Meet the new Gage Roads Fremantle head brewer

After announcing last year that it would be opening its first west coast venue, Gage Roads Brew Co. has now appointed Simone Clements to lead the site’s brewing operations.

The venue was major news for the ambitious brand as Gage Roads’ first venue, although its wider group is not without hospitality experience. Parent company Good Drinks has venues in Sydney under its Atomic Beer Project brand and Matso’s sites in Broome and another to come on the Sunshine Coast as part of east coast growth plans.

Gage is planning for the new brewery and venue to be open by summer 2022, and Clements will take the helm of its brewing operations.

She is a truly homegrown appointment, having been with Gage Roads for seven years with a background in labs and quality assurance, having completed a biology degree at Murdoch University in Perth.

“After graduating, I worked in contaminated sites for three years, travelling to mine sites, doing soil and groundwater monitoring which was interesting,” Clements explained.

“After that I spent a few years travelling, and I did some volunteer work at a brewery and a winery – I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for my next chapter, and thought it would be cool to get into food production.”

When Clements arrived back in Perth, she took on a role at Gage Roads’ production facility as a quality officer.

“My background fit in with the skillset required, so I did quality stuff for about three years. But I was keen to get into brewing. I liked beer but didn’t really love it until I started there, the first year I fell in love with beer a bit more and knew that it was the industry I wanted to move into.

“But I was hesitant to move to the brewery side, it seemed hectic and busy, with long nights and shift work.”

Becoming a Gage Roads brewer

While Clements was apprehensive at first, her love of beer won out, and her science background helped with the technical details as she learned to brew.

“In the end I knew I needed to do it, and it’s hard work but a lot of fun,” she said.

“We’ve got small teams over here, with three people on a team. My supervisor trained me up and getting to know bits of equipment, it was an intense training.

“But they were really supportive of me coming over to the brewing side.”

Now, taking on her own management role, as well as moving from behind-the-scenes production and quality assurance roles to a more customer-facing role, is her next challenge.

“I’m excited, it’s a bit nerve wracking as well but I’m excited to get down there. It will be a big challenge and it will be a great new spot and have a totally different experience.

“You get to interact with customers, doing brewery tours and also get to work with hospitality staff and give them some training on beer, and I’ll have a chance to do some beer and food pairings.”

The beers

Clements will be brewing on a 25hL DME brewkit which is currently being shipped.She will be brewing not only Gage’s core range to pour fresh from the tanks at Fremantle, but a series of limited releases for their beachside suburb audience.

“Our core range is pretty easy drinking and sessionable, with a summer ale, mid strength XPA, there will be a bunch of easy-drinking beers.

“We’ll also have a go at a few that are more towards the pointy end, and with the limiteds, I’ll be delivering a range of stuff, from double IPAs to some sours. I’ll be getting into the maltier stuff, stouts in winter, that kind of thing – beers that typically Gage drinkers won’t have seen.”

It will also be a chance to stretch her creative muscles and brew some of her personal favourites.

“Some of my favourite beers to brew have been the bigger hoppier ones. They’re always a lot of fun, as you’re processing it through the system, testing it through the different stages and then it comes out with this really amazing beer you weren’t expecting.

“But I’ll give everything a go, I might not like it myself, but I’ll give it a go!”

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