Who the firkin hell is…Dave Clarke?


June 27, 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.

This week I’m pleased to feature Dave Clarke – the man behind Toybox Brewery. Dave is an avid home brewer that has successfully transitioned his recipes and ideas with commercial success – most notably with beers such as Hop Control Centre double IPA, Peppa’d Pig smoked beer and Zombie Caramel Asalt – a wicked, almost mind-boggling combination of caramel sweetness and salt.

Here’s Dave…


What is your day job?

Medical Scientist (Biochemistry).

How long have you been doing that for?

18 years all up – the last 7 years at Royal Brisbane Hospital (3 years in the Chromatography Laboratory on the bench and 4 years as the Quality Officer playing with spreadsheets).

What were you up to before that?

I have worked at the Gold Coast and Princess Alexandra Hospitals as a lab rat too, had a 6 year stint as an IT guy and previous non-science jobs as a maths tutor and volleyball coach (no joke).

What is the best part about your job?

The feeling at the end of the day that I have helped people (sick patients) when they needed it the most.

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

I think it started drinking Guinness in Ireland. I came home looking for more options and started home brewing. I never looked back.

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

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – believe the hype. The Blind Tiger were serving it through a randall on the bar. A brilliantly made beer and so drinkable even though it is quite strong at 9% and quite bitter at 90IBU. I had to keep checking that it was that good while on a brewing trip to the US.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

The one in front of me that I’m sharing with my friends and family or IPA.

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?

Brewdog Tactical Nuclear Penguin if you’re buying Darren. To date, I haven’t had the pleasure of this dangerous drop.

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

I find it hard to say no to attending every beer event that is on – sometimes to the detriment of my liver, my brownie points or my wallet (or all of the above).

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

Hard to pin it down to one place as there are so many great options now but I do tend to gravitate towards Newstead Brewing Co & Tipplers Tap nowadays. If The Scratch could please move into a free street in Newstead/Teneriffe area, I’d be most grateful….and I’d move my house there.

What is so good about it there?

We are lucky in Brisbane now, many places have cracking beers, a great atmosphere with awesome food. The venues I have singled out have all that too, but they have knowledgeable and passionate staff that make you feel welcome and a part of their venues – which makes them stand out.

Bottles or cans?

Bottles definitely. The theatre associated with the whole process – prying off the lid, watching the beer foam up, conducting the pour, watching the beer emerge from the bottle and the feel of glass while doing so adds to the whole experience for me….even the sound of touching glass onto glass is a thing of beauty. Is that wrong? Am I weird?

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

That the current trend continues – more venues, breweries and beers with more flavour being available and that Brisbanites embrace it even more.

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

Hanging around the edges of the craft brewing industry (status quo) or perhaps following my passion for beer to the next level and getting more involved in the commercial side of the industry. You never know where I might turn up next!!

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

The one written by the guy who was hiding in his own garage in the middle of the night during Brewsvegas, sitting in the boot of his car, soaking wet with only his underwear on, eating a burrito. The blog is called 250 Beers!

I’d almost forgotten about that burrito! Ha! Cheers to Dave for being the latest in a long line of people doing great things for beer in Brisbane. Keep an eye out for two new beers from Dave’s Toybox Brewery – a session ale as well as a bitter ale called Cranky Pants.

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


One thought on “Who the firkin hell is…Dave Clarke?

  1. […] not for a few more hours), Ross, Bill, Brendan and Matt from Bacchus had arrived along with ‘Toybox Dave‘ Clarke. We wished Ross good luck for his event and went to find some much-needed breakfast […]

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