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Who the firkin hell is…Matt Wilson?

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April 10, 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.

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The 57th edition of ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ features Matt Wilson who, along with his wife Sharynne, run Blackwater Trading Co. at Caloundra’s picturesque Moffat Beach.

Here’s Matt…

matt wilson blackwater trading coWhat is your day job?

I own and operate a small craft beer venue with my wife Sharynne called Blackwater Trading Co. We are located at Moffat Beach on the southern end of the Sunny Coast.

How long have you been doing that for?

We have been here for nearly two and a half years.

What were you up to before that?

We were both living and working in financial markets in Sydney. Prior to that I spent a fair amount of time as a soldier in the army.

What is the best part about your job?

I love introducing people to the wonders of craft beer. At times it has been a hard slog winning over hard core XXXX drinkers but it is great when you introduce someone to something that is way out of their comfort zone and they love it.

It is also pretty good being able to indulge in my passion for beer and call it work.

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

I went to boarding school in Sydney and my naughty father took me out one weekend when I was about 16 years old. He took me to the Local Pumphouse at Darling Harbour and filled me up with a couple of Thunderbolt Ales (I think they were about 6%) and I absolutely loved it. In my 20’s I just used to drink Tooheys New because that was all that was in the pubs but I suppose Little Creatures Pale Ale was the beer that made me realise that there was so much more on offer. Maybe my palate has developed in the past couple of years but it seems to me as though the beer has been “dumbed down” since Lion took Creatures out which is a shame.

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

A couple. Recently La Sirene’s Praline in the bottle blew me away. Holgate’s Beelzebubs Jewels is another but having two quick schooners of it was probably a mistake. Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale was definitely a game changer but I rarely drink it now unless it is a super hot day.

What is your preferred style of beer and why?

I am a bit of a beer slut in that I tend to chop and change all the time. I was drinking a fair bit of Witbier over the summer but I love IPAs and Pale Ales. I often have a craving for ESBs. If I had to pigeon hole a style I would have to say American Amber Ales. The combination of sweet malt and pungent hops just does it for me.

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 probably buy something for my home brew operation that I have in my garage under the house. According to my wife it is a hobby that is getting out of hand. 

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

I started all-grain brewing at home about 12 months ago to educate myself more about beer. What started out as a fun hobby to educate myself has turned into a full blown obsession. I am constantly buying new gear and updating things in my little brewery. The missus has put her foot down and said no more gear. Apparently six taps at work and two at home should be enough to satiate my beer needs.

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

Archive was always my go-to place for craft in Brissie but it is awesome to see so many new places popping up specialising in craft beer. I do love Newstead Brewing Co. and I have been dying to check out The Scratch but it is hard to get away from our venue. It is also great to see craft gaining a decent foothold and being embraced on the Sunny Coast with venues such as ours at Moffat and Black Bunny Kitchen up at Alex Heads paving the way.

What is so good about it there?

I think that the best thing I am seeing in most venues is taps that rotate. When I was a kid growing up I would walk into a pub and have a choice of XXXX, VB, New, Carlton Draught, etc and that was it. I think being able to walk into a venue and go “ok what have we got here?” and be able to try new and different beers is awesome. 

Bottles or cans?

If you had asked me this question twelve months ago I would have said bottles all the way but now I am hankering towards cans due to the fact that it is better for the beer. Both have their pros and cons but my preferred method of drinking beer is off the tap both at home and in a good venue.

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

I hope it keeps plugging away as it is. The scene in Brisbane is awesome. The ‘wanker factor’ is turned right down in comparison to Melbourne and Sydney but there is still plenty of quality on offer. I would love to see the scene develop more here on the coast.

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

Hopefully still married after spending more money on homebrew kit. I would love to turn our venue into a brewpub but I have so much to learn on the brewing side of things and the cost of setting it up seems daunting.

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

Apparently that bloke from 250 Beers is pretty good with the written word.

Cheers to Matt for his time. I’ve eaten at Blackwater Trading Co. on a number of occasions and at different times of the day. It’s a great venue in a superb spot overlooking the ocean. To have an amazing array of beers on tap to accompany the menu is fantastic. It makes for a huge ‘must’ when visiting the Sunshine Coast. 

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

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