May 8, 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.
Up this week is David Bajka. David is part of the successful team that brought The Burrow to West End. Just this past week he has welcomed the public into his second venue project – Bloodhound Bar in Fortitude Valley. It’s a classy joint and I hope he can now sit back a little and enjoy it…and enjoy his recent addition at home too.
I’m one of the manic cogs that owns The Burrow in West End and Bloodhound Bar in the Valley.
How long have you been doing that for?
The Burrow has been an amazing 3 years now, and Bloodhound Bar has just opened its doors a few days ago.
What were you up to before that?
For a long many years I worked in hospitality on the Gold Coast and Brisbane then I worked for a company called Nightlife for four years – they deal with music management for pubs/bars/clubs etc. That was pretty good fun but I yearned to be back in hospitality. Also, my wife and I have dreamt of opening our own place ever since we met; so when the opportunity came along with good friends of ours to join together and make the dream a reality, we jumped at the chance.
What is the best part about your job?
This is a tough question as there are many great reasons why we spring out of bed every morning to get to work. I guess when you boil it down we just simply LOVE to host people, to make them comfortable, to give them nice food and drink, and to make them feel like they’ve gone to a mate’s house rather than to a restaurant or bar. I guess that is what drives me personally.
What was your ‘epiphany beer’? The beer that made you ‘turn your back on cack’?
I really do believe that the ‘cack’ as you call it served its purpose! It was my everyday drink, fun and social, uncomplicated and non-pretentious. These ideals remain the same now that we’ve discovered better beer.
My epiphany ‘brewery’ might actually be Sierra Nevada. I had their Pale Ale when we researched beers for The Burrow and was amazed at the flavours that were possible in beer! But that’s not all. Very shortly after being blown away by that beer, I got a six pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and lost my shit completely.
Have you ever had a beer that has totally blown you away? If so, what was it?
Mikkeller ‘Ris a la M’ale’. Just after we opened The Burrow we had this on our list. Sensational taste experience! Almonds, vanilla, cherries…Dessert in a beer, a true headf**k.
What is your preferred style of beer and why?
I can drink American Red IPAs all day, every day, if my wife would only let me. The balance of piney hops and malty goodness is super sexy. But at the end of the evening you must finish on an Imperial Stout. This should be a law!
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?
Hmmm… tough one! Maybe a Bacchus visit with some mates!
I have a large hoard of empty beer bottles and another of beer glassware. Do you have any beer-related vices?
Guilty on all charges (bottles, caps, glasses and so many beer shirts I could clothe an army of beer nerds). I blame late night beer-aided online shopping.
In your opinion, where’s the best place to grab a decent beer in Brisbane?
Depends on the mood, but probably The Scratch (you guys rock!). We also really love the new Brisbane Brewing Co. digs in West End.
What is so good about it there?
Scratch, because well, Scratch.
Brisbane Brewing Co. because of their laid back West End style and they’ve done a stellar job with their fit-out.
Bottles or cans?
Either. Both sides have pros and cons I suppose. Cans bring back memories of the beer nostalgia that is ingrained in Australian culture and I do love the way cans allow for incredibly rich artwork design. However, it feels nice to pour a big beautiful beer out of a bottle, don’t deny it!
What are your hopes for the future of Brisbane’s craft beer industry?
Probably the same as all owners of good beer institutions – we just want to make sure people have fun getting to know good beer and help support and nourish the scene.
This isn’t a job interview but where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’ve got a hundred different scenarios in my head. It’s hard to see even a year into the future let alone five. Stop with the hard questions Darren!
What would your response be if somebody stopped you in the street and asked you what your favourite beer blog is?
Two fiddy maate!
I realise that your time is precious David so, if you read this, I really (REALLY) appreciate you getting around to responding to the above posers. Cheers!
Previous ‘Who the firkin hell is…?’ appearances can be found by clicking here.