February 20, 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 51st episode…
With the rise and rise of craft beer there becomes a demand for it. And when there’s a demand, retailers will stock it. Over the past two years a number of bottle shops around Brisbane have started to really embrace the demand. I can count at least 10 stores where I could go to right now and grab a decent range of bottled craft beer.
Some store owners take it to the next level, set up a tap system and sell growler fills. One of those decent fellas is Trent Best from Vine Liquor Marts in Brisbane’s Redland City…
Retail Manager for the Grand View Hotel & Vine Liquor Marts.
How long have you been doing that for?
I’ve been with the same company for 12 years and my role has been forever evolving over that time.
What were you up to before that?
All things food and beverage: restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs, catering.
What is the best part about your job?
Obviously trying all of the products is great, but I also enjoy talking to people about various products, venues and events. The odd trip here and there isn’t bad either!
What was your ‘epiphany beer’? The beer that made you ‘turn your back on cack’?
No single beer but I think Coopers played a big part early on in opening my mind and palate to ales when lagers were dominating the market. When they released beers like their Vintage Ale and Special Old Stout, I just remember thinking WOW!!!
Have you ever had a beer that has totally blown you away? If so, what was it?
Most recently, La Sirene Praline was pretty amazing. Samuel Adams Utopias was definitely memorable last year too. It was like sipping a fine Cognac or Vintage Port and I had to keep reminding myself that it was actually beer.
What is your preferred style of beer and why?
Anything dark, malt driven and complex. Good or bad, I also like trying crazy beers that push the boundaries like Birra del Borgo Equilibrista (Saison blended with Chianti) and Yeastie Boys xeRRex (peated malt blended with “burnt car tyres”).
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 scavenge around for as many new beers as I could to try and go and share them with some good friends.
I have a large hoard of empty beer bottles and another of beer glassware. Do you have any beer-related vices?
Not really…mainly just glasses and I like to age a few beers too to see how they develop.
In your opinion, where’s the best place to grab a decent beer in Brisbane?
Bars: Archive or The Scratch. Retail: The Vine Liquor Mart at Cleveland of course (now with over 300 beers!).
What is so good about it there?
The bars have a great selection of beers and people on both sides of the counter that just love beer. The Vine is just giving Bayside people somewhere to find decent craft beer and wine without having to go in to the CBD or shop with the chains.
Bottles or cans?
Bottles for sure. At the very least for the aesthetic appeal.
What are your hopes for the future of Brisbane’s craft beer industry?
I just hope that it continues to grow stronger and lure a few more people away from mainstream lagers. Cleveland will even have its first craft beer bar opening in the next few months so that’s pretty exciting.
This isn’t a job interview but where do you see yourself in five years time?
With the way that the chains are swallowing up independent retail outlets, probably unemployed! Ha ha!
What would your response be if somebody stopped you in the street and asked you what your favourite beer blog is?
Definitely 250 Beers for its humility and keeping up with the Brisbane scene. Crafty Pint is pretty comprehensive too.
Thanks to Trent for his time. He ain’t kidding about the 300-strong range of beers either! The shop is a sight for sore eyes if ever you’re around Cleveland.
Previous ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ appearances can be found by clicking here.