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A day in the life of a brewer with Matso's Broome

Matso’s Broome is Australia’s most remote brewery. And that means Prav Bhat, is the most isolated brewer in the country. 

But that’s part of the charm. In another life, Prav would be an engineer. That was the plan when he left India for Perth back in 2008. But today you won’t find him in a suit and tie, or behind an office desk. Instead, he’s brewing beers at Matso’s Broome. We spoke to Prav to find out what a typical day is like as the head brewer of Matso’s Broome Brewery.

Coffee and gravity

The day usually starts with beer checks and coffee. And the beer always comes first. I kick off by making sure the beers are doing well (brewers call that “gravs”). It’s basically a gravity check that allows us to see how the fermentation is coming along. Once I’ve taken a look at that and made sure the beer is looking good, I desperately need coffee. Then it’s time to get into the fun stuff – admin. I follow up on stock, raw material orders, customer messages and emails.

Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning

With brewing, there’s a lot of cleaning: cleaning tanks, scrubbing floors, washing equipment, sweeping floors and sterilising tubs. While I’m cleaning, I like to think about the important things in life, like, “is my beard working for me? Or should I have salad instead of a burger for lunch?” While cleaning isn’t the glamorous part of the job, it’s extremely important, so I always make sure that brewery maintenance is a priority.

Brewtime

The first thing to lock down when we’re about to start a brew is the music. It’s the most important thing to decide on. We share the music requests around with the team, but if it was up to me it’d be Metallica, Iron Maiden, ‘90s hip-hop and pretty much everything in between. 

Once the music is locked down, there’s more cleaning and with the fermenter is sanitised. Then we get the grains and hops ready. Once the mash happens, things get real and nothing else matters, just the brew. The brewery isn’t highly automated and it’s very hands on, which I love. Brew day is also a good workout, as it’s usually about 40 to 45 degrees and 100 per cent humidity in the brewery. It’s better than a sauna because it smells like malt, yum. 

Overall, the brew takes around six hours to complete, and there’s a number of processes including mashing, lautering, the boil, cooling and transfer. Then in three weeks, the beer is ready

Inspired by the Kimberley 

Inspiration comes from your surroundings and people. Being surrounded by the rugged beauty of Broome and the Kimberley, along with its multiculturalism, is amazing. It’s hard not to be inspired by what’s around you. I’m always thinking about how I can bring that into my work. Can I make a beer to reflect the beautiful hue and colour of the Pindan dirt all around us? Could I capture the feeling of a good camping trip in a beer? How could I use the influence Asian culture has had on food and eating habits of townspeople to reflect my seasonal releases (like my recent chilli tom yum wheat beer). Or could I use local bush fruits in beers? 

Life is not so rushed in Broome, so it does allow for more time to explore and find ideas. Surrounded by the pristine wilderness of the Kimberley, it’s difficult not to get swept up in its sheer beauty and be inventive and ambitious.

With Prav Bhat

Matso’s Broome is located at 60 Hamersly St, Broome WA. Find your nearest stockist at matsos.com.au.