Who the firkin hell is…Les Riddell?


November 29, 2013 by 250 Beers

“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’s instalment features a friend of; Les Riddell from Craft Wine Store in Red Hill. The store celebrates its first birthday this weekend with a range of wines and craft beers on the tasting table from 11am until 4pm Saturday, 30th November.

Les with Craft Wine Store's Beer & Brewer Magazine 2013 Award for Australia's Best Bottleshop (<200 beers).

Les pictured with Craft Wine Store’s Beer & Brewer Magazine 2013 Award for Australia’s Best Bottleshop (<200 beers)

What is your day job?

Resident Beer Nut at Craft Wine Store.

How long have you been doing that for?

Just shy of one year.

What were you up to before that?

Many and various craft beer related jobs. In descending order; Brewery Door Manager at Bright Brewery, opened and managed the Local Taphouse Darlinghurst, Murray’s Brewing Co sales, licensee & general dog’s body and prior to all that, ten years as a professional snowboarding bum, licensee & cellarman extraordinaire in mountain resorts across the globe.

What is the best part about your job?

I am surrounded by a selection of the world’s finest craft beers. I work with like minded people and I get to talk to fellow beer enthusiasts about beer all day long. Winning!

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

Way back in 1997 I drank a beer called Herman’s Dark Lager brewed by the Vancouver Island Brewing Co. Yes seriously, a schwarzbier. It was not a hop-laden IPA or massive Imperial Stout that turned me in to Craft Beer. It was a nice starting point though. If I had to name an Australian beer it would be Boag’s Strong Arm Bitter. Back in the late 90’s early 00’s this was one of the finest beers brewed in the land. Alas, a shadow of its former self these days.

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

Yes, I’ve had many. Too numerous to mention.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

Big hoppy India Red Ales. I like hoppy beers but I also like some interesting malts to impart some richness, depth and balance.

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?

I’d find another couple of hundred dollars and have a keg of Feral Fanta Pants delivered to my home.

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

I have an extensive range of stubby coolers. You can never have enough. They’re essential in hot climates for keeping your beer cold, vital in cold climates to prevent your hand from freezing whilst having a sip and also an excellent means of identifying which beer belongs to you.

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

What is the name of your favourite child Darren?! I think all of Brisbane’s better beer venues have their own unique charms but I’ll go with The Scratch although I don’t get there as often as I’d like to.

What is so good about it there?

The atmosphere, good beer and it is staffed by great people.

Bottles or cans?


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

That it continues to grow, evolve and diversify.

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

As the autocratic dictator of a small mountainous country famous for its breweries and epic powder days.

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

For a small fee I can say ‘250 Beers’.

Thanks for taking part Les. The cheque is in the mail mate!

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

Up next week we’ll be hearing from a new kid on the block…


2 thoughts on “Who the firkin hell is…Les Riddell?

  1. […] would head to Craft Retail and let my friend, Les Riddell, shop for […]

  2. […] believe my mate Les at Craft in Red Hill has some stock of Unibroue beers at the moment so I would likely head straight there and spend it […]

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