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Who the firkin hell is…Steve McDermott?

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August 8, 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.

Up this week is a man partly responsible for the gentrification of the strip formerly known as CaXXXXton Street. Steve McDermott from Statler & Waldorf tells it how it is…

steve mcdermott statler and waldorfWhat is your day job?

Owner/operator at Statler and Waldorf.

How long have you been doing that for?

We opened early in October 2013.

What were you up to before that?

Manager at The Bowery in Fortitude Valley and before that I was a cocktail bartender in London for 10 years. 

What is the best part about your job?

The fact that I’m now in business for myself gives me a lot of drive. My business partners are also first time owners and we are learning a hell of a lot together every day.

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

It took me a few goes but I saw the light somewhere between Fortitude Brewing’s Golden Ale and Holgate’s Roadtrip.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

Pale or golden ales are my ‘go to’ styles. I’d say a good porter or stout is my hands-down favourite though.

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 grab a couple of mates and see how many pints of pale ale I could get for that amount. For me, beer is a social activity.

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

Besides the pub on Caxton Street not really. I have a ridiculous amount of cocktail-related items like books, glassware and shakers. I have one cocktail book that I paid $1000 for.

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

The Statler and Waldorf of course!

What is so good about it there?

Not just great beer but great food, music and atmosphere also. We have recently been named finalists in the Australian Bar Awards for: Best Pub In Australia, Best Pub In Queensland, Best New Pub In Australia, Best Bar Food In Australia. The results are announced late September.

Bottles or cans?

If there is cold beer in either I don’t mind. Cans do make an awesome noise when you open them though!

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

I’d like to see us really embrace our local brewers more because there are so many great beers coming out of Queensland now it’s insane!

I’d like to see more craft beer venues go independent with their taps too. Breweries should earn their place on taps by making a great product not by paying for places.

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

My business partners and I are planning to open more venues in the future. I’m sure that will keep me busy for many years to come.

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

“Stop following me Darren!”

Thanks to Steve for his time this week. I wish him – and all involved at Statler & Waldorf – the best of luck for the awards later next month. I’d also love to plug the Holgate degustation that is on at the venue on the 21st of this month but I won’t because it clashes with a certain Sniff & Sip Session. It’s tempting to mention it though because the new Holgate UXB (UneXplodedBomb) will be unleashed for the first time in Queensland but, like I said, I won’t mention it.

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

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