Who the firkin hell is…John Black?


June 20, 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.

I like to mix things up a little bit sometimes and include people in this weekly feature that may not work within Brisbane’s craft beer scene but are – in my opinion – significant to the movement. Bethany Watt and Brisbane CWA are fine examples. This week, as ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ number 33, I’d like to introduce you to John Black aka The Beer Tragic.

If you frequent the better bars in Brisbane then there is an extremely good chance that you’ve been in the same room as John on more than one occasion. If you’ve ever been blessed with conversing with the man then you’ll know why he is so tragically self-nicknamed. He really is Mr Brisbane Craft Beer.

I consider him a friend. Here is John…

John Black Beer Tragic What is your day job?

I’m currently looking for a new job but I usually work in customer service call centres and my most recent role was at Bupa health insurance.

How long have you been doing that for?

I was there for a 3 month contract. 

What were you up to before that?

I worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics and before that I worked at Medicare in the eBusiness area for nearly five years.

What is the best part about your job?

Having worked in offices and call centres for nigh on 30 years, the absolute best part is getting to really know the people I work with which – to the Beer Tragic – has always meant heading down the pub after knock-off for Beer O’clock and solving all of the world’s problems over a few beers and forming lifetime friendships! In my first permanent job with Queensland Rail on my first Beer O’clock I was given the nickname ‘Slurper’ as I had beer spilled over my briefcase tucked under the bar.

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

Black Butte Porter from Deschutes in Bend, Oregon, USA. I have a brother who lives in Oregon and he brought me some over on a visit nearly 15 years ago. Ever since then I have judged every other dark beer against this superlative brew.

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

Bourbonic Plague – a barrel-aged sour beer by Cascade Brewing from Portland, Oregon. I was blown away by this sour beer direct from the barrel and have been puckering up ever since.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

Black beers are my favourite; including Black IPAs to add to the porters and stouts.

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 would head to a few of my favourite craft brew bars and have the best black beers currently pouring off the tap.

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

I used to keep empties but I just take photos of most of my beers these days. I have a huge beer coaster collection and those that know me will know that I keep adding more beer related badges to my GABS 2012 cap!

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

Currently, my crafty bestie is Newstead Brewing Co.

What is so good about it there?

Well, it’s a brewery plus they have rotating guest taps of other craft brews and an extensive craft bottle list. On top of all this, there’s the awesome staff and farm fresh food. Having said that, Bacchus Brewery in Capalaba is still my favorite local craft brewery.

Bottles or cans?

I am a tap beer drinker wherever available but certain beers suit bottles for secondary fermentation including sours and imperial ales made for ageing. However, cans work a treat for session beers like lagers, fresh summer and fruity pale ales.

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

I would like to see the current local breweries and brew bars to be even more successful and especially would like to see more local breweries open with their own brew pubs to truly make Brewsvegas one of the best bastions for beer lifestyle.

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

No big ambitions but I see myself still living in our burgeoning Brewsvegas, enjoying more great locally brewed beers in more breweries and brew bars.

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

Well, besides my own sketchy, wannabe beer blog which I think of more as my ‘brewmoir’ (since it’s really only about me), I do truly love this great 250 Beers blog. However, I do passionately miss our fellow beer lover Cassie Pott‘s scintillating blog ‘What Beer to Drink’.

Thanks to John for taking time out to do this! I really appreciate it. If you see Slurper around (you will) be sure to ask him all about the time he planted a kiss on this blogger’s cheek.

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


One thought on “Who the firkin hell is…John Black?

  1. […] on the acoustic set.After a pint or two (or three) and meeting a middle-aged local legend named Beer Tragic by asking about his “I ❤ Census” hat pin, I thought I had an idea of what Sunday […]

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