourite beer. Style plays such a bit part in enjoyment as does the occasion you are involved in when drinking. But that said I think Sierra Nevada Pale is a classic US style Pale Ale and has redefined the pale category globally. I love one of these on a hot summer’s day. In the colder winter months you just can’t go past the toasty, roasty warmness of a Southwark Old Stout.

RRR: What new challenges do brewers face in this new world of beer?

TONY: At the moment it’s the hop revolution which is challenging brewers the most! How do we get those fruity, floral or piney flavours into our beer without excessive bitterness or gumming up the brewery? Equally challenging is dialing up the flavour spectrum with new varieties which deliver interesting new flavours to beer. A brewer needs to do his research these days as well as be prepared to experiment. But it’s all good fun.

RRR: Tell us more about Panhead. What makes this beer worth the admission fee this weekend at Red, Rock & Ribs?

TONY: These really are handcrafted beers which buy into the hop revolution sweeping the beer market. The skill of the brewer comes into play in creating a platform in the beer on which ti overlay the interesting hop characters that are being showcased. What I love about Panhead is how the hop aroma shines through a well structured beer.

 

RRR: Since we have you, what are the best up and comers in the Lion stable that we need to know about?

TONY: There is always something new in the wind at Lion, but I think the one to look out for in the near future is James Squires Hop Thief #10 release. Craft fans can look forward to an interesting blend of hops in this release, due out later in the year.

RRR: Well, we can’t wait to see you at Red, Rock & Ribs this weekend, but what are you most looking forward to?

TONY: I’m always keen to see what other brewers have on offer and compare their brews. It’s going to be an incredible event.

RRR: Since we have you, what are the best up and comers in the Lion stable that we need to know about?

TONY: There is always something new in the wind at Lion, but I think the one to look out for in the near future is James Squires Hop Thief #10 release. Craft fans can look forward to an interesting blend of hops in this release, due out later in the year.

RRR: Well, we can’t wait to see you at Red, Rock & Ribs this weekend, but what are you most looking forward to?

TONY: I’m always keen to see what other brewers have on offer and compare their brews. It’s going to be an incredible event.

 

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