Meet Ballarat’s Dr Beer – Peter Aldred.
Yes, we agree – he certainly has one of the coolest job titles we’ve ever come across.
With a PHD in Biochemistry, a Diploma of Brewing and Distilling, and a CV as long as your arm with previous jobs titles like beer judge, brewing and distilling trainer and research laboratory technician, you can see why Peter has been named Ballarat’s Dr Beer.
It also makes plenty of sense why Ballarat’s newest brewpub – Aunty Jacks – snatched him up to join their team as head brewer.
As well as working year-round to produce 100,000 litres of lager, pale ale and stout, Peter also runs the brewpubs’ very popular beer schools.
We caught up with Peter to talk about what you can expect at Ballarat’s newest drinking hole.
What sparked your love of beer, specifically craft beer?
I started homebrewing at 18, so I have always had an interest in beer. I then worked at Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), where I received great training in evaluating beer.
When I was a steward at the Australian International Beer Awards I couldn’t believe the range of different styles and types of beers that were entered – It opened my eyes to the variety of beers out there, with a range of different flavours and ingredients.
Head brewer, beer judge, beer lecturer; you have quite an impressive CV. At what point did you know that you wanted to devote your career to beer?
Probably when I got the job as lecturer brewing/biochemistry at FedUni, or University of Ballarat as it was then. I had worked at CUB, which sparked the passion about beer, but teaching brewing and my involvement in the Australian International Beer Awards sealed the deal!
As Aunty Jacks’ Dr of Beer (which we think is the coolest title in town, if not the country), what can people expect when they step inside Aunty Jacks?
It is quirky, different inside. People are surprised how big it is inside, yet there are small cosy places that you can find. And yes, there’s a 1000L brewery in there!
You will get good food, and of course, fresh beers brewed on site. We value beer that is approachable, flavoursome and fresh. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be adding some more out there beers as one-offs.
Can you tell us more about the courses on offer at Aunty Jacks?
At the moment we are running “Beer School” on Sunday afternoons where we discuss different beer styles from different regions. In the future we will expand that to cover some science of beer flavour – where the flavours come from, beer faults, and how to brew among the offerings.
What’s the secret to a good brew?
Technically, controlled fermentations, keeping air out of beer after fermentation, and keeping it clean would be my top three. Otherwise, I think balance and drinkability are important in the recipe development.
What is your favourite part of the brewing process?
I love brew day – where we go from the malted barley to produce the wort – which is unfermented beer. A good day’s work, and I can talk about the biochemistry of what’s happening all day too – beer nerd!
What do you recommend from the Aunty Jacks menu?
The steak sandwich!
For those visiting the city, what else do you recommend they check out while they’re in Ballarat?