11 January 2008

Brewery Tour - Brewery Zierholz in Fyshwick

| johnboy
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On Saturday afternoon the RiotACT team was kindly invited out to Christoph Zierholz’s amazing brewery in Fyshwick to have a look at what he’s doing out there and to inspect the product.

(Who are those handsome men reflected in the boiler?)

With 16,000 litres of beer brewed, and capacity to make 2,200 litres a batch, Christoph is all set to unleash his beers onto Canberra.

I’ve put together a little slideshow of the pictures we took while having a look around

For those only interested in the beer just head down to the end of the article, but for those wanting to see what a commercial brewery in Canberra looks like, I’ll run through the slides now.

1) Here is the man himself, Chrisoph Zierholz standing next to the vat he sparges his malt in. Sadly the lovely copper is just a bling cladding and their actually stainless steel, while his gas and water bills are extraordinary his brasso bill can’t be far behind. Note the long gum boots by which a commercial brewer can be known.

2) Yeast makes beer, brewers make wort (pronounced “vert”) in these vessels the grain and hops are convinced to make the thick dark wort. Add water, yeast and time and you’ll get beer.

3) As we pulled up we saw the sacks of grain through the window and knew we’d found the right place.

4) All that grain needs to be milled before it can make a wort.

5) I just liked the reflection in this one (slimming much!).

6) To heat the wort to the appropriate temperatures evenly requires a terrifying gas boiler unit which makes steam.

7) The primary fermenters, where the wort, yeast and water work their magic to create beer. Christoph uses Canberra’s wonderful drinking water, after running it through a filter. These glycol-jacketed primary fermenters allow different batches to be fermented at different temperatures.

8) Home brewers use a dinky piece of curved plastic tube about 7cm long as an airlock on their fermenters. In this somewhat upscaled set-up sixty litre bins and flex hose is required.

9) Inside a very large cool room the secondary fermenters lurk. No need for individual glycol jacketing as the temperature for secondary fermentation is standard.

10) These are the distinctive black kegs the Zierholz beer is being shipped in.

11) The $18,000 concrete floor was no simple thing to get built into a Fyshwick warehouse.

12) Behold! A golden kölsch greatly enhances the Fyshwick skyline.

Currently Christoph is selling two beers, a light summery kölsch and a darker “alt”. You can get Zierholz at Debacle right now with the Durham soon to follow. (If you fancy supporting a Canberra brewer producing excellent beer then be sure to ask your local why you can’t get a Zierholz from them)

The Riot beer review panel convened around a couple of kegs to prognosticate.

In our view the kölsch is a crisp, perfumed summery beer with hints of passionfruit. A lot of “award beers” tend to concentrate too much on the first mouthfull and not on being good to the bottom of the glass. This is a problem that Christoph has been anxious to avoid, producing “session beers” intended to be drunk in serial.

The alt is a real find. It recalls James Squire’s amber ale, but with a sweet taste with hints of walnut, chocolate, and just a hint of smoke. Jazz observed that the alt was making him lust for a sauerkraut and kransky to go with it.

We were very impressed.

Christoph is currently working on selling direct to bars, but is actively investigating selling mini-kegs direct to the public. He can be reached via email at: christoph.zierholz@gmail.com.

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Looks like you purchased a nice setup. I like the conical fermenters & I noticed the sacks of Weyerman’s malt. They have a great product line, so does Crisp.

I hope your brewery does very well – I only wish I could taste the product. Here, the only commonly available OZ beer is Fosters. It’s decent beer but it’s commercial & actually made in Canada…….

Tom – from the other side of the world (Alabama, USA)

I went to the Deakin Soccer Club yesterday for a few Kölsche vom Fass at reasonable prices. Not a bad place, and it’s nice to know that I can have a decent beer and support my local bräumeister just down the road from my house. Good on you Mr Z.


Need to start pimping the page link around if it’s going to show up in Google.

Zierholz beers (Altbier and Kölsch) are on tap at Debacle and the Durham. I believe they’ve been labelled Amber and Pale respectively to make it easier for the punters.

A six pack of mini kegs haha

Excellent – Can’t wait to see it. Love to see more regional beers.

The ultimate in beer for comment – where to sign up 🙂 Sounds good – wig n pen will be waiting with baited breath

great story. Nice to hear about local businesses making something good.

Our understanding is that bottled beer is still a ways down the road, but definitely on the map.

Take home-mini kegs however are on the go as long as the ease-of-use issues pan out.

Great article, I’ll be trundling down to Debacle latter this week for a sampler (or two).

Any idea if/when either of the Zierholz beers will be bottled?

loved the alt. a very nice and accomplished beer.

Nice work boys, taking one for the team and going on a beer tour. Who is the unlucky one to let Nik the pig know that he missed out?

As a home brewer I have always thought a dream job would be owning and running a brewery, but after seeing it first hand over the weekend I now realise it’s a massive amount of work and logistics. So a big congrats to Christoph for getting his dream off the ground. Meanwhile, I’ll keep brewing at home and look forwards to my next sampling of Zierholz beers.

Vic Bitterman8:18 pm 30 Jul 06

Fantastic story JB! This amateur home brewer loves to read these sorts of stories!

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