2 minutes with Kirrily Waldron
Occupation: beer educator, consultant and editor for Beer Style
Business: Beer Diva
Age: old enough to drink beer
How did you get into the world of beer?
I always enjoyed beer, it was a natural choice for me and I preferred the lower alcohol to wine. A marketing role in the UK led me to working for one of the major breweries in Australia, in their marketing team. I was in heaven!! I have now spent 17 years working in the beer industry in Australia and have loved every minute of it.
What's your favourite beer style?
I adore the Belgian farmhouse beer style, Saison (means season in French). They are fruity, fresh and funky and I really love the complexity that the Belgian saison yeast brings to this style. Saisons are a fantastic food beer as well, especially with cheese which can be dangerous sometimes! There are some incredible examples of saisons being brewed in Australia too.
Tell us about the flavour profiles of beer, how does it vary from wine?
The surprise for many is just how diverse and complex beer can be. 17 years ago, most beers in Australia were lager styles, which are brewed for their refreshability and clean flavours. To be honest, they were generally pretty uninspiring. Today, with over 400 breweries, our brewers are really tapping into their creativity and we have access to over 100 different styles of beer in Australia. Beer's key ingredients play a huge role in the flavour profiles which can range from hop driven, fruity, earthy, floral and herbaceous characters, to those that are more malt focused, offering sweet honey, biscuity, toffee and caramel tones and then right through to rich chocolate and espresso notes to the beers. We then have a large number of yeast strains, some of which impart fruity esters (think banana & pear) and spicy phenols (clove & pepper), that take beer to another level. Beers can also be fermented with wild yeasts, barrel-aged or even soured with various bacterial strains… the flavour profiles really are limitless and can be even more complex than wine (yep, I've said it!).
Busting beer myths- what's your thoughts on beer bellies?
Total rubbish and definitely the wrong place to lay the blame. It's a terrible term that has really impacted on the image of beer. Beer is typically very low in sugar, contains no fat and its kilojoules are comparative to wine… often less as most of the kilojoules are contained in alcohol. Beer's average abv is around 5% vs wine which sits around 14%. Moderation is key in anyone's diet, and that goes for food as well which is often the real culprit!
Who are your favourite craft brewers in Australia at the moment? Gosh, there are so many incredible brewers… it's hard to pick favourites! I am loving the punchiness of the Modus Operandi beers, I think Balter Brewing have hit on a winning formula, I adore the wilds and farmhouse styles coming from La Sirene and 3 Ravens and I have always loved the quality and balance of the beers from Bridge Road Brewers. I could go on and on… there really are too many to mention.
Favourite summer tipple?
This summer I had a constant rotation in my fridge of the Gage Roads Little Dove (winner of Champion Beer at last years Australian International Beer Awards), the Hawkers Saison and I really loved Stone & Wood's The Gatherer, a limited release American wheat beer that threw some cucumber, mint & watermelon into the mix… super refreshing for a summer gathering.
You can follow Kirrily on Instagram @beer_diva