Talk beer with Bruce at Big Niles clubhouse

Bruce Findlay was 17 when he started home brewing in the 1970s, when the practice was still illegal.

"It was always a worry, hops would stink and it would be wafting through my unit," he laughed.

"We were fermenting with baker's yeast - you couldn't get laboratory strains of yeast like today.

"Now there's hundreds of strains of yeast and grains from all over the world."

Bruce is filled to the brim with 50-plus years of beer knowledge and wants to share it with others.

Through creating the South Coast Brewers Club, his aim was to get both experienced and inexperienced beer enthusiasts together to have a yarn.

Bruce Findlay has a home brew system in his garage at Dalmeny, he is keen to help others get set up.

Bruce Findlay has a home brew system in his garage at Dalmeny, he is keen to help others get set up.

Bruce attempted to form a club in 2018, but struggled to find a meeting place.

Now he's found the perfect clubhouse - the Big Niles brewery in Dalmeny.

"It's an informal group, with no joining fees, just come along, meet and greet," Bruce said.

"Roll up at Big Niles and we will be here on the first Wednesday of each month, from 5.30pm.

"You will get a lot of enjoyment and build your skill levels very rapidly instead of working things out on your own."

Bruce said online forums can be intimidating, crammed with scientific jargon.

"You feel like you are asking really dopey questions," he said.

"In a venue like Big Niles, there can be a whole range of expertise.

"You can talk to people and decide the best way to kick off, you can spend as little or as much as you want."

Bruce compared brewing beer to cooking with food - you can get creative.

"The flexibility is infinite," he said.

It all starts with a home brew kit.

"About 80 percent of people kick off with a home-brew kit, most have been given them as a present," Bruce said.

Eight years ago, owner and head brewer of Big Niles, Cam White, started with a kit from Aldi.

His wife Michelle bought it as a present.

"It should have come with a warning sticker," she laughed.

"There was everything in the box that you need - it was cheaper than $100."

Bruce Findlay is grateful of Cam and Michelle White who are welcoming the new club to use Big Niles as their monthly meeting place.

Bruce Findlay is grateful of Cam and Michelle White who are welcoming the new club to use Big Niles as their monthly meeting place.

For Cam, brewing beer is a way of expressing his creative side.

The sky is the limit, for endless variations of brews, as was his career as a professional freestyle BMX athlete.

There were endless tricks Cam created and executed in competitions around the world.

"Once that finished, there wasn't anything to satisfy that creative side," he said.

"Next minute Michelle bought me a home brew kit and I am into forums, learning more, asking questions and getting bigger and bigger."

Cam now puts his energy into creating something unique.

"Bruce and I could have exactly the same ingredients but he could come up with a completely different beer to me," Cam said.

"I get that satisfaction from creating something different to everyone else."

Bruce and Cam both agreed: "you never stop learning".

Their love of beer keeps evolving, through successes of their recipes and new creations.

The two beer frothers look forward to meeting others alike.

If you're interested in joining the club, contact Bruce on 0423 710 067 or simply rock up to Big Niles on the first Wednesday of each month at 5.30pm.

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