Head brewer at Byron Bay Premium Ale, Stefan Walker, tests the new beer which is about to be kegged and available on tap at the Buddha Bar.
Head brewer at Byron Bay Premium Ale, Stefan Walker, tests the new beer which is about to be kegged and available on tap at the Buddha Bar.

First batch of beer ready for tasting

The first batch of Byron Bay Premium Ale being brewed at the newly-installed, state-of-the-art craft brewery at The Buddha Bar, Byron Bay is only days away from being kegged.

And head brewer, Stefan Walker, is pretty excited about it – and keeping a very close eye on the process.

“From start to finish, it takes about two weeks to make a brew,” he said

“You have to babysit it. There is a daily ritual of checking the tanks,” he said.

Stefan, 38, has made his way to Byron Bay after two years as head brewer at Mildura Brewery and before that as a brewer in the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

A career in beer making grew from his love of home brewing.

That led to a chemistry degree from Victoria University and then a diploma from the Institute of Brewers and Distillers in the UK, an internationally-recognised ticket to brew.

“I love beer,” he said.

“You can’t be a brewer and not drink beer.

“Brewing at this level is about taste.

“The exciting thing about a place like this is that we are starting with a clean slate and allows for input into the ‘design’ of the beers.”

Stefan said as well as producing Byron Bay Premium Ale, other styles of beer will be produced in the future, all of which will go on tap at the Buddha Bar.

He said the addition of a premium kegging machine from Germany ensured the beer on tap was a consistently very high quality.

He said each brew produced 20 kegs which meant the beer was always fresh.

“The satisfaction of people enjoying your product is the key to it,” he said.

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