Who the firkin hell is…Andrew Sydes?

“What the firkin hell is this?” I hear you ask. Well, let me explain…

‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ is a weekly glimpse into the lives of individuals that work (some tirelessly) to bring the Brisbane public the very best in good beer. Some are brewers, some own/work in your favourite bar, some are retailers and some are brewery reps.

If you don’t know what a firkin is then the whole beer-related, play-on-words title will be lost on you right?! Fear not – click here for more information on firkins.

This week features forever young-looking Andrew Sydes from Green Beacon. This is what he has to say…

Andrew Sydes Green Beacon

What is your day job?

General Manager of Green Beacon Brewing Company

How long have you been doing that for?

Just over 12 months. I came on board with the company early December 2012 – two months prior to opening.

What were you up to before that?

I was a bar manager and resident beer geek at Archive Beer Boutique.

What is the best part about your job?

I work in a brewery, for a brewery. There is lots of beer. I talk to people all day about beer. We brew beer almost every other day, always working on new recipes. A significant part of my job is drinking beer. Did I mention there’s beer?

What was your ‘epiphany beer’? The beer that made you ‘turn your back on cack’?

*rubs chin* …there were a few key contributors but the real Eureka! moment was a bottle of Chimay Grand Reserve in 2005. It was quite honestly a euphoric experience. The kind of rush that, for me, only an amazing beer and sometimes a really good bottle of claret can deliver.

Have you ever had a beer that has totally blown you away? If so, what was it?

I remember drinking a couple pints of Moo Brew stout of some sort in Hobart in 2008. It was one of those beers that plasters a massive grin across your face. You can’t believe that it’s as good as it is and every sip you take brings that smile back in amazement and joy. Their ‘Velvet Sledgehammer’ I enjoyed more recently strongly reminded me of it, not sure if they’re the same beer.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

I can’t pick one style. I will say that I’ve found the best beers I’ve ever had have always been shared with good friends.

If I gave you $100 in cash right now with the only proviso being that you had to spend it on beer, what would you indulge in?

A case of Sierra Nevada Narwhal…then I’d drink a bottle every six months for the next 12 years.

I have a large hoard of empty beer bottles and another of beer glassware. Do you have any beer-related vices?

I sold all of my brewing equipment recently. Ironically, I no longer have the time for it now!

In your opinion, where’s the best place to grab a decent beer in Brisbane?

It depends what you’re looking for. We’re very lucky to live in Brisbane at a time when we have a plethora of fantastic beer venues all with their own inherent strengths and unique focus. If I was heading out for a beer today after work? I have a soft spot for good Alt-Country and Whisky so Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall is a pretty lethal combo for me. The awesome thing about Brisbane these days is I could then pop across the road to Cartel, then down to Brewski and back over to Statler and Waldorf while I’m at it.

What is so good about it there?

Like I said, it’s the combination. Lefty’s has a charm about it that (in my experience at least) makes it hard to leave without indulging yourself to the brink of destruction.

Bottles or cans?

Can it.

What are your hopes for the future of Brisbane’s craft beer industry?

It’s great that we have a healthy craft beer scene but I want more than that. I want to be able to get good beer in every bar, pub and restaurant in the city. Brisbane has grown up enough now that I’m confident we’ll see that in the next decade. The people will demand it!

This isn’t a job interview but where do you see yourself in five years time?

All the way to the top, Junior Vice-President.

What would your response be if somebody stopped you in the street and asked you what your favourite beer blog is?

Probably something like “Oh, hi Darren, it’s you again. Yes, of COURSE you’re my favourite!”

He says it like I ask him often! Does every day count as often? Andrew, if you ever indulge in a carton of Narwhal please come and find me 12 years after. I want to share those last two bottles with you!

Join me next week when I’ll feature a great character that runs probably the oldest craft beer joint in Brisbane.

Previous ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ appearances can be found by clicking here.

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