Lager-focused Boekamp Bier opens in Tasmania

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Tasmanian independent brewery Boekamp Bier launched earlier this month, founded by a banking professional-turned-farmer and a Netherlands brewing industry veteran to focus on German-style lagers and wheat beers.

Boekamp Bier is a production-focused brewery with a taproom in the semi-industrial suburb of Moonah. It was co-founded by Mark French, a farm manager with a background in banking and Jurriaan Boekamp, a Netherlands native and brewing veteran.

The pair met in 2006 at government-run business workshop in Tasmania, and both had the same plan in mind.

“We were both looking to set up a unique brewery in Tasmania. It’s been a long time coming [but] we decided that now was the right time and established Boekamp Bier in Moonah, and we only produce German-style lagers and wheat beers.”

The 30hL brewhouse is a Ziemann brewkit, which Boekamp shipped over from the Netherlands.

“It’s older equipment and we’ve had to adapt it to suit our building and change a few things but the four vessel system gives us a lot of flexibility,” French said.

“The brewhouse is a 30hL system, and we potentially can brew continually with that, six to eight brews per day maybe – we’ve obviously got limitations [on how much we can brew], but the brewhouse won’t be it.”

French said the pair saw a gap in the market that was being catered for, to a point, by craft brewers which were increasingly investing in lagers for their core ranges – traditionally a more technically-difficult beer style to get right.

“We decided that they were the types of beers we liked to brew and drink, and were fortunate enough that we managed to get hold of a brewery which was previously used in a large Dutch brewery and we’ve given it a new lease of life,” French said.

The equipment is allowing the Boekamp Bier team to brew in their preferred traditional styles using more European-style techniques.

“The four-vessel German-made system allows us to do decoction mashing, and along with traditional open fermentation, we’re doing long lagering and natural conditioning in separate tanks so we can produce true representations of the German styles of lager and wheat beer.

“The open fermentation helps improve the yeast health and longevity as well, so we’ve got a few points of difference when it comes to putting the system together,” French explained.

The focus on German-style wheat beers and lagers is a decision that French and Boekamp believe will set them apart. They are using German Noble hops for example, although they have not ruled out blending Tasmanian produce in with European to get that local flavour.

French said that the pair believed that traditional lagers were an underrepresented style within the craft beer market, but it was growing in popularity, making it a perfect time to launch Boekamp Bier.

“If we look back 10-15 years ago, perhaps [that popularity] wasn’t the case.

“There seems to be more people adding lager to their core ranges now and there’s more appreciation and understanding that they can be difficult styles to produce consistently.”

French said that there was a “large percentage of the [craft beer consuming] market that want to try something different”.

“With the proliferation of craft breweries that have come about, pale ales and IPAs make up the majority of that market. We feel that’s our point of difference.”

Boekamp Bier brewery Copy

Open on Fridays and Saturdays with limited trading hours due to the industrial zoning of the area, French said the zoning limitations actually worked in their favour.

“The brewery is more of a production brewery and we’ve set that taproom up so we can display how our beers should be presented and what they taste like at the source.”

Once production is fully underway, the team will look at expanding their hospitality expertise.

“We do bar snacks now, but going forward we hope to have food options available and events in the car park.”

Right now, the focus is on production.

“Our strategy is to talk to venues directly and let the beer speak for itself. We’ve only been open for 3 weeks and we’ve already had a lot of interest and enquiries and that’s giving us the confidence that we’re on the right track.

“Now we can focus on talking to venues and providing good service for them, as well as making sure we have enough beer behind us before we go out there and sell it.”

Moonah, the suburb of Hobart which is now home to Boekamp Bier is an industrial area, said French, but it is evolving and the local council was easy to work with.

“We had no issues with our local council they’ve been fantastic to deal with. We are in a light industrial zone which limits our trading hours for our taproom but given that’s not the focus of our bigger plan we can work with that.

“I think a lot of [getting development applications over the line] comes down to planning and providing the right information and expectations.”

French said that even though it was early days for the brewery, he was confident that they had found their niche.

“We certainly have a point of difference. But we understand what’s out there and we’re up for a challenge.”

Boekamp Bier is located at 73-75 Albert Road Moonah, Tasmania. The brewery cellar door is open Friday 3-7pm and Sat 12-5pm.

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