In Need of Some Air!

Working in a micro-brewery is similar to working in a large brewery, but of course everything is just done on a smaller scale. That means they have much of the same equipment, much of the same processes and definitely the same base ingredients to make the delicious beers that they produce.

Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of a microbrewery in Melbourne with an old college friend Gavin, who had been working as a barman while he completes his masters degree. Having worked in a bar for many years, I knew the basics of what goes on in the serving area, but I had never experienced the intricacies of the beer brewing process on such an up-close level.

On the day in question, the brewery had been experiencing an issue with their air compressor, something that I had never thought too much about in the bar scene as I was busy muddling limes and pulling taps. However, in the beer industry, Gavin told me that compressed air systems are one of the most important systems to keep the brewery working and they are used in a number of different applications including pushing fluids through tanks, aerating yeast and water plus a whole slew of maintenance and cleaning requirements to make sure that the flavour of the beer remains consistent in each batch.

I’m not particularly technical, so when it comes to broken down machinery, I’m a big believer in leaving it to the experts. The air compressor in question was a big square unit made by a company called ELGI. Gavin had called the local Melbourne Air Compressor service agent, a business called Compressors Australia who sent out one of their technicians to find out what the problem was.

Luckily, it was an easy fix with an inner working needing a small adjustment before the compressor kicked back into gear. The brewery was up and running again and Gavin preceded to show me how the air compressor was used in aerating the wort at the beginning of the brewing process.

The microbrewery itself was impressively clean, with small