1. How did The Lord Nelson story begin?
A few decades ago, I was in the export and import industry. A very good friend of mine and I met regularly – well, we were fairly tired of drinking the same mundane beer all the time, by the big breweries. There were only lagers available at the time and they all tasted pretty similar.
At that time, the campaign for real ale was growing in the United Kingdom, which inspired us to want to create beers in the style of the of the traditional English style ale with no added sugar and full of flavour. We purchased some second-hand equipment out of the UK and opened 2 breweries, one in Port Adelaide, and the Lord Nelson, where a ‘craft’ brewery was built in the back area of the bar and cellar. And as they say, the rest is history. Over 30 years, in fact.
2. Why do you think The Lord Nelson has such a big cult following nationally and internationally?
I like to believe that it is because we brew ales, which are top-fermented beers, we don’t brew lagers which are bottom-fermented, use a different yeast and are brewed at much lower temperatures. So, the beers that we brew are no different to making wine. Every time we do a brew it’s a bit like doing another vintage in the wine industry, because its naturally fermented.
"Our beers are 100% natural and we do variance from brew to brew, which is the same as you do when you’re making wine."
We are the oldest craft brewer in Australia, one of the early pioneers in craft brewing, and I think that people were looking for something that tasted a bit different. We were not packaging either, so people had to come to The Lord Nelson to drink these beers, creating a memorable beer experience for visitors both nationally and internationally.
3. What is the difference between enjoying a regular tap beer to a fresh beer that has been brewed downstairs?
If you can drink the beer on the premise, then it always has a bit more mystique. Mentally, it always tastes great from the source. That continues in my mind today, whether you’re drinking our beers or any other craft brewery beers form the source.
4. I know this is a tough question: do you have a favourite Lord Nelson beer & what inspired you to make it?
I do, as a matter of fact. 3 Sheets is my favourite beer, and that’s because it was part of my design, my recipe! Even though I don’t do the brewing, we have full time brewers here, 3 Sheets was something that I wanted to introduce, to give a little bit of innovative freshness into the palate of pale ales. We wanted carbonated beer, because in Australia that’s what we drink, and I wanted to experience fresh herbaceous notes - that’s what we achieved by using floral hops in 3 Sheets. It became an instant hit. It was a session ale before everyone thought of session ales.
"If you don't drink 2 beers, you're not drinking our beers."
5. We already know there is no added sugars, preservatives, or additives in the recipe, but would you be willing to share the 3 sheets recipe with us?
It is a bit of a KFC secret recipe! I mean people know generally how to brew ales – it’s a combination of the malts we use and hop choices that create the unique beers that we make.