Who the firkin hell is…Lee McAlister-Smiley?


February 13, 2015 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.

More to the point this feature is back after a few months break. A few cheap imitations popped up while it was gone but without further ado here is the 50th instalment…

Officially launching his White Lies Brewing Company in Kenmore’s Retro Bar last October, Lee McAlister-Smiley along with his core range of beers has fast become a talking point in beer circles. Brewing tasty beers on his 2.8hL set-up at home isn’t all that Lee gets up to…the second time I met him was at the ‘Gabba and he was dressed up in a Duff Beer Man outfit. His beers are anything but.

Here’s Lee…

white lies brewing…asleep after a big launch!

What is your day job?

I have two: Head Brewer at White Lies Brewing Company and OHS Technical Community Leader at Coffey Environments.

How long have you been doing that for?

White Lies for one year and Coffey for seven.

What were you up to before that?

I had my own consultancy business in Sydney.

What is the best part about your job?

Hands down beer deliveries and the sneaky drink or two while chatting!

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

I still remember the moment I had my first Little Creatures Pale Ale.

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

Samuel Adams Utopias and not because it was the best tasting beer I have ever had. It was the sheer fact that it was a beer. The effort in fermenting to reach that huge ABV and how overall balanced the final product was…true masters at their craft!

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

Anything dark, probably a good stout. I think of dark beers as the true equivalent (if not better) to red wine, more complexity, more body and more soul.

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?

La Sirene Praline, Riverside Brewing 777 IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout and a box of Hammer Head.

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

I have a large collection of stainless steel ‘things’ that I have collected over years of brewing. I’m not sure if I will ever use them but I can’t throw them out.

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

Bar wise – Brewski. Bottleshop – Malt Traders.

What is so good about it there?

Matt and the team at Brewski are great supporters of local breweries, regularly rotate taps and have a great bottle selection. Oh, and their staff are always happy to have a chat and recommend what’s pouring well.

Bottles or cans?

Cans. They are just mini kegs.

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

That it keeps growing at the rate it is and that the wider Brisbane beer drinking community keep getting behind local breweries and develop a strong brand loyalty to local beers.

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

Definitely in a new, bigger venue providing a great craft beer bar to the Western Suburbs.

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

250 Beers of course…

Thanks to Lee for his time. Keep your eyes open for Lee’s beers which are now appearing around town in kegs and bottles. I doubt very much you’ll be disappointed.

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


2 thoughts on “Who the firkin hell is…Lee McAlister-Smiley?

  1. Good to see this segment return Darren.

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