Who the firkin hell is…Mike Slatter?

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April 4, 2014 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.

We’re back to normal now after a bumper edition last Friday for Brewsvegas. The day after that, I posted a faux ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ on Jimmie Gold from Tippler’s Tap as a favour to The Scratch – they made me do it – as part of the Scratch vs Tippler’s shenanigans during Brewsvegas.

So, normality. I’m very pleased to welcome Mike Slatter from South Brisbane’s Hoo Ha Bar this week. Here’s Mike…

Mike Slatter Hoo Ha Bar

What is your day job?

Co-owner of Hoo Ha Bar.

How long have you been doing that for?

We just celebrated our first birthday, so just over a year now.

What were you up to before that?

I was at Green Beacon for a couple of months before opening Hoo Ha Bar, and before that I was managing Lock ‘n’ Load in West End. Previous to that I was a teacher for 5 years, both here and in Manchester, England.

What is the best part about your job?

The best part about owning a bar is making ALL the decisions regarding what you sell and how you sell it (after years of letting other people make the decisions). We also have a terrific support base of regulars that make everyday enjoyable, as well as a strong group of staff that keep the place ticking over day to day.

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

I remember when we all tried (Declan, Anthony – the other owners of Hoo Ha Bar) Feral Hop Hog on tap, I think we all just went ”Oh shit, that’s unreal!”, and from there Mornington Peninsula Brown Ale and their Porter have sent me over to the dark side.

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

Another Feral beer (there seems to be a trend here) that really made me take notice was the Boris, the Russian Imperial Stout they released last year. That beer was another example of an Australian craft brewery doing amazing things.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

Generally anything darker, brown ales (Cavalier and Mornington to be specific). Lately I’ve been enjoying Red IPA’s, Brewcult’s Keep on Truckin was a recent favourite.

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 probably try my hand at some Mikkeller and Evil Twin brews at the same time, see what those crazy twins are all about.

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

We accumulate so much crap in the bar that we try to get rid of it all, but we do however have a very impressive collection of vintage coasters that we use at Hoo Ha, but only for the most discerning of clients.

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

There’s so many choices, it’s becoming too easy. Scratch and Tippler’s for variety, I have a soft spot for Green Beacon as my home team, and The Bearded Lady in West End always have some interesting brews on tap.

What is so good about it there?

All those places are in it for the love of beer and giving decent service, and trying to make a modest living at the same time (something a few other licensees could aspire to).

Bottles or cans?

Bottles for me. Cans remind me of growing up in Weipa and having to hold your thumb over the top to stop flies from going in your drink.

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

Without being too specific, I want to see the death of the mega-pub, the one with pokies, buckets of corona, and people fighting in the queue for a taxi at 2am. Take me to a bar where the owner works there, he/she knows what ‘s on tap and how it tastes, and gives a shit that you’re actually there.

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

Hopefully by that time there might be another venue or two that I can invest my heart and soul into like I/we have at Hoo Ha Bar.

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

There’s more than one?

Thanks to Mike for coming on board. I visited Hoo Ha Bar for the very first time last week. It’s a fantastic space serving great food and drink. It’s worthy of a visit if you’ve never been – situated just a few steps from South Bank train station.

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


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